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No matter what industry or segment your business is in, you probably make it a point to stay abreast of the competitive landscape. This often includes keeping a pulse on industry shifts or trends as well as specific actions taken by your competitors. Along with monitoring your place relative to competitors for market share, search engine results placement and more, you should also keep an eye on your competitors’ social media mentions.

What are Mentions and Why Should You Care about Them?

A “social media mention” is exactly what it sounds like—a reference to a particular company on a social platform. There are tools and services available that capture this information and provide it to you in digestible reports. Why do you do need to track this level of granularity about your competitors? Because social media is one of the fastest-growing playing fields in today’s competitive world. What happens on social platforms has and will continue to have direct impact on consumers’ buying decisions.

By ignoring this information, you are allowing yourself to be vulnerable to reputation loss as well as business loss. By tracking your competitors’ social activity, you can glean a lot of information about what they are up to that you can turn around and use that to your benefit.

What Should You Look For?

When you receive alerts about your competitors’ mentions, there are some specific things that you will want to watch for. These include the following:

  • Who is Talking

Take note of who is posting about your competitors. Are they key influencers in your area or industry? Do they also talk about you? Are they worth you connecting with? You might get a lead on a new influencer that you would not have otherwise thought of.

  • What is Said

Are the comments of a particular influencer negative or even just plain neutral? Would they be able to make positive comments about you in the same area? If so, that may signal a big opportunity for you if you can get in front of them.

  • What is Talked About

Can you spot any trending topics that seem to get repeated airtime? Does it seem that your customer base is particularly interested in these? If so, then you might want to think about how you can address these topics yourself and get some of that airtime and attention for your business.

If you notice unusual spikes in mentions about a particular competitor, look a little further to see if you can identify what caused those spikes to happen. Was it good or bad? If it was good, is it something you could also do?

Clearly there is much to learn from tracking the activity of your competitors. It is important, however, to make sure that if you attempt to replicate or leverage some of the things your competitors have done that you do so within the context of your own business. Never do something solely for the purpose of copying someone else. Make sure it aligns with your business plan and values first. It’s like mom always said—just because someone else would jump off a bridge does not mean you have to.