So how can you let your inner spy out when doing your super-sleuthing?
Here are a couple of tips for those of you who have never thought to use social media for research purposes:
- Anonymity. Don't do what James Bond does, being all tuxedoed out and gorgeous looking. Down play yourself. Turn on your privacy settings. If you are going on LinkedIn, make sure your broadcast activity settings, status update settings and "what do others see when you view their page" settings are off.
- Look at everything. Many people stop at doing a simple people search on LinkedIn, looking for connections. Dig deeper. Look at LinkedIn company sites, job postings; Google+; Twitter streams, followers and followings; blog scrapings.
- Connect the dots. Speculate, put two and two together. If someone is asking for information about one specific issue, pull back and try to get a view of the bigger picture and how your client's request might fit into the bigger scheme of things going on in their industry. That will open doors to new avenues to investigate. This is where you can really shine and show off your knowledge about an industry.
Now this all sounds really vague but, as I have said before about marketing, it is an art, not a science. It is about knowing your industry, the market and your client to deliver the crown jewels.
Be part James Bond, part Nancy Drew and part Cat Woman. Hey, that's what I strive for!