Mining For Competitive Intelligence On Google Plus

The recent buzz on social media regarding Google Plus is the introduction of branded pages.  These pages can permit companies to expand marketing capabilities on the social web.  While brands are rushing out to claim their presence on the social network, unlike Bank of America (please read, Bank of America’s Google Plus Page Appears ‘Brandjacked’ ), there are a few that are dominating the space by being active.  Brands such as Pepsi and Amazon.com show signs of engagement which in turn provides competitors an opportunity to gather competitive intelligence.

As companies begin to adopt Google Plus as a part of their social media marketing strategy, it is important to note that users of the social network are having discussions regarding companies and their respective brands.  These discussions can be accessed and turned into competitive intelligence that be used in the future.

Below are a few example of brands that have not established their page on Google Plus or not engaging as of yet; however, there is a considerable amount of information being shared in circles (i.e., groups of contacts on Google Plus).  The information can be accessed via the Google Plus ‘searches’ drop-down menu as seen in Figure 1 for the query, “Videotron”.

Figure 1: Videotron 'Searches' On Google Plus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bell Canada

Although the telecommunication giant has claimed its Google Plus page, the level of engagement is quite low (as November 21st, 2011).  The number of mentions of “Bell Canada” on the social network suggests that individuals are engaging on their own.  Figure 2 is a sample from the listing of results for the query: bell canada customer support.

Figure 2: Google Plus Post Regarding Bell Canada's DSL Pricing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post highlighted in Figure 2 can provide insights into Bell Canada’s pricing strategy for its DSL service which may not be too competitive as compared to Acanac.

Forest Laboratories

Forest Laboratories is the pharmaceutical company that produces Savella, a drug for the treatment of fibromyalgia.  Figure 3 features the discussion thread regarding the drug.

Figure 3: Comments on Google Plus Regarding Savella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The last message can indicate to  similar  producers of the drug that some end-consumers are well aware of alternative treatments such as Lyrica.

BlackBerry

By entering the keywords, “BlackBerry” +”Playbook” + “discount” into the search field on Google Plus, researchers will be able to read various postings regarding the sales promotion strategy for the tablet manufactured by Research In Motion (RIM).  Figure 4 is a post and a reply pertaining to the deep discounted prices for the product in Canada.

Figure 4: Posting Regarding Discount Prices Of Blackberry Playbooks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The initial comment on the post unveils that some retailers selling the product at difference discounted prices (i.e, $499 at The Source  and $199 at Bureau En Gros (Staples).

Conclusion

It will be a question of time until companies master Google Plus to engage with their audience.   From a competitive intelligence point of view, the time to master it to gather meaningful intelligence is now.  As long as individuals on the social web platform are mentioning companies and their respective brands, researchers should be proactive in terms of finding and extracting information that can be used to execute or modify a strategic initiative.

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About Intelegia

Intelegia is a boutique consulting firm in Montreal, Canada that understands the need to be innovative and strategic in a business landscape that’s evolving at an incredible pace. The firm delivers social media strategies to efficiently engage with stakeholders in economic development, business to business and business to consumer segments. It assists clients by defining and executing sustainable social web strategies that will allow their brand message to stand out in a competitive environment where target audience engagement is a must.

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