We all know that LinkedIn is the perfect platform for connecting with potential customers and staying in contact with existing clients.

But you are missing huge opportunities if you are not using LinkedIn to track your competition – especially the big fish that are making waves in the market.

To stay ahead of the competition, it’s vital to know what they are up to. Think about how useful it would be if you knew about:

  • New products or services they may be launching
  • New offices they are opening
  • New people they are recruiting
  • New clients they are winning
  • Prospective clients they are targeting

You can unearth all this essential information and a lot more on LinkedIn – if you know what you are doing.

The first step in the process may sound a little strange but it requires you to reach out and connect with key individuals in rival companies.    

If you work in a sector where competition is fierce, offering the hand of friendship might make you feel a little uncomfortable.

We have lots of LinkedIn marketing clients who say, “We compete head-on for business so there is no way I can connect with them.”

Our response is always the same, “If you want to out-manoeuvre them, out-think them and take business from under their noses, you need to connect with them on LinkedIn.” 

Why?

Because the vast majority of people on LinkedIn do not protect their contacts!

More than 70% of people do not activate privacy settings so you will be able to see who they are connected to.

That means you can identify their existing clients and you can spot new clients as they win them or individuals they are reaching out to in the hope of securing their business.

So, take a brave pill and reach out to the brands you compete with.

To taking business from under the noses of your rivals, all you have to do is reach out to everyone they are connected to and begin a charm offensive. Over time, you may get the opportunity of pitching for their business.

It is especially important to linkup with new connections your rivals are making as they could be potential new customers they are hoping to win.

If you connect with them as well, there is a good chance you may also be invited to pitch for their business!

By linking with your rivals, you will not only be able to see their connections, you will also be able to track their news posts.

You will be amazed at how loose tongues become on LinkedIn. So often people will chatter about clients won and new business they are pitching for.

A further word of advice, if you take the brave step of connecting with competitors, don’t reach out to one solitary individual. Connect with numerous people.

Why?

Because the more people you are connected to the more contacts you will be able to see and the more news and gossip you will be able to read.

Don’t get downhearted if some of your rivals ignore your approach.  All that shows is that they are more threatened by you than you are by them.

While you are at it, you should also follow your rivals’ company pages. The majority of companies don’t post much news on their LinkedIn company page, but they will often flag up recruitment opportunities.

It allows you to identify your competitions growth areas or where they may have lost a top performer.

Speaking of recruitment opportunities, LinkedIn is the perfect vehicle for identifying your competition’s best people.

Make a list of the people who impress you most and when you have a suitable vacancy – offer them a job.

Finally, protect your connections! You can do it by hovering over your name on your LinkedIn home page, clicking on settings. When you get into settings, it’s easy to change your privacy controls.