Frenemies: dealing with competitors online20.12.2016
With an online world defined by ‘friends’, ‘followers’, and ‘likes’, it’s often hard to know if your support comes from a friend or a foe. Every business has to face the daunting task of dealing with competitors, and though they will never go away, they don’t have to be scary. Here are our Top 5 Tips you can use to help deal with your competition online:
1) Stay true to yourself
Don’t be a copycat. Focus on your own creative talents and stay true to them. Your competitors may have a bigger team and larger budget than you, but they aren’t you, so use your past experiences and skill-set to provide a unique and valuable service or product. Stay unique and true to your brand, and that way you won’t tread on anyone’s toes. Promote your skills and past accomplishments on your social networking channels, and don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet – just remember to blow a few other trumpets too…
2) Don’t underestimate your competitors
It’s often daunting to find out how many other companies out there are doing what you do. A quick Google search is enough to give any small business nightmares. Competitors are always different, but they all want to do better than you. Don’t be afraid of your competitors, but don’t underestimate what they will do to stay on top. Stay alert and do your research – don’t let the Facebook search bar go unused.
3) Stay professional
Sometimes competitors can get dirty, stealing clients or interfering with your business on a regular basis. They might even try and ruin your presence online, trolling your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Don’t retaliate – stay professional and calm. Delete content you think is inappropriate and respond in a professional and polite manner. Soon enough their customers will realise who they would rather take their business to.
4) Observe and learn
It’s helpful to keep a regular eye on your competitor’s strategy, marketing and branding online. Don’t spend your time analysing their company more than yours, but understand their strengths and weaknesses through observation. You can learn a lot about your own company by observing others, perhaps being reassured that your strategy is great, or learning that you really do need to have a re-brand. Ask yourself questions your clients might wonder. Do you charge too much? Do your clients understand all the services you offer? Has your competitor got better recommendations?
5) Sharing isn’t always caring
But, sometimes it is. On Twitter, if you see a great blog article that relates to your business and offers advice that could help your clients, there is absolutely no harm in re-tweeting it. Sharing content can increase your following, as it demonstrates that you are not afraid to share content, and that your followers’ content matters to you. It also shows that your main priority is providing support to your customers. However, don’t over-do it and share so much amazing content by your biggest competitor that they decide to take their business to them – sharing is all about balance.
Competitors may be a pain but they also make business exciting – don’t you want to beat them? Stay true to your brand and ultimately, if you focus on your own strengths and unique skill set, you can create a product or service that is just what the customer needs and wants.