How to use social media monitoring to keep tabs on your competition

By now, most savvy companies have launched blogs, Twitter accounts and Facebook pages, mindful that actively engaging online audiences is essential to the survival of any business. But social media
(BRIAN SNYDER - REUTERS)
offers a major benefit that is too often ignored: the ability to monitor the online space to glean information about your customers, your competition, and even your own company.

Twitter, for example, allows businesses to quickly detect a problem with a service or product before that problem turns into a full-blown crisis. But social media monitoring is not limited to keeping a lookout for sudden online developments. It also involves tracking data that are both quantifiable (the number of times your information is shared or retweeted) and qualitative (the tone of the conversation surrounding your brand). Here are just a few of the benefits of social media monitoring, as the practice is called:

Develop insight into how your brand is perceived.

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