As a social media business owner, your instinct may be to avoid any form of contact with your competitors particularly if you're all competing for one goal, consuming the attention of users. But, following your competitor can give you valuable insight into your industry and gather inspiration for new marketing tactics.
Cutting to the chase here are 3 reasons why you need to be following your competitors on social media.
LEARN WHAT YOU'RE UP AGAINST
Unless you have a really, really niche market then it is advised (well, I'll say crucial) that you research your competitor brands before diving in the deep end. Initially, you can enter their social presence without needing to follow to get the gist of style and content, but following their page lets you observe their day to day marketing strategy (if they have one). Sit back, monitor and take notes on their daily activity. Keep an eye out for content detail, organisation and structure.
Over time, you'll be exposed to a variety of competitor content and you'll start to see a pattern on language style and image colour/branding. Take these ideas and make them your own, implement them into your brand page so every post resonates your brand's story & mission. Obviously, don't directly steal your competitor's idea, that's not cool and quite frankly is just lazy content design. Stick with your colour branding style and never let your consistency slip!
STAY UP TO DATE WITH INDUSTRY NEWS
Do you remember that kid in school who came in one day with the trendiest gadget you ever saw? Or maybe you were that cool kid? (I still have my shiny Pokemon card collection). Either way, the idea of owning a new gadget or product absorbs everyone's attention, everyone is looking at you for information and demonstrations. It's the same principle with social media, but it's a race against time. You need to be the first one to release the product online in order to gain full mass attention. Following a competitor allows you to track their progress as well as yours. If a competitor has just released the first image of the new Iphone, then you release a video. But ideally, you want to be the first kid on the block.
Something to take note of while you're in detective mode, don't be tempted to engage with your competitors brand, not unless they have directly mentioned you. You don't want to give them free brand awareness, by instinctively liking a comment.
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