Using LinkedIn for Competitive Intelligence
With so many channels available to listen and explore right from Facebook to Twitter to LinkedIn to YouTube to Tumblr to … getting data about your competition has never been simpler. However, converting the data to real Competitive Intelligence remains a challenge.
LinkedIn is one such place where phenomenal amount of data is available about your competitor for you to analyze.
So where do you start?
Locate (current and past) employees of your competitor
Take for example, if you wish to find out who were employed by your competitor in the past and who is a current employee? Just get into LinkedIn and do an Advanced Search for People.
Start by Using Advanced Search in LinkedIn
- Use the Keywords to search for people in say Engineering or IT or Finance.
- You may want to locate ex/current employees around your Zip code, so you can arrange for a possible face-to-face meeting.
- You may also want to find someone who is an alumni from your school
Once you have set the search criteria, you are likely to find a bunch of people that satisfy the criteria. If you are lucky you may be connected to them 1st, 2nd or 3rd levels. You may find some employed in your own company now.
Determining connections of multiple people in an organization and tracing them to a common company may indicate some kind of a relationship between the two organizations. For example: if 10 employees of Company A are connected with 20 employees of Company B, this may indicate some kind of a vendor-client relationship, especially if say most of the people in one company are in Sales/Marketing.
Projects and Expertize Used at your Competitors
To determine what projects are keeping your competitor busy, just lookup the resumes/profiles of the folks you found in the previous search.
Tracking group memberships is sure to provide you valuable information too.
Many active LinkedIn members Answer questions posted by others, and some have their own questions for experts.
This ends up revealing information as well.
Recommendations from supervisors & peers provide information about the nature of work going on in the organization.
Publications/Patents attached to a profile also help in determining the nature of expertize your competitors are seeking.
What do you use LinkedIn for, apart from Networking?