Back in the day when you had to stalk someone you would grab your pair of binoculars and spy on your unsuspecting victim which is pretty creepy! Nowadays you can just pop on Facebook and check out their profile, and somehow this is now seen as ‘socially acceptable’.

In business there are constant selection pressures that force a business to adapt and ‘keep with the times’ to maintain their market share such as keeping with or ahead of your rivals! Therefore a fantastic way to keep them in your rear view mirror is to…spy on them. That is why we have Secret Social Media Agent! We constantly post loads of stuff about us on Facebook and Twitter, it’s only natural to think that businesses do the same, and they do.

So how do you become a Secret Agent and be a good and effective social media ‘stalker’? (I have used inverted commas because we are talking stalking of the socially acceptable variety here).

Secret Agent top-tip number 1: Get clever software and gadgets!

These days you can get software where you can track and collect date on various social media profiles which you can use to your advantage to see what other businesses are doing and what you can do to stay ahead of them. The whole point of such a tool is just for your convenience and makes everything less complicated.

Secret Agent top-tip number 2: Know who you are stalking!

Create profiles of your market as this will help you categorise your target audience in a way that is again to your convenience and easier to interpret and to a greater use. So what do I mean by a profile? Try to include things that you can target from a business point of view such as their lifestyle, sex, age, ethnicity and even goals and hobbies would allow you to use these attributes from a business perspective to create better business plans and improve your marketing.

Secret Agent top-tip number 3: Spot Patterns!

Now using your profiles try to find common words, keywords, and words that are associated with each other to build a map or anything that links the profiles in such a way that the data becomes even more useful. For example now you can find a specific audience such as “a middle aged man who likes gadgets especially the latest smartphones”. This is also a great way to make sure you target people with the correct marketing information and advertisements as this will ensure greater interest in the advertisements and information due to it being relevant. This sounds so trivial but it is so often overlooked and can lead to a lot of money being wasted on poor advertising campaigns.

Secret Agent top-tip 4: Keep track of your work!

Use something as simple as an Excel spreadsheet or Access to set up some sort of a database where you can keep a record of the person’s social media details and relevant information such as keywords. This will work great as reference for future Secret Agent work!

Secret Agent top-tip 5: Stalk effectively!

Use your database to start ‘stalking’ people and see what their interests are. This is probably one of the best ways that you can see business opportunities. For example if you are a video production agency and you see someone on your social media that is likes making videos or are you a Mercedes Benz seller and you see that there is a particular interest in a specific model or year? This can all be used to spot possible business opportunities to grow your business.

Also try to use the information you use from your social media stalking to come up with ideas for content for new blogs, website designs and even apps.  ‘Retweeting’ can also act as both an advertisement (especially if you add links to your blog or your website in the tweets would help) and a gauge of interest as you can see how people respond to your tweet.

Lastly stalking is hard work and more importantly it takes a lot of time and definitely does not happen overnight. However if you are a good stalker then your rewards will match your level of stalking! So get stalking!