Facebook has reached the level of ubiquity that the rest of us covet. Because of that, it is likely that you’ll find your competitors hanging out there, lurking and even interacting with your customers. You could be among them, spying on them as they do so. But you have to do it discreetly.
First, Facebook doesn’t allow business accounts so it is likely that your competition isn’t out there promoting themselves by writing on people’s walls. At least, not as a corporation.
They likely have a fan page (as should you). And you can become a fan of the page, but that’s an obvious CI strategy, isn’t it? Let’s do something less obvious.
Try to find out the names of top people in your competition’s companies. They likely have personal Facebook accounts. One way to do that is to look at the list of followers of the company’s fan page. If you can figure out who the first couple of followers were then they are likely employees. Follow them.
But, let’s back up. Your Facebook account should be in your own name. Better yet, find someone in your company who isn’t a high profile employee (in other words, their names don’t appear on press releases and prospectuses). Get them to follow your competitors. They’ll blend in much more easily.
Now isn’t that sly? It’s also good competitive intelligence.