Social media for corporate espionage? Don’t turn away so quickly, I’m not talking about stalking someone’s Facebook profile. Indeed, human resources has been engaging in online research for years on job applicants. The number of interns that get turned down each year because of inappropriate photos on their Facebook page would make you mind spin. But, there’s nothing saying we can’t apply the same technique to our competitors and target clients. In fact we don’t even have to go searching, we can have the information come right to us.
Enter the RSS Feed.
Using Social Media for Corporate Espionage: RSS Feeds
RSS feeds are our secret weapon for online corporate espionage. Want to know what your largest competitor is up to? Want to know what new business a client has signed or what is going on a their company? Take a look at their blog.
Most blogs have what is called an RSS feed, or real simple syndication. The button looks like this:
Clicking on that button will allow you to subscribe to the blog’s updates, meaning every time they post you will get a notification, either through your email or through your RSS reader. It is easy, takes virtually no time and allows you to keep tabs on clients and competitors without much effort.
Of course, a blog is only going to tell you the good news, but with some skill you can read between the lines and see what else may be going on. Remember, marketing is about communicating a message. Sometimes no communication sends a louder message than frequent communication. Has your client stopped posting? Has your competitor recently started blogging frequently on a specific topic or key area of practice? Has your target client recently refreshed their website or is it 15 years old?
These more subtle marketing message can give you a more in depth look at the firm or at least how they want to be perceived. Look at your own blog or website and ask yourself the same question- what message am I putting out there? Is this a message you want to send? What else isn't being said?