Want to spy on your competition?
Sure you do. So why not make it easy?
Because (let's face it) no matter the industry -- knowing what your competition is up to is just good business.
And that's where Twitter lists come in.
Lists can help you discreetly observe what your competitors are doing, allowing you to gather data around untapped opportunities.
With Twitter lists, you can view tactics in action, analyze strategy and keep watch on your industry.
So what do you say? Want to know how to use Twitter lists as YOUR secret weapon?
Then read on!
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Want to Spy on Your Competition? Here’s How to Do It with Twitter Lists!
There are many benefits to gain when you spy on your competitors with Twitter:
- Gather ideas for blog topics
- Keep up with their products and prices
- Know which subjects and tweets are getting them the best interaction
- Determine what competitors are tweeting and how often are they tweeting
But you don't want to FOLLOW your business opponents. That would look way too suspicious.
It might even come across to customers and potential clients as an endorsement of your competition!
Instead, I'm going to show you a powerful and effective way to see anyone's tweets WITHOUT following them -- and I don't mean by going to their individual profiles and having a look. (That's one way to do it, but it's time-consuming and doesn't scale well at all.)
For maximum effectiveness you're going to want to track multiple Twitter accounts -- and I know your time is way too valuable to spend a day or so each week pulling data straight from Twitter profiles one-by-one.
The good news: You don't have to!
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There are 2 types of Twitter lists: public and private.
1. Public Twitter lists (for those times when you feel like leaking a little info)
Public Twitter lists are available to anyone. All it takes is a Twitter account to view, follow and share them.
It's a good idea to keep some public lists dangling out there for branding and PR. That shows your readers which topics are most important to you.
For example, wouldn't you rather see your physician displaying lists related to keeping up with the latest in medical techniques rather than revealing a fascination with gambling in Vegas?
When should you set a Twitter List to public?
Here are a few ideas:
- Publicize a list of brands you partner with or want to interact with
- Share a list of those who have spoken at your industry's annual convention
- Develop a public list of resources your audience will find valuable
Hey, there are plenty of reasons to keep a Twitter list public. Just remember: Public lists should not only be helpful, they should make YOU look good!
2. Private Twitter lists (for your eyes only)
Private lists are only available to you. You can’t share them and other Twitter users can’t follow them.
When should you set a Twitter list to private?
Consider these possibilities:
- Stay on top of your clients' activities
- Spy on your competition without being detected
- File internal rosters and communications (a collection of clandestine Twitter handles, for example)
Once you begin taking advantage of private lists, you'll find plenty of ways to use them.
How You Can Use Twitter Lists to Monitor the Competition
Most people make a huge mistake when setting up Twitter lists for business surveillance. Here's the problem: They create a list and then follow the account.
When you follow someone, you automagically send out a notification to that person (or organization or brand) that you just became their newest follower.
That's like the fox sending a "See you soon" note to the hen house!
Getting the word out is ideal for public lists -- it's like sending an "I love your stuff" note. For spy work, though, it's an amateur move.
Normally, you don't want to get caught with your hand in the cookie jar. Let's walk through the basics of setting up Twitter lists as a strategic tool.
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A step-by-step guide to using Twitter like a corporate spy
Here's how to use Twitter lists to get the lowdown on your competition.
The first thing you need is a Twitter account.
At this point, you may wonder why you shouldn't just set up a fake account for spy work. You can do that, but smart counter-intelligence will be able to track that account and eventually figure out who you are.
Moreover, it's a pain in the *** to keep switching between accounts without slipping up.
- Step 1: Log in to your Twitter account
- Step 2: Select "Lists" from the dropdown menu
- Step 3: Create a list
- Give your list a name and description.
- Be sure to select the "Private" option and save your list.
That's all there is to Phase 1 of the Twitter spying tutorial!
Next, let's go over how to add someone without them knowing!
- Step 1: Go to a Twitter profile you want to see tweets from- Step 2: Don't Follow that account, instead click the gear icon to the left
- Step 3: Select the private list you created in Phase 1 and add the account to it
How to view your lists (without getting busted)
Once you've created your list(s) and added accounts, it's easy to pull up the Twitter activity those accounts have generated -- all you need to do is select the "Lists" option across from your profile photo.
Remember: If you want to be really covert, be sure you don't follow, retweet, favorite or reply to your competitors' tweets. Otherwise, they’ll know you're there.
One more thing: Make sure to maintain proper security procedures with your Twitter account.
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Concluding Remarks - How to Spy on Your Competition with Twitter Lists!
Twitter lists can be instrumental in helping you learn more about what your competitors are doing and how they are doing it -- that's for sure.
BUT -- Twitter lists can also be a great way to keep your Twitter stream organized. So whether you are hankering to get into all-out espionage or simply want a better way to keep your Twitter ducks in a row... check out Twitter lists.
Here's a video to help clarify the process as needed. Should you have suggestions or observations, I'd love to hear them. Use the Comments section below.