One Company’s Loss is Another Company’s Gain

Katherine Bennett - April 13, 2010

When most businesses think of social media they think about getting their name in front of people and building relationships. However, one important factor is overlooked by many businesses that could actually help them grow. It’s called learning. Time and money can be saved, and frustration lost, if businesses learn how to glean information from their competitors on social media sites.

Social media sites have a wealth of information. In fact, companies can get valuable insights from and about competitors on social sites. How do you this? Search around for your competitors and see what they are doing. Many have a Facebook or Twitter page where they are posting their latest products or services. Why not join? It’ll allow you to stay abreast of what’s going on. When they launch a special promotion you’ll be one of the first to know. It’s almost like having the inside the scoop. Plus see what fans like or dislike about the company.

Let’s look at an example. Say Company A does a promotion, offering a coupon on Facebook and Twitter for people to try their new spicy chicken sandwich for free. They set aside one day, where all their locations are serving a free chicken sandwich. They have a good amount of people show up for the promotion at all their locations. Throughout the week customers tweet and send posts to Facebook about the free sandwich. The majority of the people say they appreciated the free meal, but didn’t like the long lines. Company A, posts a survey online, asking people if they liked the new spicy chicken sandwich, but they get very little response. In less than 2 months they discontinue the new spicy chicken sandwich. Company B, which also sells chicken sandwiches has been learning from Company A. They know from Facebook posts and tweets that Company A discontinued the new spicy chicken sandwich because everyone came for the free meal, but after that the spicy chicken sandwich didn’t generate much revenue.

Company B, which also sells chicken, launches a promotion on Facebook and Twitter for a free spicy chicken sandwich. However, they offer the sandwich for a week, and they give a schedule of locations and time slots that are available. As people sign-up, they are shown locations and time slots that are still available. They select what’s most convenient for them and print out their coupon. When they visit the location, they are given the free chicken sandwich and asked to fill out a quick survey. Company B gets good feedback and they make the adjustment to the chicken sandwich based on the survey. The new spicy chicken sandwich becomes a huge success for Company B, in part because they watched their competitor’s promotions and looked to see what their fans were saying.

Learning from competitors via social media sites can be a golden key for many companies. Fans aren’t afraid to share what they like or dislike about a company’s product or service. If you’re paying attention, your business can gain a host of new customers, by providing the solutions that your competitor ignored. Remember one man’s loss is another man’s gain or treasure.  Are you looking for gain?

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