As a small business owner, building a strong social media presence is important.

Not only does it help you to reach more customers and drive traffic back to your website, but it can boost brand awareness and ultimately lead to an increase in sales.

But with the pressures of running a business, managing staff and dealing with customers, the chances are that social media is at the bottom of your list of priorities.

Maybe you’ve seen a competitor do exceptionally well on social and think “why even bother trying to compete?!”

Though no small business wants its competitors to outperform them in terms of marketing, having a socially-savvy business that you can look to for inspiration can help you out.

Below, we’ve put together some of the reasons why you should look to your competitors if you want to climb higher and achieve more on social media.


Get inspiration for post ideas

Let’s start with the obvious one. If you’ve got a competitor who’s doing well on social media, you can take inspiration from their posts to improve your own digital marketing strategy.

Of course, we’re not saying that you should copy their posts or reshare their content.

That could A) damage your company’s reputation and B) get you into serious trouble if you reshare copyrighted material.

However, by looking back through their top-performing posts, you’ll get some food for thought on future content ideas, which is particularly handy if you’re feeling uninspired.

Another way to take inspiration from a competitor’s social posts is to repurpose their content for a different medium.

If a rival brand creates a Facebook video about dog grooming during the coronavirus lockdown and you wanted something similar for your website, you could turn the main points into an infographic or a blog post that you can create for your own website. That blog post can then be shared on social.

Be strategic and think about ways you can add further value to content other people have already shared.

You want to be better than your competitor, not *almost as good as* them.

Save tweet ideas to your bookmarks – they’re private and your competitor won’t know you’ve done it.


See what isn’t working so well

Looking at your competitors’ social media channels is also a good way to see what they’re not doing so well.

It’s easy to be too close to your brand and ignorant to potential issues, but when you’re critically reviewing a competitors’, you’re more likely to spot marketing faux pas.

Perhaps they’re too promotional, their spelling and grammar need some tweaking or their graphic design skills leave a lot to be desired?

Create a list of things your five nearest competitors are doing well – or not so well – and see what you can learn from the exercise.

To really get a feel for their social strategy, you should look at follower numbers, comments on their posts (look out for negative comments or moaning), and the frequency of their posts.

Ideally, small businesses should be posting every weekday to maintain brand awareness and increase engagement.

If your competitor is sporadic, you can outmanoeuvre them by being omnipresent on Twitter and Facebook using scheduling tools like Buffer or HootSuite.

Scheduling content in advance makes sense.


Piggyback off their followers

One sneaky strategy to consider is to piggyback off your competitors’ followers.

On Twitter and Instagram, it’s possible to use tools that will automatically follow people who follow your competitors.

The idea is that, once they see that you’ve followed them, they’ll check out your profile, give you a follow, visit your website and then stick around for the ride.

It’s important to note that this strategy can be risky; Twitter and Instagram have strict rules about bulk following and using third-party tools that could compromise the security of your account.

Because of this, you should follow people slowly and do it manually where you can.

Over time, this technique can help you to boost your follower count and win customers from your competitors. Be subtle and follow from different accounts so they don’t get suspicious.

Chrome extensions can be useful but you should use them with caution.


Motivate you to achieve more

Once you close the lid of your laptop and put your feet up for the night, the last thing you want to do is start scheduling in posts for your company’s social media pages. We get it!

However, regularly checking in with your competitors on social media can keep you on your toes and stop you from putting off work on your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.

Book time in your schedule every week to create content for your social channels, and when you feel like you can’t be bothered or you’re too busy, check in with your competitors.

If your company is silent whilst rival companies engaging with their audience and building their brand, you’re missing out on new followers and new customers. Make it a priority!

Following competitors can help you stay motivated.


And if you simply can’t find the time for social media or don’t know where to start, reach out to 99social, the affordable social media management company. From just £99 per month, we can help you transform your social media presence, leaving your competitors quaking!

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