5 Platforms SMBs Can Use to Monitor Local Competitors

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brainOutright spying on the competition may be somewhat frowned upon in the business community, but getting access to inside information about the deals that neighboring establishments are running is oftentimes necessary for SMBs looking to maintain a competitive edge.

Nearly 80% of companies (of all sizes) are now using social media to track competitors, however today’s top competitive intelligence platforms give SMBs a way to go far beyond tracking keywords and mentions. These hyperlocal tools give merchants and service providers a way to identify the most important players in their local markets and analyze which of those businesses’ marketing strategies is producing the greatest returns. Here are five platforms that SMBs can use to monitor the local competition.

1. Perch: Business intelligence for local SMBs.
Perch provides a way for small business owners to access all types of publicly available information about their competitors, without having to “like” them online. Businesses enter the names of any competitors they’re watching, and Perch brings back a stream of information about the daily deals and check-in specials those merchants are running. Perch also helps users find competitive websites and social media profiles, and offers a “Watchlist” feature that SMBs can use to receive real-time updates when their competitors are on the move. Businesses can download the Perch mobile app for free.

2. MediaGraph: Track competitors’ media mentions.
Small business owners who are interested in monitoring their competitors’ media mentions can use MediaGraph’s Competitor Analysis tool to do the job in-house. The platform sends automated alerts when a competitor is mentioned in any news outlet, and uses line graphs and other analytics tools to break down coverage by media type (traditional media vs. blogs). Businesses can then pitch any journalist who has recently covered a competitor with their own story ideas, and update their media strategies to reflect what’s currently being covered in their industries. MediaGraph offers multiple pricing plans that range from $22 to $144 per month.

3. Beevolve: Learn what people think of competing establishments.
Beevolve is a social media monitoring tool that offers real-time competitive intelligence for SMBs. Businesses can use Beevolve to find out what their competitors are doing on social media, and what people are saying about those businesses online. (Giving them the opportunity to insert themselves into conversations to divert business away from competitors, when necessary.) Companies can also use Beevolve to determine how other businesses in their industries are allotting their marketing budgets, and which of their products is most popular among social influencers. Beevolve’s pricing plans range from $49.95 to $349.95 per month.

4. Oopgo: Understand how your competition succeeds.
Oopgo’s Competitive Intelligence platform gives business owners insight into what factors are helping other merchants succeed. The DCI Insight Suite digs into traffic trends to determine how changes in the technology or advertising platforms a competitor is using are impacting that company’s bottom line, and provides users with insights into the best digital strategies for their own brands. SMBs can also use Oopgo to identify new “threats,” or similar businesses entering their local marketplaces. Oopgo offers variable pricing depending on the “depth of insight and number of competitors” in a company’s market.

5. Socialbakers: Learn from the failures of your competitors.
Socialbakers lets businesses compare themselves in a head-to-head setting against their closest competitors, providing industry benchmarking and competitive analysis tools that function in real-time. Merchants can gather insight into the success or failure of their competitor’s recent product launches, allowing them to learn from other business’ experiences and ultimately create more effective digital media campaigns. Socialbakers offers a 14-day free trial, with monthly pricing plans that range from $50 to $400.

Know of other competitive intelligence platforms? Leave a description in the comments.

Stephanie Miles is an associate editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.