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One of the most important parts of marketing online is getting a handle on what your competition is up to. One of the most important growing trends in that space is social media. It’s what I call social intelligence.

Social intelligence is learning what your competitors are doing with social media. To do that effectively, you have to follow them.

There are different ways of approaching social intelligence. You can simply follow your competition in your own name, but what if they decide they don’t want to include you in their posts? What if they exclude you because you’re the competition? There’s a simple fix. Create an online persona not associated with your brand and then follow your competition.

It’s clandestine, yes. But it also works.

Your social intelligence persona should be very controlled. You are only interested in following your competitors. But to make sure that you arouse no one’s suspicion, follow your own brand as well. You can use this strategy on any of the social networks:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Tumblr
  • Instagram
  • and more

What should you be looking for with your social intelligence profile?

For starters, you should be looking for new important announcements about products and services, new marketing initiatives, contests and specials, etc. If your competition makes a move, you want to know about it. That’s what social intelligence is all about. It’s competitive intelligence using social media as the information gathering tool, and it’s an essential element of your marketing plan.

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