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|On the Scene|
|Thursday, March 11, 2010|
BY KEVIN MANAHAN
There was a time when constantly checking Twitter updates at work would put you on the fast track for disciplinary action. But for many businesses these days, it might actually be advantageous to devote some work time to exploring the potential of social media and how it can help you understand your business, while also keeping an eye on the competition. Scoping out your rivals’ Facebook friends could help more than you think.
But Patel adds that you shouldn’t rely solely on the popular social media sites, and instead use tools like Social Mention (which allows you to search for any topic across multiple social sites, blogs, comments, videos, etc.) and TweetMeme (which aggregates popular links on Twitter to show you what people are sharing). Patel suggests sorting TweetMeme results to focus on the up-and-coming trends instead of what’s already popular – and then acting quickly on those trends. Kasteler threw in recommendations as well, citing Trendistic, BlogPulse, WhosTalkin.com and BoardTracker.com as useful competitive-intelligence tools.
But it’s worth the effort to get an honest sense of brand perception from your customer base while getting a leg up on the competition. “If you know your customers better than your competitors do, then you have the advantage,” Carter says.
Kevin Manahan is the online editor for Oregon Business.
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