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LinkedIn Knows Your Competitors: Discover How to Leverage That!
Unearth the competitive intelligence treasures of LinkedIn and build a monumental program for business growth. Start your journey today.
Does the thought of digging through LinkedIn, hunting for growth prospects and nuggets of competitive intelligence make you feel like you're laying the foundation for a colossal pyramid, one brick at a time?
Sure, scanning LinkedIn's horizons may feel a bit like you’re laying the cornerstone for a pyramid intended to touch the clouds. Huge undertaking for sure.
And in truth, building a competitive intelligence program inclusive of LinkedIn might feel like single-handedly sculpting blocks from a quarry, when you do it manually. But here's the good news: you won't be hauling those blocks alone.
We'll clarify which kernels of information from LinkedIn are the actual gold dust, and teach you how to gather them into an awe-inspiring narrative that'll resonate throughout your company. This goes beyond stirring the spirit of your sales team — we'll also clear up some of the most obscure puzzles people encounter regarding LinkedIn competitive intelligence.
Ready to embark on this monumental (but totally doable) building project? Let's dive in.
Before You Begin Using LinkedIn For Competitive Intelligence
Before you set off on your LinkedIn exploration to uncover competitive intelligence, it's important to make sure your very first brick - your personal LinkedIn profile - is sturdy, engaging and skillfully chiseled. You won’t use your company's profile here.
Operating from your personal account is like wearing the appropriate attire in our metaphorical pyramid construction project. It makes you a credible explorer as you delve into the depths of LinkedIn's vast landscape. A profile that's been meticulously carved with the following elements:
- A professional photo: Use high-quality headshots that convey approachability and professionalism
- A compelling headline: Headlines should be client-centric, showcasing how you can add value to prospects
- A compelling summary: Emphasize your niche expertise, spotlight your success stories, and clearly describe your value proposition
- Relevant work experience: Highlight achievements and past successes that add credibility to your name
- Endorsements and recommendations: Make sure you have at least one or two positive testimonials from colleagues, clients, or managers to validate your trustworthiness
You can give your profile even more depth by regularly posting thought-provoking content such as fresh-off-the-press articles and new videos. A robust, active profile shows authority and builds trust.
How to Succeed at Competitive Intelligence on LinkedIn
Once you've sculpted a resonant LinkedIn profile, build your LinkedIn competitive intelligence blueprint in four steps:
- Define your objectives: Determine the specific objectives you want to address in your competitive intelligence report. For example, will you hone in on your competitors' product offerings, marketing strategies, key personnel, recent announcements, or industry trends they are capitalizing on?
- Collect team requests: Survey all relevant departments in your organization and assess what questions these departments are trying to answer.
The more input you have at this stage from a broad pool of stakeholders, the more compelling your competitive intelligence reports will be, and the more likely they’ll be to use them.
- Identify competitors: Compile a list of your main competitors in the market. You likely have a pretty good idea of the main competitors, but LinkedIn's search functionality is also invaluable here. Look for companies that offer similar products or services and have a significant presence on LinkedIn.
- Figure out how you’ll track and share data: Will you use spreadsheets, Battlecards, or other data collection tools? Is your sales team committed to using them? If not, you’ll likely lose valuable intel, and your competitive intelligence program won’t be complete. Get their buy-in first!
Now it’s time to make use of the modern functions of LinkedIn (we're building a modern pyramid, after all!), depending on what competitive intelligence data you are looking to collect.
Let’s look at how each of your teams can benefit from your LinkedIn building project. You may also enjoy this article on the 7 essential competitive intelligence reports that empower all your teams.
HR/Compensation Team Insights from LinkedIn
Assessing the activity of HR and compensation teams on LinkedIn will give you direct insight into your competitor’s hiring practices (rival pyramid builders?), which in turn will help you assess the health of your competitor’s business.
You can find information about HR and compensation teams on Linkedin in a few ways.
First, you can look for competitor job openings on LinkedIn. Navigate to the “Jobs” tab at the top-middle part of the page. Click “Jobs” and enter your competitor's name into the search bar.
Once you click the return button, you land on the results page. If your competitor has a job opening, click on that result.
Pro Tip: If you want access to deeper LinkedIn insights, you must have a pro or business account. This unlocks features like “Meet the hiring team.”
Take a look at the first column of information. Some companies choose to give a lot away in their job listings. You might even see the salary range for open positions, the number of employees working at the company, what skills they are looking to hire for, etc.
Next, if you have a business or professional LinkedIn account, you may see “Meet the hiring team” in a box below the basic job description.
Click on the hiring team member’s profile. Depending on how unlocked their profile is, you can gain a ton of insight into their business practices, how they view hiring, how they get candidates in the door, and more.
You can follow this person or just collect the information you seek and move on. Following them will allow you to continue to gather competitive intel from their postings and profile updates without having to search for them each time you need to update your intel.
So, the HR/compensation team data you collect might look like this:
- 2,000 employees
- Number of openings: 5
- Salary range: $45,000/year to $250,000/year
- 1,500-1,700 employees
- Number of openings: 17
- Salary range: $50,000-$150,000
- 500-750 employees
- Number of openings: 3
- Salary range: $75,000- $300,000
… And so on. You can manually enter all this information into a spreadsheet for an initial competitive analysis, but be warned: it's time-consuming to maintain and update, which is why we recommend adopting competitive intelligence automation.
- Identify potential leads: New hires in decision-making roles may indicate potential opportunities for your sales team. Maybe future marketing campaigns need to lean into your longevity and your team's expertise.
- Outline pain points: Frequent job switches in a company's sales department might suggest internal challenges your team can address by highlighting your stability and staying power with customers.
- Gauge company stability: High employee turnover could indicate overall instability within a competitor's organization, presenting opportunities for your team to swoop in with better offers.
Gathering Marketing and Brand Insights from LinkedIn
Marketing is the richest area of competitive intelligence data on LinkedIn. Some of the ways to use the professional social media platform to gain valuable insights into competitor brand image and marketing strategies include:
- Using Advanced Search
LinkedIn's advanced search feature is your trusty multi tool for competitive intelligence. You can use targeted keywords, filters, and other specific criteria to narrow your search and uncover niche insights into your competition.
At a glance, you can get company overviews, details about products, employees, and more. Often the overview provides an excellent peek into the messaging a company uses to talk about itself and its offerings.
- Analyze and follow company pages and updates
LinkedIn company pages provide a wealth of competitive insights for your marketing teams. By following competitors’ company pages, your team can stay informed about and respond to:
- Real-time updates on your competitors' announcements
- Product launches
- Content updates - individual updates and trends can point to a new focus. Watching for updates that generate unusually-high engagement can help you plan and improve your own content.
Pssst… Kompyte will do this for you.
LinkedIn Insights for Executive Teams
Start your excavation with a list of c-suite positions you plan to focus on (i.e. CEO, CTO, CMO, etc.). This will keep you focused.
What are you looking for here?
Knowing decision-makers' movements empowers your organization to make more informed, strategic decisions regarding investments, partnerships, roadmaps, and more. And many top leaders invest heavily in their LinkedIn presence, making it a veritable goldmine of competitive insights.
Your organization can gain a competitive edge by spotting opportunities and weaknesses among the competition’s highest ranks.
- Monitor updates and changes - Keep an eye on updates to executive profiles. Look for changes in their job titles, company affiliations, or any new achievements they have added to their profiles. This information can be valuable for understanding recent developments.
- Check the “Talks About” section of their LinkedIn profile - This section offers select keywords that the executive often uses (keywords you’ll want to look into).
- Analyze network connections - Examine the executives' LinkedIn connections to identify shared or mutual connections. This can give you an idea of their professional networks and potential partnerships.
- Track content sharing - Pay attention to the content executives share on LinkedIn. Analyze the topics they are interested in and the level of engagement their posts receive. This can offer insights into their industry focus and thought leadership.
- Assess industry engagement - Look for participation in industry-related groups, discussions, and events. Executives actively engaging in industry conversations will likely be more influential and well-connected within their sector.
- Compare competing executives - Conduct a comparative analysis between executives from different companies. Identify commonalities and differences in their backgrounds, skills, and professional achievements. This can help you understand the competitive landscape. We will discuss how you can easily collect this information for future use in just a bit.
Use LinkedIn to Track Competitors’ Events
LinkedIn is a popular channel for spreading the word about company events via LinkedIn Events Pages.
These events can give you insight into a company’s messaging, new service/product offerings, and other marketing tactics they leverage to attract customers.
- Track event engagement metrics - Pay attention to the engagement metrics on your competitors' event posts. Analyze the number of likes, comments, and shares they receive. High engagement may indicate a strong interest in a well-executed marketing strategy/event.
- Analyze event content - Examine event announcements and related posts. Look for critical messages, themes, and unique selling points they emphasize. Understanding their event content can provide insights into their positioning.
- Observe event attendees - LinkedIn event pages often list attendees who have expressed interest in or confirmed their attendance. Review the attendees list to identify potential clients, partners, or industry influencers who may be present.
- Participate in competitor events (if appropriate/allowed): Consider attending your competitors' public events or webinars to participate in hands-on, analog competitive intelligence research. This can give you firsthand experience of their event format, content, and audience engagement.
- Engage with event participants: Engage with other attendees on LinkedIn event pages by commenting on posts or participating in discussions. This can help you gain insights into the event's impact on participants and their reactions.
- Monitor event follow-up activities: After the event, watch your competitors' LinkedIn pages for any follow-up activities or posts related to the event. They may share event highlights, presentations, or feedback from attendees.
Competitor LinkedIn Insights for Product and Innovation Teams
Using LinkedIn for competitive intelligence for product and innovation teams allows you to keep an eye on their business-building efforts.
This information can help you refine your product development and marketing efforts, identify market opportunities, and help you craft a stellar go-to-market strategy. You can use LinkedIn to:
- Track product launches: Take note of any product launch events or webinars your competitors announce on LinkedIn via Events and updates.
- Track employee updates: Look for any updates or posts from your competitors' employees about new products. Employees might share insights into new projects that won’t be included in boilerplate company updates.
- Analyze job postings: Review job postings on your competitors' LinkedIn company pages for product development, research, and roles that suggest your competitors are investing in innovation.
- Follow thought leaders: Identify thought leaders within your competitors' organizations. Follow their profiles to stay updated on their perspectives and activities.
- Join industry groups: Participate in industry-related LinkedIn groups where your competitors' employees and customers might be active. Observe discussions and interactions related to products and innovations. See what gets the most attention and buzz.
- Monitor Recommendations and Endorsements: Look for recommendations and endorsements on your competitors' LinkedIn profiles related to their products. Positive feedback can provide insights into product performance and customer satisfaction.
How to Compile Competitive Intelligence Data from LinkedIn
Competitive intelligence analysis often churns out a veritable mountain of data, and you may at this point feel more overwhelmed than when you started. But remember that each little insight is a brick in your competitive intelligence pyramid of glory. You just have to stack them in the right places and for the right people.
The sections above outlined some of the individual nuggets each team would use. Now, just choose a method for distributing them:
- Reports - You can segment your analysis into specific reports, such as pricing comparisons, product, and feature comparative analysis, hiring/retention reporting, and more.
- Battlecards - Battlecards are snapshot documents that sales and marketing teams use to track and compile essential data sets and scripts that the sales department can use when speaking with prospects.
- SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) - SWOT Analysis breaks down your competitive analysis into a quadrant graph (see below) of the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, opportunities you could be capitalizing on, and threats to your business from competitors.
- Executive Summary - An executive summary/review is a high-level summary of the competitive landscape you deliver to leadership. This distills the most important information about your competitors’ go-to-market strategies down to bite-size takeaways that are typically shared during executive/board meetings. They’re also useful for sales teams looking to prepare for a call.
Collect Competitive Intelligence Data From LinkedIn and Compile It - The Easy Way
Gathering this data manually takes a lot of work. Think hauling bricks up a hill in summer temperatures. Unfortunately, keeping your program working isn’t a one-time project, either. To continue working effectively, it must be kept up to date.
If you decide to take this on using analog techniques, you might end up with a mess of a Google Spreadsheet.
Not only will you end up with an awkwardly-large document, but now there’s a virtual “keep out, construction zone” tape around the pyramid that should be enabling teams to build your business and close more sales! If it’s not easy to access and skim, you’ll be the only one using it.
So, you may want to explore a platform like Kompyte—which offers detailed and easy ways to track your most important competitive intelligence data. Not quite ready for that? Start with our free, editable Competitive Intelligence Analysis Template that includes:
- Product & pricing comparison template
- Competitor marketing and messaging strategies analysis template
- SWOT analysis template
- Sales Battlecard template
This is how it looks in Kompyte:
These tools can shave hours off maintaining your entire competitive intelligence program each week. For example, the Battlecard template is customizable with widgets that suit your particular needs.
Plus, these widgets automatically update to give you the freshest data possible.
Next Steps: Using LinkedIn for Competitive Intelligence
As you stand at the base of your metaphorical pyramid, scanning the vast potential of LinkedIn's landscape for competitive intelligence gems, remember — like every towering pyramid, every worthwhile endeavor starts with a single, carefully-placed brick.
So, gear up. Grab your chisel. Seek out those precious informational nuggets hiding in LinkedIn's corners. Success lies within your grasp, and while the construction project might seem daunting, it’s a monument that, when built, will stand in glory, offering a commanding view over the competitive horizon. We're here to guide you through your pyramid building journey, brick by brick. So, are you ready to create something monumental?
Download the free template and start making the most of your LinkedIn competitive intelligence today.