This morning I received an email from one of our Brand Partners asking how she should deal with direct competitors that are following her company on Twitter.
"Do we block direct competitors from following us or is this just what happens in social media?"
My answer: You can block competitors on Twitter but that doesn't really make a difference. When you block an unwanted follower, the user no longer has the ability to:
- Follow you
- See your profile picture on their page or in their timeline
- Have their @replies mentions show in your mentions tab
- Add your Twitter account to one of their lists
Why Blocking Competitors on Twitter Doesn't Matter
Blocking a competitor doesn't stop them from gathering competitive intelligence through other means such as following your account under a different alias. In addition, your competitor can still monitor your Twitter profile without actually following your account by leveraging social media monitoring platforms such as Radian6 and Sysomos. They can gather information about which Twitter influencers engage with you the most, analyze which topics are trending with your consumers, and track down your disgruntled customers to swoop in for a chance to be a hero.
Often Imitated, Never Duplicated: Outflanking Your Competitors
Chances are, if your competition is following you on Twitter, they're most likely trying to figure out how you're engaging with your customers. "So, how do I beat my competitors?" you ask. When it comes to engagement, I have a few suggestions. Offer the best customer service. Listen to the needs of your consumers and offer solutions. Be someone they can rely on. Establish your company as an authority in your industry or niche. Focus on establishing your company as the go-to resource for your target audience. That means creating your own branded content that resonates with your followers. It'll be much harder for a competitor that's used to copying your Tweets word for word if you're publishing and sharing your own content. If you can execute these two principles, then you really don't have to worry about which competitor is following you on Twitter. Image Source: Emory Allen