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I Spy: Outsmart Competitors with Digital Surveillance

Posted on the 30 September 2015 by Marketingtango @marketingtango
  • September 30, 2015
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I Spy: Outsmart Competitors with Digital Surveillance

It may not be as glamorous as the work of James Bond, but social espionage is spycraft for business.

Social espionage is a term created to capture the complexity of social media as part of an integrated marketing strategy. The process involves gathering data on your competitors’ social media performance. (It’s called the art of listening online to manage data you can’t control. (Read more about it here.) Because it’s crucial to understand how your business ranks in your industry, this information can fuel your integrated marketing strategy and provide better leverage in the market.

A little digital surveillance can yield a virtual goldmine of competitive information, according to Simply Measured, a company that specializes in end-to-end social analytics of social networks. This will allow you to apply an analysis to reveal strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats.

Simply Measured’s report, “Social Espionage: Gathering Intelligence to Crush the Competition,” describes the process of gathering competitive data. Be as daring as 007 with these steps:

  • Presence – Examining your competitors and the social media they leverage for presence, then comparing this data to your own offers valuable insight into the relationship between the competition and industry customers.
  • Audience – Collecting and analyzing information about your competitors’ audiences gives you the ability to target them on social media. You can find the audience you’re missing out on by exporting the intel and analyzing it.
  • Activity – By gathering and examining their posts and associated performance, you can garner valuable insight into their content and campaigns.
  • Engagement – Determine the value of your audience by analyzing how often the competition’s audience clicks on their links. Looking at your competition’s posts reveals their content strategy and how well it might be working.

Once you collect competitor data, in addition to your own, compare and contrast it to better determine where you stand. According to the report from Simply Measured, your analysis “should aim to illustrate why or how your competitors’ social media behavior is the way it is.”

If they’re not using Instagram, for example, why? How are they leveraging influencers, etc.? (And to kick start your own influencers campaign, read “Influence the Influencers: Tips for Engaging Thought Leaders.”

True, uncovering your competitors’ motives will involve some degree of speculation, but with the data you’ve collected and analyzed, you can make educated recommendations to maximize and better manage your social media strategy.

Then, sit back and enjoy your own vodka martini, shaken not stirred, of course.

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