Guest blog by Jennifer Everett

Twitter is one of the most popular social networks for business – it gives you advantages that aren’t available on other platforms. Since so much Twitter data is open to the public, your brand can easily use this data to learn about your competitor’s followers and strategies. Most people will use the tactic of following everyone that follows their competition. You will get roughly 30% of those users following you back. However, this will become ineffective over time.

Here are 7 effective strategies that will continue to work for checking out your competition:

  1. Create a Private List
    Select “New List” on your homepage sidebar and make sure that it is only visible to you! Add all of your competitor’s to that list, even if they aren’t direct competitors. Include all of their employees that are on Twitter as well so you have a constant stream of information telling you how they handle their Twitter strategy.
  2. Monitor Replies
    Remember that you are only seeing one side of the conversation. Set up a search for your competitor’s username so you can see what people are saying to your competitors. What are their likes, dislikes, what questions do they have? Maybe you will see that they aren’t answering their customers’ questions (but your brand can), or they are complaining about something that your brand offers better. This will help with your brand awareness and will generate more customers for you.

Tip: You can “Save this Search” on Twitter

  1. Analyze Their Followers
    Applications like Tweepi and Twitonomy let you bring up your competitor’s follower list and sort it by the number of updates their followers have, their following count and much more information. Essentially, you can discover who their most active and influential fans are. Caution: do not spam them, work to build a genuine relationship and you will win them over in no time! Check out what kind of data these applications can give you below.

How to Use Twitter To Check out Your Competition

  1. Inspect Their Toolkit
    On your competitor’s Twitter profile, you can see the timestamp for each of their updates. When you click on this, you can see which applications or services they use to update their account. If you are already monitoring their replies, then you can even see which updates by your competitors get the most response and then follow the update to that tool so that you can try it out for yourself!
  2. Create Another List
    Within your new list, follow the most active users that your competitor is engaging with (you can get this from an application like Twitonomy). Monitor what those people are tweeting and provide a helping hand by answering their questions. Then, look at all the lists that follow your competitor and engage with the users who created those lists. Typically, you’ll see hundreds of lists, so you should first engage with the users who have the biggest lists. By having your Twitter profile also being part of that list, you’ll instantly gain followers from your competition.
  3. Keep Up With Their Articles
    Blogging and other content marketing tactics are great for generating traffic and building relationships. If you see that your competitor is getting a lot of attention based on their blog posts and articles, then this is a strategy that you will want to start utilizing as well. Even if they aren’t publishing anything, it may be a way that you can gain an advantage over them.
  4. Get their Twitter Score
    Twitter Grader allows you to enter the username of anyone on Twitter and get a rating on their presence. You can even see a list of the top most mentioned keywords in the user’s tweets. Compare your score to theirs and see suggestions in the report for what you could be doing better.

Prove that your brand is always on their game by using all of these free tools to be able to track your competition and gain a bigger audience.