We all like to know what our competitors are doing, and more importantly, what customers are saying about them. Until the advent of social media, it was hard to track conversations from customers. There are several platforms, tools and tactics that you can implement to help you keep ahead of the competition.
Adam Holden-Bache in a recent article in Social Media B2B outlines 6 Ways to Beat Your Competition Using Social Media. Here are some highlights:
- Do your research – Set up tools and key words/phrases to monitor both the competition as well as the industry.
- Identify opportunities – If you see a topic or trend gaining traction, promote your capabilities.
- Produce more educational content – Decision makers are doing more research online. The more relevant content you can provide, the better the chances of you being considered.
- Showcase your service and support – B2B companies that excel in providing prompt customer service should promote it as it will influence a purchasing decision.
- Ask for feedback, then use it – Customers can be a good resource for honest feedback.
- Engage your customers – If your customers like you, they will tell their friends and business associates. They are what we call brand advocates and they turn out to be one of your best resources.
Free Monitoring Tools to Track Your Competition (or Yourself)
www.Topsy.com is a real-time social search that lets you see what people are saying about a topic across social platforms which provides qualitative feedback.
www.socialmention.com is another real-time search that analyzes strength, sentiment, passion and reach, as well as provides averages, keywords, top users and other metrics that all show impact and reach of social activity.
www.google.com/trends analyzes search and news reference volumes for topics and produces the top regions and cities allowing you to see how popular a topic or brand is as well as where it is popular.
www.howsociable.com measures social visibility of brands allowing you to see how active brands are on 20 different platforms.
These are some ideas on how to monitor the competition. What are you doing using social media?
If you’re into social media, you’re doing it with a purpose in mind. You have a story to tell and you want to tell it to a certain type of person. This holds true no matter what type of marketing you’re doing (traditional or social).
But when you’re developing your content, do you ever consider at what stage your reader is at in the buying cycle? By segmenting your content to include all stages of a buying process (awareness, consideration, evaluation and purchase), you’ll be sure to hit all your potentials at their stage in the buying process.
I recently read a post from AdamHolden-Bach from Mass Transmit called Using Content Marketing to Understand Your B2B Audience that I thought was spot on.
Here are some highlights on segmenting your markets:
- Awareness – These folks have just begun the process. Provide educational content (blogs, white papers, webinars) and make it easy for them to receive it (do make them register to get it).
- Consideration – Once they know about you they want to know how you stack up against the competition. Provide them product comparisons, case studies or other material that shows why your product is better.
- Evaluation – They want to understand the solutions you provide and how they would benefit their business.
- Purchase – Use social channels to broadcast new products, upgrades, special offers to help incentivize the customer.
As you’re creating content, identify which stage it falls into. Use tracking methods over time, for instance to gauge interest and tell you at what stage most of your audience is at in the sales cycle.
What are you doing to segment your marketing?
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Twitter is one of the most useful social media tools we use to drive traffic. For it to be effective, you first need to determine key words and phrases that fit into your space.
Twitter has tools as well as third parties that can help. I recently read an article by Adam Holden-Bache in Social Media B2B where he outlines some tips on fine-tuning your audience searches. Here are some highlights:
- Determine key words and phrases – Go to Google AdWords Keyword Tool and enter some key words. For example, air conditioning heating gets an average 550,000 monthly hits and 450,000 are local searches
- Search Twitter by key words – Twitter Advance Search, take what you find on Google and plug into Twitter
- Optimize tweets for inbound opportunities – Use Google Reader and select Twitter Search Feed. When you click on “show details,” it tells you when most activities are taking place so you know when to Tweet
- Use Buzzom.com to search Twitter Bios – Search key words that would describe the people that buy your products, such as remodeling contractors
- Use Twellow.com to search business categories – This is a directory of Twitter accounts and you can search broad categories to identify people who are in the energy market, aerospace or green
These are some great tips. Do you have any to share?
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