One of the best ways to improve your company’s SEO rankings is to research what the competition is doing or not doing on a regular basis. Keep a bookmarked folder, a Pinterest file or a small notebook handy at all times. When you see an online idea that you like, note quickly what it is and why you like it. Then sit down once a week and implement one great idea to your blog, website or social media accounts. Doing this will translate into valuable points with viewers and search engines, and slowly but surely you will see a rise in traffic, rankings and, ultimately, clients. This isn’t an Adwords campaign; results won’t come overnight, but they will come.
There are some very innovative ways to use social media for research. Here are a few of my favorites.
1. Use LinkedIn to research the competition.
What Your Peers Are Reading
Many people think of LinkedIn as a helpful site for making business connections or getting a job. However, one of the real strengths of LinkedIn is that it can be used as a targeted platform for performing research in any industry. LinkedIn is filled with forums and professional groups. In each, you will find helpful and opinionated participants that often share more freely online than they would in public. This means it’s possible to get a quick, accurate idea about the people in any particular group — information you can use to inform your selling technique and product selection. Moreover, LinkedIn users have a higher average income than users of any other social media platform. These are the clients everyone wants.
Researching the competition on LinkedIn is also a fabulous way to learn about the size and structure of similar businesses and what types of experience they have. Competitive research is easy using an advanced search in the “people” category.
Here’s an example: I typed in health insurance and then limited that to the geographic location of San Diego, Calif. I could further limit this list using a number of other criteria, such as company name.
Keeping the “view” tab expanded and then hovering over the individual lets me identify who these people are with a little further Internet research.
In addition, in this last frame, it is possible to see how someone is marketing their business and get a good idea of the products they sell. Once you start using the search facilities on LinkedIn it is very difficult to stop – it’s that useful.
2. Use photo recognition tools for client and competition research.
Facebook’s photo recognition tools are a quick and easy way to expand your list of prospective clients. Through the use of photo tags you can track specific people and see what kind of activities they enjoy, as well as where they are located. By hovering over a person’s picture in a group photo you can see the person’s name. This is extremely helpful when attending semi-social functions where you may want to get to know someone better or make new connections.