How Are You Monitoring Your Competitors?

Yeah I know you have your eyes on your major competitors. You have your salesmen and distributors feeding you information , but have you used the tools on the internet to see what the social network is saying about you and your competition?

Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part lll said, Never hate your enemies-it affects your judgement. Pretty good advice don’t you think?

You probably keep your eye on your big competitors, but what about similar manufacturers that sell similar products in several markets you’re in? How about your suppliers and distribution partners? It doesn’t take much to get something working from off shore. This is good info and should be integrated into your marketing plans.

Here are some tools that may be useful:

Social Media Monitoring Tools

– Google Analytics:

– Klout: (Growing service for monitoring general online influence by using Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and YouTube…will be adding more social media at a later date).

– Facebook Insights (Found on the right hand bar of your Facebook Page.)

– WordPress stats (Provides blog views, post views, etc.)

– Hootsuite Built-in analytics (

– click summary (Proposal report to monitor progress.)

– Netvibes:  (Tracks trends and sends alerts. New social pack allows for monitoring and analysis side by side.) (Tracks unique views on websites; good for checking blogs with their own domains.) (Much like Compete.)

– shortens links and tracks clicks (Search your URLs and find detailed keywords, competitors and recommendations for advertising.) (Grades different social media activity.)

What are you using to monitor your competitors?

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Building a B-to-B Social Media Lead Generation Program Targeting the Professional Tradesmen

B-to-B marketers, especially those in the manufacturing sector who are targeting the professional tradesmen, are slow to adapt to new things and social media is one of them. I’ve seen it in our business that clients (manufacturers) are aware of social media, but don’t know how to use it to get business. Yes, social isn’t about getting business (short-term), it’s about branding and thought leadership roles, but in the real world and especially in this economic climate, companies are also identifying new potential customers and taking them through the selling cycle to see if they can be converted to a sale. If B2B folks would have a better understanding of how to use social, then it would be easier for them to incorporate it into their other marketing efforts.

I recently read a post by Kipp Bodnar from Social Media B2B, 7 steps to building a B2B social media lead generation pipeline. Kipp outlines ways to identify and take leads through a system just like any other lead. Here are some highlights from his post:

  • Understanding online analytics – You need to understand what the data is so you know what to do with it. There are several tools available, both free and paid. Google Analytics is probably the most popular free one. But it’s important to have analytics across social platforms and a simple data collection tool like would work just fine for Twitter and the built-in Facebook Fan pages.
  • Develop a strategy – I’ve said over and over that content is king. So you need to develop a strategy to communicate the type of information your target audience wants and then overlap its content distribution platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Blogs and Forums.
  • Build a mechanism to gather leads – What good is it to generate leads if there is no place to identify next steps? What do they want—literature, demo, a salesman to follow-up?
  • Integrate leads into a CRM system – Leads don’t matter if you don’t get the right info to the right person. There are several out there and the one we use is called Ultimate Lead Systems. It can track leads by source, type of product or service they are interested in, and track any kind of correspondence you have. It also helps you monitor your sales forces activities as it relates to new business.
  • Set up a social sales follow-up program – You need to find where a potential lead is in the selling cycle and then nurture them down the sales funnel. I wrote a post, Where do your prospects fall in the sales cycle, that will shed more light on the different stages.

A social media lead generation program isn’t really different from a traditional one other than the issue of speed. Responses can be immediate and you need to be able to support them appropriately.

These, by no means, are all the steps. What are ways you’re dealing with this issue?


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