Whether you agree or disagree with the revelations of the past couple of weeks both PRISM and now Tempora highlight how important data is.
Having insight into what is going on in your market place, whether you be a spy or a small business, gives you an advantage. The ability to spot trends, see changes in the market or even opportunities before your competitors keeps you a step ahead.
The Resource Issue
Of course the NSA and GCHQ have a large amount of resource and technical knowledge at their disposal to do this. Then, they do have an enormous amount of data to sift through.
Whilst small businesses may not have the same resources, much the same techniques can be used both legally and for little, or no cost to filter the data you need.
Being able to stay ahead of the curve is useful whatever level of business you run, from a government agency to a local estate agents. The key to being able to do this is information, and nowadays the largest collection of this information is available online.
If you don’t have access to tap the local fibre optic connection here are some easier ways to stay a step ahead:
1. Web Alerts
In the past this slot would have been reserved for Google Alerts, unfortunately it seems Google may be depreciating the service. Talkwalker is a great free alternative.
Just enter the phrase you would like to track, how often you want updates and your email address. Now you will get notified every-time there is a new information based on your preferences and phrase.
2. A Wider View
For a wider view of the online world you might like to also try Social Mention. Its advanced search has even more options and covers a wider scope of web sites from which it can draws information.
3. Facebook and Twitter
You can create custom searches of Twitter or Facebook, save these as streams to monitor the social space in real-time. Getting creative with the way you construct a search query can return some highly relevant results.
As well as phrase based searches I find Hootsuite fantastic for monitoring competitors and market leaders. By creating Twitter lists of the companies or people you wish to track, there is a lot of insight to be had.
4. Track What’s Trending
Google Trends is a great way to see what is popular, where and when in the world. You can track phrases or general trends, providing opportunities to leverage a popular theme.
Google isn’t the only place to see trends, Twitter is another platform that offers the ability to see popular trends in real time. Used with care joining relevant conversations around the right trends can get you noticed.
A Friendly Feed
As well as receiving alerts by email or monitoring the social space in real-time, one great way to aggregate this information is via RSS.
Unfortunately Google Reader, one the the preferred RSS newsreaders in the space is being depreciated, but others like Feedly have take its place. Many of the services above offer the option to have your updates fed into an RSS reader. This allows for swifter reading of updates and easier management.
Sometimes It “Is” What You Know That Counts
The world, and especially technology, are moving at such a fast rate that innovations are accelerating market change.
Just as the NSA and GCHQ wish to stay one step ahead of organised crime and terrorism, to protect society. Using some of the techniques mentioned above you can stay ahead of the competition and protect your business.
If you would like help in setting up your own Online Market Intelligence Monitoring System then give us a call on 01379 330330 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Photo Credit: Route79]