Four Critical Ways to Collect Competitive Intelligence on LinkedInFour Critical Ways to Collect CI on LinkedIn

Hello,

I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn.

Sales Manager,

Your Main Competitor

 

Yikes! It is the professional equivalent of your crazy ex following you on Twitter.  Why should you connect with your competitor on LinkedIn? The key insights you can gain by connecting with the competition should outweigh any awkward feelings. After all, LinkedIn is the hands down winner when it comes to B2B social media marketing, with 44% of companies reporting leads generated from the site. Here are four critical ways to collect competitive intelligence on LinkedIn:

1. Discover Who Competitors Are Targeting as Potential Clients 

Don’t be shy to connect with your competitors on LinkedIn. The vast majority of LinkedIn members do not opt out of the privacy setting that allows connections to see all of your other connections. What does this mean? If you are connected with a sales person from your lead competitor, you can see with whom that person is connecting.  Do you notice a trend that your competitor is connecting with your key clients on LinkedIn? That could be a major problem. Alternatively, you can see whom they are targeting and then reach out to that person or company first.

2. Employment Trends

Changes in your competitor’s hiring could signal a significant change in strategy. For instance, adding key account managers could signal that a new product will be launching shortly. Hiring in a new city could be alert you that they are expanding into a new market. If analyzed correctly, a pattern of hiring for certain positions, and not filling others, can paint a picture of where that company is headed.

3.  Individual Company Pages

A company page on LinkedIn, if done well, is not just another avenue to promote the corporate blog. The page can create dialogue with key influencers, or generate leads by offering demos of services or free products. Evaluate what kinds of posts receive the most feedback and whether you could benefit from a similar approach.

4.  Utilizing LinkedIn Groups

Since you are reading a competitive intelligence blog, you probably have an idea of who your main competitors are. But what about indirect competitors in different countries or up-and-comers in your field? These companies can still be worth monitoring to learn from their successes and failures.

You can find your industry groups through the Group Search, which will also let you see which groups your connections have joined.  Or you can take advantage of LinkedIn Skills. Type in a skill, such as SaaS or JavaScript and LinkedIn will display people with those skills, and groups related to those skills. Looking to dive deeper? One the left hand side of the page LinkedIn provides a list of similar skills, and on the right hand side, related company pages.

Want to be stealth?  Remember to change your settings.

To select who can see you connections:

  •             Click on your photo to see the Account & Setting menu
  •             Select Privacy & Settings
  •             Privacy Controls select: Select who can see your connections
  •             Select Only You