Lots of great things come from social media.
The world is more connected than ever.
You can work and communicate with people anywhere in the world. Location doesn’t matter as much anymore.
And people freely share all kinds of information. That is wonderful for communication and if you’re paying attention it’s a great way to learn…at no cost.
What about the business world?
Social media is great for sharing information to attract an audience and the attention of potential customers.
But what about learning about the competition? And using that knowledge to improve your own business?
Social media is great for that too.
Here are some of the ways you can use social media to learn about your competition…
#1. Style, Culture, Values
The first thing you can look for with your competition is the way they run their business in terms of culture.
It’s often an overlooked aspect of competitive analysis. Sometimes companies sell things that are very similar. And they sell them for the same price.
When that’s the case it’s usually something like culture and communication that determines what a customer chooses.
Think of insurance. The companies are all basically selling the same products. They know that it comes down to communicated their style and values to the public so they spend a lot on marketing.
That helps determine if you’re going to choose State Farm, Geico or Progressive.
You can learn the culture of your competition. Then learn your own culture. Knowing the difference can help you find the exact right customers.
#2. Pricing, Sales, Discounts
A big one that we usually do want to know, but can’t always find out is the pricing. And not just the standard pricing, but any sales and discounts the competition does to try and get more customers.
For most industries, pricing is the thing customers care about most. Not always the lowest price, but the price that offers the most value.
If you’re not keeping up with the pricing of the competition you can lose your competitive edge. They might be working to lower prices and if you’re not aware you’ll lose current and future customers.
Many company employees put their work affiliation in their social media profiles and even as part of their handles.
This can key you in on a few things.
You can learn the type of employees a company has. You can learn more about their culture that way by the type of content the employees are sharing.
You can also see the type of content that those employees care most about. That can give you insight into the interests of the employees. That can help with your recruiting. The more you know about the employee field the more you can appeal to them.
You can also learn about frustrations that may lead to an employee that’s looking for a new job opportunity.
Many businesses will talk about their clients. Case studies, testimonials, quotes, articles and much more.
The clients and customers also often follow brands on social media.
What can you do with this information?
If you’re in B2B, you can add the clients to a little list internally and keep tabs on them. Maybe when the employees changeover it’s an opportunity to reach out just presenting your offer and they can internally compare it to your competition.
Those comparisons also happen at the end of each year as executives and managers ask their employees to review contract renewals and look for alternatives even just as an exercise.
#5. New Initiatives
Finally, you can keep up with any changes that the company is going through. New products and services. New campaigns. New employees. All kinds of things that show that they’re changing.
It doesn’t mean that you have to change with them. It just keeps you abreast of what they’re doing and allows you to know how you differ in the marketplace.
People share a lot on social media. Much of it doesn’t really matter, but if you’re observant and looking for the right information you can learn a lot.
The old saying is that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason…you learn more by listening than by talking.
Fortunately, social media is the same. Especially in business. You learn much more by analyzing than by sharing.