With every business comes competition. There will always be another company that offers the same services as you do and there will always be companies that try to steal your customers; it’s all part of the game. This is why you must always be a step ahead and you can do this by constantly tracking your competitors. Not does tracking your competition help you get ahead, but you can also get some great ideas. If business is slow, sometimes it helps to see what you’re competitors are doing that you’re not and learn from them.
So how do you keep track of your competition? By using social media of course! Let’s take a look at 7 online tools that will help you monitor your competition using nothing but social media.
Topsy is a “real-time search for the social web.” It lets you view web results, tweets, photos, and videos for any search term, thus making it perfect for spying on your competitors. You can see how many times a link was shared or tweeted and see which influential users are doing the tweeting and retweeting. You can also create email alerts or subscribe via RSS whenever there are new results for your search, which makes it easy to keep up with your competition on a daily basis.
With too many features to count, Radian6 is the ultimate social media monitoring tool. It gives you “a complete platform to listen, measure, and engage with your customers” and is also good, of course, for spying out the competition. It includes integrated workflows, alerts, sentiments (see the good and the bad of what’s being said), and monitoring across blogs, forums, news outlets and Twitter. You can use it to view conversations (in real-time) that are going on about your competitors. Radian6 then collects these conversations and puts them into charts and graphs making it easy to analyze and get insights.
Social Mention is a “real-time social media search and analysis” tool that is very similar to Topsy (mentioned above). You can use it to search for your competitor’s name and see what is being said across the web. It provides metrics in regards to strength, sentiment, passion, and reach; plus you can see how many unique authors have mentioned them and how many retweets they’ve received. You can also see how many mentions per minute your competition is receiving and the last time it was mention. If needed, you can save this data as a CSV/Excel file and receive updates via email or RSS feed.
You can search through blogs, microblogs, networks, bookmarks, comments, events, images, news, videos, audio, and questions. While you can search through all social sources (by default), Social Mention also gives you the option to choose your social sources manually.
Trackur is a social media monitoring tool comparable to Radian 6 (mentioned above). It allows you to monitor keywords and export your results to Excel for further analysis. You can, of course, use it to track your competition across the web and see what positive and negative things are being said about them. Within the interface you can also save results for future follow-up or send to a coworker or client. You’re able to receive updates via email or RSS.
Addict-o-matic is a unique social search tool that lets you “instantly create a custom page with the latest buzz on any topic.” This tool is great for summarizing your competitor’s buzz in a single location that serves kind of like a dashboard. You’ll be able to see a glimpse of all mentions of them from blogs, Twitter, Digg, Flickr, YouTube, and more; you can then click for more results from a single source if you’re interested. Your results can then be shared and bookmarked for later referencing.
Also, just like Social Mention (mentioned above), you can choose your search sources manually.
There’s always good old Google alerts, which many people swear by. It’s super easy and quick to setup. All you have to do is setup an alert with your competitor’s name and then you’ll automatically receive an email (or you can subscribe via RSS) whenever there are new results mentioning them. You can get results for everything on the web or choose individually from news, blogs, real-time, video, or discussions.
Finally we have Twitter Search, which is a lot more powerful than people realize. Twitter is where the majority of discussions are taking play now, so it only make sense to keep track of what’s being said about anything and anyone on Twitter.
The advanced search feature makes it one of the best tools for tracking your competitors. Just check out some of the advanced options in the images below. You can really take advantage of the attitudes area by swooping in for the steal whenever you find tweets with a negative attitude.
You can also set up and save search queries and then subscribe to them via RSS or use third party apps to receive updates by email.
Every one of these tools offers updates by email and/or RSS feed; so if you haven’t already, it’s definitely time to sign up for at least one and start tracking your competition as soon as possible! Don’t lose customers because you’re not on your job. To reiterate, you always have to be one step ahead of the competition.