It’s fair to say that you should be following your competitors on Twitter. If you are not using one of the many social media tools that allows you to track your competitors then you’re doing something wrong. It’s also fair to say that it’s REALLY tempting to try and jump in on the conversations they are having with their customers.
Here’s the classic example:
Twitter user complains of their website being down:
Fictitious Twitter Troll jumps right into the conversation:
It’s the perfect scenario for Mary Marketer Twitter Troll: someone identifies a problem and complains about poor service, and she has the solution.
#Winning… nope, #Wrong, here’s why:
- Amateur Hour – consumers expect marketers to be more creative than this. It is a “me too!” approach and looks desperate. When your brand looks desperate, it loses value.
- Winning business isn’t about participating in the conversation, it’s about starting, directing, and being the conversation. Simply entering into the conversation will certainly get you some business, but you’ll never win the big picture.
- Anybody can do it – something that anybody can do easily will always have limited value.
- Not your best voice – the best voice that your business can have is the voice of your customer. When you speak for yourself, and boast about yourself to your competitors’ customers, you are not speaking to them with your best voice (the voice of your customer).
If you are a Twitter Troll, here are a few ideas to get you thinking differently:
- First, you need to resist the urge to jump into your competitors conversations on Twitter for all of the reasons listed above.
- Get your customers to jump into the conversation. If it’s a big customer you are trying to win, find a customer or two who is willing to speak up on your behalf. They will do a much better job recommending your company than you can.
- Start leading the conversation. Use your fancy social media trolling software to gain insight into important topics that you should be talking about. Write intelligently about this stuff on your blog and start leading the conversation in your industry.
- Observe and understand from both positive and negative tweets about your competitors what it is that people like or hate about them. Take a “competitive intelligence” approach to twitter vs. a salesy approach to twitter.
Finally, and most importantly:
Stop obsessing over your competitors on Twitter. Yes, it’s useful, but it’s also very noisy. If you are obsessing over your competition, you’re not obsessing enough over your own business and your own customers. And, chances are, you have already lost.