Should you Follow your Competitors on Social?

No matter how revolutionary a product or service you may develop, it would have competitors soon, beginning with just one and multiplying to many. The digital world gives the brands an unconstrained opportunity to expand beyond boundaries. So regardless of your niche, the competition is bound to be fierce.

In such an aggressively competitive business environment, should you follow your competitors on social and why?

Well, everyone wants to be the sole player in their industry, and contrary to the popular belief, competition isn’t always a bad thing. It is always preferable to focus on developing your own content instead of getting caught in a toxic competitive behavior, but it is equally important for you to know what works well for your competitors, how their fan base responds to new marketing initiatives.

In case you find following your competitors not convincing enough, we have put together a list of reasons as to why, and what to look out for while following them.


You will find what works

You and your competitors are competing for the same audience. When successfully marketing a product generally takes a lot of trials, following your competitors on social gives you an insight into what has worked best for them.  You can learn a lot of things just by observing their online presence and reception of their communication with the target audience.

Let us suppose you manufacturer camera lenses and to subtly place your product in front of your target audience, you run a YouTube channel that gives tips on cinematography, lighting set up, and professional editing. You have a decent user base but your competitors may be quickly gaining in terms of subscribers, views, likes, etc. Maybe one of them is offering a free portfolio building course, while the other has tied up with a famous influencer who is driving huge traffic to their channel. The execution of both brands may be better equipped for shaping a favorable public opinion that can be easily converted into sales. But how do you know if you are not following them?

In an aggressively competitive environment, where you cannot afford to lose a chunk of the consumer base, not following competitors on social is akin to gifting a chunk of user base without contesting.


And what doesn’t works

As important it is to know what trends, it is equally essential to know what doesn’t work. A new marketing initiative generally demands a lot of time and money investment, ample abundance of both are paramount to the stability of a new business and efficiency of established brands. But never the success of a new media, advertisement, collateral, or any other marketing exercise is fully guaranteed until someone tests to determine. 

Constantly following your competitors on social can keep you aware of what has not worked for them, thus saving you enough time and money. Not only this, but you also get to know how they failed, giving you a chance to improvise and acquire the audience they had failed to.


Getting Ideas & Inspiration

Many people are unaware of how tough it is to maintain the creative flow. Once in a while, every creative person hits a dead end and this block is so brutal that the more he tries to, the more it weights down.

Sometimes it is just okay to take a little inspiration from competitors, to move beyond the blockade. But this inspiration should be as small as just pointing to a direction, you obviously do not want to copy anything, ever.  


What to watch out for while following competitors Social?

Content: “Content is the king”, you will hear every marketer stressing on the importance of quality content and why shouldn’t they? It is the content that gets sold first, the product or service quality mostly generates only repeat orders or referred sales. So it is immensely important to carefully observe the content your competitors are producing to determine where you fit on the quality benchmark. This may help you to identify the tone and define the style that engages the target audience the most.   


Audience Behavior

Audience behavior is the way an audience responds to content marketing.  It is very basic to defining the growth trajectory. All the marketing initiatives would be designed around a few distinct personas.

Studying competitor’s audience behavior and comparing it with your own may provide an efficient opportunity to develop better personas that may bring down the marketing expenditure without affecting the sales. This may be a necessary boost to better sustainability of a brand.


Which platform brings more value?

Every platform responds to a product/service differently. A business to business company may find LinkedIn more profitable, while a company operating on business to customer model may find Facebook and Instagram more beneficial.

But all these are just hypotheses or assumptions based on the earlier responses received by marketers. In an aggressively competitive business environment where every brand needs a distinctive voice of its own and a unique story to build public opinion, hypothesis and propositions cannot be verified until tested. And further, how do you really decide if a carousel has a better return on investment than a video advertisement, just by considering the negligible cost involved in making a carousel as compared to the video ad?  

A rundown of your competitor’s social handles will give you a better idea as to what has worked for them. While you are on it, do check the Facebook ads section too. You may reach there by clicking on page transparency. There is no better way of determining the quality of an advertisement than by repeatedly checking if it is still in use. 


Regularly following your competitors may save yours from committing mistakes that they have already made and give you a comprehensive Idea about what bringing them more traffic and sales. If you don’t then you may never exactly know where your content and media fits on the quality benchmark.