SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.
This week, we asked: Do you follow your competitors on social media?
- Yes 68.81%
- No 30.28%
- Not sure 0.92%
You might not realize it, but your competitors are doing a tremendous amount of market research on your behalf right now. By studying their social media presences, you can understand their market position, their appeal with customers and even their potential weaknesses. Following them can help you counter-program your own digital marketing content, learn from their mistakes and understand how better to differentiate your brand online. And if you catch your competitor fouling-up a customer service debacle, you can use that opportunity to poach customers for your brand.
Perhaps some of our readers are wary of following competitors so that they don’t appear to be influenced by these other brands. That’s understandable, but it’s also an easy problem to solve. You can use social media monitoring tools to keep track of your competitors without technically following them. You could even create a separate, unbranded account just for the purpose of keeping tabs on other brands in your space.
No matter how you approach the problem, don’t make the mistake of ignoring your competitors’ online efforts. Knowledge is power and your competitors’ social efforts are one of the most potent sources of knowledge available to you. Just be careful — your competitors are probably following you too.