'Know your customer' is a well-known mantra in sales and marketing - as is 'know your competition'.  

Whilst this article looks at how we can regain social territory from our competitors, we often forget that the very nature of Social Media enables us to do something really valuable - we can watch what angle our competitors are taking in near real-time - and learn from it.  

All too often we look at Social Media as a sales and marketing tool, yet it is also an incredibly powerful listening and research tool.  In fact users of LinkedIn reported in a 2013 survey (power+formula 2013 LinkedIn survey) that 'researching people and companies' was the most valuable aspect of the site.

However, if we are concerned that our competitors might be outgunning us on Social Media, this article gives some useful pointers - however it's also worth keeping in mind that the social tool they are using can help or hinder us in our efforts.  Take LinkedIn again as an example.

There is a little-known feature on LinkedIn which allows us to make our competitors a little less visible to people who want to hire us or purchase our goods and services.

For example, if you find (say) a presentation skills expert on LinkedIn, on the right side of the person's profile page will be a list headed 'People also viewed'.  That list is predominantly made up of, yes you guessed it... presentation skills experts.  In other words, competitors of the person we are looking at.

What many people don't know is that you can hide this list in your LinkedIn privacy settings, putting your competitors out of site when someone is looking at your profile page.

Seeing your competitors on Social Media is actually an extremely valuable thing and should not necessarily be viewed as a threat.  Use what you see to your advantage, but on LinkedIn at least, you can make your competitors harder to find when people look at your profile page.

I speak and train sales and marketing teams, leaders and entrepreneurs to increase sales with Social Media.  Book me to speak at your conference or event at www.philipcalvert.com