Everybody talks about social media as the new revolution for marketing, communication, sales and even recruitment activities. I agree that social networks are wonderful tools with many diverse purposes (and I will write other articles on these purposes very soon). But, what if you don’t see the need to use social media for visibility, sales or recruitment? What if you wish to remain silent online?
Don’t be afraid of silence: become a social detective!
You may not see the need to promote your business online, but there are many other ways to use social networks. I will focus on the three main networks (Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter) but the ideas below can obviously be true for any social network.
First, if you own a small business, become that detective. If you own a larger company, build up a team of detectives.
1) Follow up the news within your industry
- What are the new trends?
- What are the main concerns?
- What are the solutions proposed by the top achievers within your industry?
Tip: Find out the most popular blogs, industry magazines and Linkedin discussions related to your industry/activities and follow what your competitors, partners, suppliers and clients are talking about.
2) Study your competition
- What are your competitors doing?
- Who are the newbies on the market?
- What may happen tomorrow?
You may not realize it but social networks are wonderful tools to track the activity of competitors and to forecast their next move. How?
Tip: Look at everything they do online! Find out their company blogs, twitter accounts (all of them: sales, hr, crm), their Linkedin page and the names of their top executives, recruiters, engineer teams and follow their activities online.
– Which new accounts do they follow on Twitter?
This is the best way to see what their new interests are. If you are specialized in food processing and you see that your main competitor starts following a manufacturer of laser cut machineries, you may want to check how laser cut machineries could offer a competitive advantage in your industry.
– Who do the employees connect with on Linkedin?
Did you notice that many of the senior executives are now connected with this high tech recruiter? Who is this guy and what is his value proposition? What kind of recruitment is he expert in? If they need the services of a recruitment agency, it may mean that their own recruiter cannot take care of it him/herself. Why? Are they looking for new profiles?
– Who is now part of their team?
Who was hired recently and why? If you notice on the Linkedin page of your competitor that their list of employees is now counting Spanish-speaking business developers, you may want to look at opportunities in Spain for your own business.
– Which position is now open? In which offices?
Did you notice that your main competitor posted a new job offer of Facebook? Why on earth would they need a chemical engineer in their offices in Germany? Did they decide to start chemical activities in their German facilities?
– What pages do they support on Facebook?
Did you notice that the Facebook page of your competitor is now linked to your supplier’s competition? What kind of association is that? Do they want to integrate the market vertically?
As you can see, market research takes a whole new dimension with social media. Make sure to have a qualified team watching the different channels and reporting the critical information. It can be the necessary effort to go from market follower to market leader!