I am a fan of competitor benchmarking, whether its using very simple metrics like follower numbers, qualitative metrics such as how good a companies customer service is or more complex metrics such as number of links to a site and location they are from. Either way metrics are pretty cool things for the world of SEO and Marketing in general. Having been in SEO for a good few years and listening to a number of podcasts about the subject, being well read etc etc. I was surprised today when I listened to the Digital Marketing Podcast from Target Internet to find they hadn't realised or seen a feature of Bit.ly (a link shortening service) which allows you to see your's and your competitors analytics for links created using the bit.ly system. A feature I came across a few years ago with bit.ly and wished was in other systems.
In essence with the addition to a url from bit.ly of the + (plus) sign gets you the analytics for that short link. The metrics are fairly simple like the number of visitors on a given day, the method of entry / click and the users location... so not the most amazing stats but for businesses using social media it can be a gold mine to "spy on your competition".
It works with any bit.ly link and you don't have to be logged in, so it's a pretty cool little trick to let you discover your competitors social media analytics.
Give it a try and let us know what you think.
The Digital Marketing podcast I'd advise everyone to listen to, they don't seem to update it often these days but go through their archives, they are worth the effort - hence they are listed in my SEO resources page.