What is Competitive Intelligence?
Competitive intelligence is loosely defined as the process of gathering actionable information on your business’s competitive environment. If you run a business, or any aspect of a business, you are probably well aware that a business’s competitive environment is a vast and often unruly place. Therefore, the ‘process’ mentioned above can encompass many things. Essentially, competitive intelligence is about knowing what is happening in the world outside of your business and how it affects your competitive edge. Businesses need to learn and understand as much as possible as quickly as possible. Contextual intelligence delivered quickly and cleanly is essential for addressing risks, recognizing opportunities, and for overall strategic decision making. Here we will focus on competitive intelligence software that is built to gather and analyze location-specific business insights from social media.
8 ways to use Competitive intelligence Software for Social Media.
1. Brand Monitoring
The internet is essentially borderless (try telling that to Netflix). This presents myriad opportunities as well as challenges to the modern business. When an especially loud customer complaint comes in via social media, it can be difficult to know which one of your 1000+ retail locations their negative experience happened in, to enable your team to respond effectively. The answer to this and many other location-specific challenges is one of the latest marketing buzzwords; hyperlocal intelligence. Hyperlocal means you can find out what is being said, in real time, from somewhere as specific as directly inside your retail or hospitality locations. This depth of awareness means you can understand which aspects of your in-store strategy are driving or sabotaging your bottom line.
2. Competitor Monitoring
It has become standard practice to monitor your competitors’ social presence through tools like Hootsuite and other social listening solutions. These insights are incredibly useful, but it doesn’t end there. With geofencing technology present in certain competitive intelligence software systems, it is also possible to build a virtual perimeter around your competitor’s locations on the ground. Geofencing offers a whole range of additional insights, such as customers posting without #hashtags or direct @mentions of your competitor’s brand names. This allows you to learn from your competitors’ successes, mistakes, and everything in between. This includes both online insights, as well as insights directly from the conversations happening on the ground.
Example: Hey, we can see that lineup is crazy long. Pop across the street and we’ll give you 10% off!
3. Targeted Advertising
Hyperlocal ad targeting is a huge opportunity that has only recently started to gain the attention of marketers. It falls in line with the overarching trend of personalization. Engaging with customers on a hyperlocal level, such as while they’re in your store, waiting in line at the airport, or lounging beside your hotel pool is the best time to get their attention. Todays brands are maximizing these opportunities by keeping a very close eye on their individual locations.
Example: Is your outdoor adventure brand opening in a new city? Quickly locate everyone in that city who is posting about hiking. Building your audience this way is incredibly effective.
4. Plan your campaign strategy
Your campaigns will have more clout if your audience can relate to them. The best way to ensure audience relate-ability is to talk to your audience as if you are in the same room as them. You might be planning your campaign for a new store opening in Vancouver from an office in New York. With location-first competitive intelligence software, you can geofence the area you are trying to reach and quickly understand micro-trends and micro-influencers that are driving the buying the decisions of your new audience in Vancouver.
5. Global Understanding
The big three social media giants (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) are only the tip of the social network iceberg. There are millions of international users on networks like VK, Reddit, and Sina Weibo who you could and should be reaching with your marketing efforts. Insight into a wide range of social networks is important for brands wanting to stay relevant on a global scale.
6. Get to know your customers/influencers
Personalization is paramount in today’s branding and marketing landscape. An incredible depth of insight about consumers can be derived from location intelligence. Understanding the specific trends from within a town or city enables marketers to connect to their customers on a deeper level. Finding and engaging with local influencers is an effective way to develop brand awareness. Word of mouth has taken on a whole new meaning.
7. Analyze the whole picture
Combining social media with geographic data creates a rich data set that provides a level of context which is unmatched by either source on its own. Social media Location intelligence means companies can identify underserved locations, better understand regional buyer trends, and improve the speed and proximity of customer engagement. Engaging at a closer proximity, ie. while your customers are already out shopping, or have recently left your store makes your brand more relevant in the eyes of consumers.
8. Personalize your customer service strategy
Personalization is widely becoming accepted as the key to lasting customer loyalty. Hotels are possibly the most adept at embracing this trend. It is becoming more and more common to see hotels stocking guest’s rooms with personal touches like their favourite chocolates or a “congrats on the new job” card.
In business, It’s all about the long game.
Competitive intelligence is a broad term that covers many aspects of business. When we’re talking about it from a social media perspective, a hyperlocal approach is the way forward. Bots and excessive automation is on the way out. The next wave of marketers are discovering that in order to truly win brand loyalty, we need to get personal. Location-based social media tools are a must for businesses looking to gain an advantage in an increasingly competitive marketplace.