You want to keep tabs on your competitors’ social media activity, but staying on top of your own online initiatives and overall presence is already a time-consuming chore. How can you possibly manage to do both? By using an inexpensive tracking tool like Mention, Quintly, or Perch.
These web-based and mobile apps capture mentions of terms or companies you specify on Facebook, Foursquare, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, Yelp, and daily deal sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial. For example, Perch aggregates social media feeds into a single stream, showing small-business owners the social chatter about their company or brand.
“It also pulls together the online activities of your competitors, so you can track similar businesses, see when they’re running deals on social media or daily deal sites, and make decisions about how to react,” says Perry Evans, founder and CEO of Closely, which makes Perch. The Denver-based company has about 32,000 users and expects to do $1 million in business in 2014.
Gain Competitive Advantage
By using a tracking tool, you can gain competitive advantage by knowing what people are saying about your business online, which content and promotions are resonating with your target market, and how your competitors are using their social platforms.
For instance, if a particular promotion of yours is doing well, you could extend its reach by marketing it beyond the social media site(s) you’ve already chosen. If a competitor’s promotion is gaining traction with your demographic, you could put up a competing offer.
As an added bonus, some of these tools can also tell you when your competitors are tracking you.
Some tracking tools, including Perch, are available for free to small-business owners. (Perch aims to profit by selling access to companies that want to reach its subscribers with goods and services of interest to entrepreneurs.) Others, such as Quintly and Mention, offer free versions with limited functionality and paid versions with access to more features. (Prices start at $9.99 per month.)
That’s a small sum to pay for the ability to craft a social media strategy based on how effective your efforts are compared with those of your competitors.