Competitive Intelligence – Social Media Tools and Tactics

Okay, so you didn’t think we’d leave Pubcon without getting a little sneaky, did you?

Don’t be ridiculous.

Earlier this afternoon Mat Siltala, Chris Winfield and Kristy Bolsinger sat down to share some insight on the tools and tactics they use for competitive intelligence. Pull up a chair.

Chris was up first and offered some of his favorite tools to help you get to know you’re enemy.

The three tools he absolutely couldn’t live without:

Rapportive: This changed how Chris finds information and the type of information he can find. It’s a Google extension and creates rich contact profiles right insight of Gmail. It will work with people you have established relationships with OR you can just dump an email into Gmail and Google will pull it in that way. I didn’t know that. That’s pretty cool.

Google: Google has more data about us than anyone else. You can search for email addresses, even if the person tries to mask it via address[at]domain[dot]com. Google will still find it because Google is smarter than you. He also recommends using the Related Searches that appear at the bottom, performing searches for [full name + company] and using advanced search operators.

Some other queries you can use to get dirt:

[Company +] :

  • Funding
  • Revenues
  • Losses
  • Reviews
  • Lawsuits
  • Awards
  • Clients
  • <liCustomers

  • Competitors
  • Spam/Scam/Ripoff

Evernote: Chris likes Evernote because it ties everything else he does together. To make this work for you, Chris suggests creating a new notebook for each competitor and clipping everything relevant you see about them. You can also share your notebooks with colleagues so that they can add information, as well.

More Awesome Tools Chris Likes:

  • Crunchbase
  • WhoGotFunded.com
  • SeekingAlpha.com
  • CORI – contracts
  • Copyright.gov
  • ThomasNet.com – look up private product information
  • DomainTools.com: He uses the monitor to look up all the domains a person owns. And every time they do something with a domain, he’s alerted
  • Indeed: See what jobs competitors are hiring for and what type of people they’re trying to attract
  • Ubersuggest.org
  • SimilarSites.com: Good way to find niche-specific sites you didn’t know exist
  • BoardReader.com: Search forums, as well as LinkedIn Groups
  • Builtwith.com: Shows you how a site is put together.
  • CompeteMonkey.com: Alerts you when someone starts using a new site
  • Mostly Harmless: Extension for Reddit. Will tell you if something’s been submitted to Reddit.
  • Mon.ki: Chrome extension. It connects people.

Mat Siltala was on hand to talk solely about Pinterest. There were lots of jokes that this was going to hurt Mat’s man cred. Which is ridiculous. Mat has no man cred. ;)

Mat is a big Pinterest fan because it’s filled with buyer intent. He shares some stats that showed StumbleUpon’s average time on site was 10 seconds. The average time on site for Pinterest is 10 minutes, with an average page visit of about 5 pages. That’s sort of sick.

Matt shared a list of powerful Pinterest Tools

Real-Time Alerts

PinAlerts: Offers real-time alerts whenever someone pins something on your website (or, you know, someone else’s website). Use it to find out what competitor content is being pinned, how many times its shared, what’s getting the most comments, who is doing the pinning, potential content ideas, etc. It’s essentially real-time spying.

Finding Pinterest Influencers

  • PinReach
  • PinPuff

Pinterest Analytics

  • Pinerly: Find stuff about influencers and trends. Find popular categories to understand where you should be spending your time.
  • Use Pinterest.com/source/yourwebsite.com

Matt also recommend this awesome Pinterest Bookmarklet which looks pretty slick: http://digitalhighrise.com/pinterest-tool-and-bookmarklet

Kristy finished up the panel by taking everything you thought you know about creating a social media framework and essentially beating it into submission.

Creating a framework offers a number of powerful benefits:

  • Benchmarking: Helpful for context, expectations, and goal setting
  • Illuminate Opportunities: Uncover new opportunities
  • Reveal Customer Expectations: Collecting feedback provides valuable product or service insight
  • Identify Competitive Objectives: What are your competitors paying attention to? What aren’t they paying attention to?
  • Ideation: Steal like an artist. Don’t copy what other people are doing, but look for opportunities where folks are doing great things. Think aspirationally and look outside your industry.

The methodology for all this looks something like this:

Kickoff — > Frame — > Gather — > Curate — >Story Creation — > Final Readout

Luckily for us, Kristy broke it down further.

1. Kickoff

What are your goals here? You want to establish credibility for the project, create a common understanding of the project and the outcomes, explain participant roles and express their importance, and outline the parameters for the project. By doing this you’ll go a long way to not only making the client trust you, but you also set those expectations early on, which is super important.

1.5 Kick Off Part Duex

This is really about getting those project stakeholders on board. To assist in that it’s important that you explain your purpose and their role, establish WIIFM (What’s In It For Them), develop flexible questions (if you let someone talk, they will. Let them talk!), get them talking about themselves to identify their core interests, be empathic, and listen for pockets of interest.

2. Framing

This is going to include:

  • Social Networks
  • Listening & Data
  • Industry Trends
  • Website and maintenance
  • Stakeholder Interviews

3. Listening

Most people have an idea about what “listening” really is. However, Kristy awesomely shows us that many of us are horribly wrong.

What listening REALLY IS: It is a point in time snapshot, conversation analytics, a look at sentiment drivers, and is about search and traffic data

What listening REALLY IS NOT: It is not a comprehensive dive of the entire brand’s history (that would be ridiculous) or meant to identify specific engagement opportunities.

4. Industry Research

Where to look:

  • Trade Journals
  • Industry reports
  • Government
  • Consumer Groups

What to look for: Trends

5. Gather & Curate

Build your story by showing off the how and documenting what you did, and then pull the thread together to surface the opportunities that are available.

Kristy walked everyone through a very comprehensive scorecard that she creates for each campaign that I wish I was about to get down. Putting that scorecard together really helps you to take a customer perspective to the data and see what a customer seems when they land on your page.

Leaving us with some final best practices Kristy recommended to maintain the client perspective, use the scorecard you create to found and defend findings, focus, and leverage the data to validate or invalidate your gut.

The tools Kristy relies on:

  • SimplyMeasured
  • Radian6
  • Unmetric
  • Prosodic
  • Web analytics
  • You brain and your keyboard