How To Stalk a Company on Social Media (For Their Benefit)

I recently wrote about how we can fight against patent trolls in the marketing space.

As I mentioned in that post, one of the simple proactive ways to combat patent trolls and companies taking the legal route armed with trivial incremental software patents is simply to support their competitors and in particular their targets.

Some alternate titles could be:-

Searchmetrics Employees To Follow On Social Media
How to support the company sued by Brightedge for trivial software patents
How to empower your biggest fans on social media

Follow them & their employees on social media

Enhancing Searchmetrics share of social media voice could be as simple as following their corporate Twitter account and that of their founder Marcus Tober.

However a far better and more powerful message would be to follow as many Searchmetrics employees as you can. They are a bunch of smart people, many have been in online marketing for longer than I have and a great source of knowlege and discovery.

But that normally would be a lot of work… so I did the work for you.

However the methodology I used could be of value to some, so I thought I would document it as it is a good example of techniques you can use for all kinds of outreach.


Twitter Search

The first step was to check Twitter search which pulled up a few people but nowhere close to as many as I expected.

Searchmetrics search twitter

Twitter search is broken. It didn’t even find founder Marcus Tober who very clearly has a URL to Searchmetrics in his Twitter bio.

Marcus Tober Searchmetrics CEO Twitter

Twitter search seems to match


It even seems to do some kind of singular/plural matching as a search for searchmetrics will pull up Toronto agency Searchmetric as well.

It will also match the twitter account ID.

But it won’t match it as part of a URL in the bio.

If you want to appear on Twitter search for your own company name, you need to include the company name, not just the URL

This is going to take a little more work…


So we go to LinkedIN to the main Searchmetrics company page, which conveniently has a link to search all employees. You will notice I have no 1st tier connections to Searchmetrics on LinkedIN because I am a LinkedIN slacker and most of my connections were from a little “growth hack” I did back in 2007.


2nd Degree connections will give me access to the full profile, 3rd degree won’t, and won’t give me the full name of the person.


So we need some help from Google & first click free

If you try this logged out of LinkedIN, you certainly get some data from LinkedIN but not links and other contact information.


In this situation we also discover that Andreas is a former employee. LinkedIN can be a bit like a hydra with many heads, possibly due to losing access with company email address or just oversight.

If you access a profile directly from Google, and they are 3rd tier or lower connections, LinkedIN blocks access and probably should wave their naughty finger at LinkedIN and deindex any profile that is different for logged in vs logged out users. It is a bad search experience.


However LinkedIN has tons of “search results pages” also indexed, highlighted with green arrows below.

LinkedIN First Click Free

Clicking most variations of the green links results in a search results page from which most of the time, when logged in to LinkedIN will result in a full profile page. It also has a side benefit of highlighting “hydras” much of the time.


If you know the full name of someone, then you can normally just use the LinkedIN search directly, and if necessary add a company name. I have had poor success with various bookmarklet solutions. The Google option I found was quicker as I didn’t need the full names.

Sometimes, after all that effort you still don’t get a Twitter account for an employee, or a partial name + company/location isn’t bringing up a search result for LinkedIN that is contains your target profile, so you may have to try other networks.


Xing proved to be a good source of full names for Searchmetrics employees, no doubt partially because a large percentage of their staff work in the Berlin office.

It was also a good source for links to a few person websites that weren’t listed on LinkedIN profiles, and personal websites often have links to Twitter and Google+ profiles.


With GPlusData company search I initially thought I had hit gold. Lets call it just silver. Within their Google+ profile data were former employees, and the odd consultant who uses Searchmetrics.


Ultimately for many of the people on these lists I had to dig deep into Google searching on names, location etc. In the process I have seen tons of personal sites from as far back as 15 years, research papers, and quite a few test sites and personal projects.

Build A Huge Cross Reference List

If I was trying to build a comprehensive list, I would probably add all the names to a spreadsheet so that I would capture all the employees who only appear in a single location. I haven’t done that in this case – call that me being lazy. There certainly seem to be a number of people who were only found on Xing or LinkedIN, but not both.

Searchmetrics Employees on Twitter

I created a Twitter list of Searchmetrics employees which finished up at 40 members which I thought was a nice round number. I recommend following as many individual people as you can rather than using lists you likely won’t look at again.

Searchmetrics Employees on Google+

I created a circle of Searchmetrics employees on Google+, but I haven’t found a good way to embed or link to it directly for I have shared it to a post on G+.


Don’t Make Fans Work For It

It took significant effort to compile these lists… why? There was a lack of links from corporate profiles so I really had to do some digging to find half of the Searchmetrics employees.

In many ways companies should also maintain their own lists (with an assigned task to keep it updated) as that then enables their biggest fans to promote them more effectively. Is there a corporate solution for managing social profiles based on internal systems?

Also if you are tweeting links that might relate to work, I feel its part of adequate disclosure to mention something.

There was a problem connecting to Twitter.

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  1. Greg says

    I like your methodology and have done similar, thanks for sharing. A couple of thoughts:

    – Facebooks graph search function “People who work at Searchmetrics” pulls up a list of 30+ people.
    – 3rd Level connections on Linked In that only give the First Name and Last Name Initial… if you search on Google for that combination, along with the business name, you’ll usually find that persons full name. With that, you can find what Social channels they are active on pretty quickly.


    • says

      I did look at Facebook but decided not to delve into it too deeply. Part of the reason was that even if I found lots of people on Facebook, I didn’t know of a way to easily share the results.
      Xing came to my attention mainly because it was so dominant in search results in Germany

      I skimped a little on the Google section of the article but I did say I “didn’t need full names” – I did sometimes have to get creative with the search terms with location etc

      Glad you liked the article and thanks for joining the conversation