Being Bruce -: Business Social Media Tip #18 - Check Them Out

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Business Social Media Tip #18 - Check Them Out

Wonder how others in your business use social media?

Guess what? It's easy to find out. Just use the readily available public social media sites and networks and you can see what your friends, alliances, and competitors in your industry and in related fields are doing.

Whether you look up business by name, by category, by location, by key word or search term or even by asking who does whatever [replace your business category for 'whatever'], it couldn't be easier to find out how others use social media for marketing and relationship building.

You may or may not want to engage in "competitive intelligence", and you can take it to extremes and avoid doing much yourself, but surely it's a good idea to stay informed about how others businesses in your field (especially good ones) use this powerful marketing tool.

When you're checking out other companies' use of social media, keep in mind:

- Just because someone has a flashy page or presence on social media that doesn't necessary mean it's a great idea. Keep it all in context and first assess the business. A great way to approach is to look at the use of social media by the companies in your field you most admire.

- Don't blatantly copy something you see that you like. That can backfire. Look for inspiration, but do your own work.

- Don't assume that you are seeing all that goes on. Companies that use social media well blend it with other marketing and customer/client relationship modes and methods. To check out the blend, why not call the company (if you're on good terms) and ask to talk about it. Alternately, if you know or can find some customers of the other companies, ask them.

- Don't get too stuck on using social media for competitive intelligence, and look for tools or methods to simplify the process, for example, searching on keywords that matter in your business to see what folks are saying.

- If you're looking for inspiration but don't want to copy what other businesses in town are doing, look in other states with similar markets and see what the market leaders in your field are doing there.

Combined with Internet search engines, social media can be a very powerful way to stay informed about your business sphere even if you don't use social media much or at all yourself.