One of the main reasons that I have committed so much of my time and energy into Social Media and this blog is to both beat out with constantly updated and relevant (I hope) information to my customers and prospective customers. I also jumped on the Social Media bandwagon to be able to better understand what the competition is doing in my market…do you know what your competition is doing, what they are saying and building? For free you can see what the Marketing Engines of basically any company are doing, almost in real time and if need be…adjust accordingly.
Leveraging Social Media to build a profile on the competition is not a bad thing, I can almost guarantee that they are doing it to you and to your company. This can be as simple as following key people in the organization on Twitter, or going as far as building custom searches and alerts to new content and services by the competition. What you choose to do with this information and data…well that is up to you and your company.
The same as any other data driven search and intelligence gathering though…it is not about the value of the data itself. The world of Competitive Intelligence is about the measurable and actionable insights that it provides to you and to your business.
Thanks to Barry Hurd, for compiling a list of 40+ Competitive Intelligence tools that are mostly Free or very Affordable! Some of the key tools that I use on a regular basis:
- Google Cheat Sheet – Advanced Operators
http://www.googleguide.com/advanced_operators_reference.html The Cheat Sheet has saved my bacon more than once!
- Google Trends www.google.com/trends/ I use this to look at long term Trends and have actually built much of my Posting Strategy around some of the results!
- Google Insights http://www.google.com/insights/search/ This is the newest “cool tool” in my CI arsenal. I just Love how I can find what I want, when I want it 10X faster than the normal search!
- Addictomatic.com http://addictomatic.com/ I came across this last week and became “addicted” to the Social Insights and hidden meanings that it reveals. It started as a tool to track myself…and became so much more!
- SocialMention.com http://socialmention.com/ Gaining insight into what others are saying about you…and about your competition is key. Simply type what you are looking for and within seconds…all the worlds “mentions” come out before you!
- WayBack Machine http://archive.org/web/web.php Did you ever wonder what a company website looked like 2 years ago…or 10 years ago (before Web 2.0 and Social Media) well the WayBack Machine does EXACTLY THAT.
The list goes far deeper and I personally use more than half of the list mentioned by Barry in his article but I am still building the tools that will allow me to really put that Intelligence to work and display it in a way that is meaningful. That is the danger of Data…not enough and you are guessing…too much and you are drowning!
Chris J Powell