As a business owner you know who your direct competition is.  Part of your competitive analysis should be creating a document that lists who those companies are, along with details that you will need to “spy” on them.

When I work with a client and perform a competitive analysis, I notate the company name, domain name (URL), what social media channels they are on along with the URLs (links), and then look at their activity.

Knowing your target audience and where they reside online can be a challenge to some business owners who are not tech-savvy or on top of the latest social media strategies. Here is a way to cheat – legally.

There are three systems you can set up to monitor what your competition is up to.  The good news about getting new business is you don’t have to outshine your competition by 200% to get new business.  You just have to do it a little bit better.

Facebook Tips Page.

This page is a secret Facebook page that only you (and whoever you have made an admin) can see all of your competition’s posting in one place, quickly and easily.  The public will not be able to see this information.  Follow these steps to create the page.  Each week or month, or whenever you need ideas, go to this page and see what your competition is posting.

  • Change up the content
  • Get ideas for your own content
  • See what posts they are doing that is getting them engagement

Step 1:  Create a Facebook Business Page and call it whatever you like.

I like to call mine [industry] Tips Page.

Step 2: Go to the Admin Panel and Click Edit

Select “Use Facebook as [page name]

Step 3: Go find your competitors.

Sometimes it’s easier to have that competitive analysis with the Facebook page URL because Facebook is not a good search engine.  You need to know the exact name of a page to search for it.

Even look for similar businesses in other parts of the country.

After you find a page that would be good to follow, click “like”.

Step 4: To Spy On Competitors

Go to the Tips Page, “use Facebook as your page”, and then on the top right, select “Home”.

You will go to the News Feed.  These postings are the recent postings from all the pages that you just liked.  Now you have one place to go to spy and get ideas.

Google Circles.

You can basically do the same thing with Google Circles.

Step 1: Create a circle called “Competitors”

Step 2: Find your competitor’s G+ Business Page and “circle” it.  Add the page to your “Competitors” circle.

When viewing your news feed you can select which circle to view.  All you have to do is view the “Competitors” Circle to see what they are up to.

Additional Tip:  I also have a “Gurus to Follow” circle.  Feel free to add this page to your “Gurus to Follow” Circle.

Twitter Lists.

This is an oldie, but goodie tip.

Step 1: Log into Twitter and go to the profile “Me” tab on the top.

Underneath you will find Tweets, Followers, Following, Favorites, and Lists.

Step 2: Select Lists

“Create a List” button

Call it whatever you like and select “private”. If you leave it public, the person who you put into the list will be notified.  This is supposed to be stealth so we don’t want them to know we’re watching them.

Step 3: Add to your list

From your competitive analysis, search for your competitor’s twitter profiles.  Click on a profile.  You do not have to “follow” them.  On the right side by “Follow” is a menu button.  On the drop down menu, select “add/remove from list”

Select the competitor list you set up by checking the box.

Step 4: Using your list

After logging into Twitter, go to your profile “Me” button at top.

Select Lists and find your competitor list.

Click on the name of the list and a news feed will come up just of the people added to this list.  You can easily see all their tweets in one place.

This would be good to include on your Hootsuite Twitter column.

One last thought.

Don’t forget about Google Alerts too.  This can be turned into an RSS feed to make it easier to manage.

Hope this information helps you stay one step ahead of your competition and increase sales.