There are a few ways to keep an eye on your competitors on LinkedIn. For starters, we’ll begin with simply tracking your competitors via public forums. The top 3 techniques listed for you here:
1) Follow Trade Groups
Trade groups provide a great feel for the industry overall. Competitors will likely want to create buzz around any new product launches. Displaying this launch to their industry is a great platform for this. As a result, most big industry happenings will be publicized beforehand on these pages.
Secondly, look for opportunities to connect with key contributors in your trade groups. These key contributors will provide you access to additional viewpoints. The more eyes you have on competitors, the more information you will attain.
2) Follow Competitors’ Company Pages
LinkedIn company pages thrive on follower engagement. B2B companies are continually becoming more active with content on these pages. When you follow competitor companies, they will broadcast company news directly to you. It will likely contain useful information about launches you should be aware of.
Tomas Donovan compiled additional tips on using LinkedIn Company pages:
- Pay special attention to employee movements and trends. Is there a lot of hiring? Or a lot of turnover and no replacements? This information can potentially provide clues to a shift in strategy.For instance, these moves could point to more investment in R&D. This would indicate a new product is in the works. It’s very possible that you notice a bunch of account executives being hired. This likely means that a new product is in the works (and probably close to launching)
- Do you leverage ex-employees in a meaningful way to gain information?For example, there are undoubtedly reasons for employee turnover. What is causing your competitors to lose so many employees? Any insight into competitor is good information to have.
Pro tip: Make sure and update your personal settings. By doing this, your activity feed will not show who you’re following.
3) Connect With Them
This is a double-edged sword since competitors will also be connected with you. An alternative might be Competitive Intelligence Through Your Connections.
Joel McCabe recently wrote a post on leveraging the full power of your LinkedIn network. In it, he discusses a LinkedIn tool, known as tagging. This tool allows you to create custom categories within your connections. After properly tagging your connections, you’ll have a great feel for them. Their industries, affiliations, and relationship will become evident.
Now you can pinpoint which of your connections may be connected to your competitors. Build your relationships in order to gather competitive intelligence through these connections. You’ll have to return the favor someday, but that’s what real networking is. This activity helps you receive and add value to those in your network.
In the digital age, companies need to be social. They need to engage potential customers, because if they don’t someone else will. Use this growing trend to your advantage. The 3 steps above will get you in the loop on the majority of competitor activity.