Stealing Competitors Customers On Social Media

David Swift
10 min readNov 22, 2022

Attracting new customers via your competitors’ social media pages may sound sneaky… but it’s a strategic marketing strategy. Effective “stealing” requires clever strategy, lots of planning and the best execution possible.

Let’s take a look at how to poach your competitor’s customers on social media, and keep your customers loyal by simply being better than them.

First things first, figure out who your competitors are. You might say: “ we already know who our competitors are! Duh! “ However, what we mean is to get to know who your competitors are on social media.

For example, if you’re a gym business owner, your competitors will obviously include the big brand name gyms but also the smaller, local gyms in your city or region. Depending on your gym’s offering, your competitors may even include specialised gyms and studios, personal training gyms, your local yoga and Pilates studios and maybe even a fitness influencer with over 200,000 followers on Instagram.

Make a list of all your competitors and look up their social media presence as well. If a competitor isn’t on social media or has too small a presence to care about, remove them from the list. You want to only include the businesses that are active enough on social to truly be your competitors.

In addition to your direct competitors, you may also like to keep an eye out for the social media accounts that you could be competing with. For example, a particularly successful Instagram account may be posting content that is very relevant to your industry and have a large audience. While they’re not competing with you for sales, they are competing with you for the same audience’s attention on social media.

To do this, make a list of the most important and relevant keywords or hashtags in your industry. Monitor these keywords on platforms like Instagram or TikTok to see which accounts are using the tags to share content.

Identifying the influential accounts, you may be competing with could take some time. It could also take some trial and error. Stick with it because you may have a lot to learn, and could potentially attract new customers by paying attention!

Just remember: don’t rush through this process. Take the time to dive deep into comprehensive competitor research. After all, before you can steal competitors’ customers on social media, you need to know who your competitors are!

Once you know who your competitors are, it’s time to dive into the actual strategy. Yes, stealing can be strategic too. No, it doesn’t have to be sleazy.

First things first, it’s time to analyze the competitor pages you are up against. Ask yourself some questions about the pages you’ve listed as your competition.

  • How many followers do they have? You can break this down by platform if you’re competing with them on multiple social channels.
  • How often do they post?
  • What is their target demographic? Does it vary on each platform?
  • Which social networks are they doing particularly well on?
  • Are they using LinkedIn (or any other social platform) better than you currently are? What are they doing better?
  • Do they respond to comments?
  • + anything else that seems relevant or important to you.

Answering these questions will often help you identify gaps-in theirs and your own social media marketing efforts. This will then help you identify what you can learn, where you can improve and what you can do better to attract more of your competitors’ social media followers over to your side.

2. Get to know their loyal customers

Popular social media pages often come with a band of loyal customers. Pay attention to the loyal fans and customers that regularly engage with your competition’s social media content.

  • Identify who is commenting on your competitor’s content. Take note of the type of content they seem to comment on most often.
  • Similarly, pay attention to who is sharing competitor content. What type of content are they most inclined to share?
  • Are these customers using branded hashtags your competitors have created? What do you think prompts them to use these tags and more.

You can learn a lot from this loyal fanbase. As you derive your own insights from your research, you may even like to interview a few of these loyal customers. You could reach out to them on the social channels they’re most active on and ask them what they like or dislike about your competitor and/or their social media presence. Better yet, offer them a discount or a freebie to make them more interested.

Loyal customers can teach you a lot about what to do (and not to do) on social media. These learnings will help you attract a similarly loyal following-possibly comprised of some of the same people.

3. Engage with their customer base

A good way to poach customers from the competition? Use the customer information you’ve gathered above and start engaging with the competitor’s customer base. You don’t have to be creepy about it, but you can certainly use it to your advantage.

As we’ve already discussed, you can start out by running basic interviews and Q&As with these customers. But it doesn’t have to end there!

You can start infiltrating your competitor’s communities to engage with their audience. Definitely don’t promote your products or services. Instead, be helpful, share your knowledge and make yourself known. Sooner or later, their community members will begin to notice you and start to follow you as well.

Another way to swoop in and scoop up clients from your competitors is by paying attention to disgruntled customers. This is often easiest on Twitter as you can easily search for tweets where people are complaining about a brand. Customers will often complain about a poor experience or bad service on Twitter. This could be our chance to dive in and offer to help with something and convert them into a customer by offering them a better experience with you. A discount sometimes helps too!

On Instagram, you can also lurk on competitor-branded hashtags and poach new followers that way. For example, you can identify the most loyal customers who use these hashtags and follow them or engage with them, so they follow you back. Additionally, you could also make clever use of the branded hashtags by sharing your content or riffing off it to create something that will catch their customers’ eyes.

There are many ways to engage with customers on social media. Be bold and try to find different ways to engage with competitor’s social media followers to attract new customers to your own business.

4. Learn from their content marketing

Social media success is all about making the best possible content. Even if you think you already create some pretty fire content, there’s no harm checking out what your competition is up to.

Check out the types of content they post, and analyze which types seem to get the most attention and engagement from their own audience. This might give you a clue for your own content.

When spying on their content marketing, also pay attention to their brand voice. While each brand will have its own unique voice, if you notice the way a particular competitor speaks with its audience really resonates with them, you may want to steal the same strategy for yourself too.

Whether it’s more Reels on Instagram or more how-to videos on YouTube, take copious notes on everything your competition is doing well. It may serve you well.

5. Target your competitor’s customers with ads

Social media advertising and Adwords (i.e. Google Ads) can also be a powerful way to start attracting more of your competitor’s customers your way.

First things first, get a good idea of your competitors’ ads on the platforms that work for you as well. Pay attention to their ad designs, color schemes and whether they use more video or photos or graphics. Make note of their differences in advertising on Facebook ads vs Instagram ads or any other platform. List the keywords they may be using for their ads.

Use this data to inform your own campaigns. Depending on the platform, you may be able to directly target your competitors branded keywords, social channels, create similar audiences for ads and more. The right data can be really helpful for poaching competition clients via social media ads.

6. Offer a USP to potential customers

Do your customers have a problem that your competitors haven’t quite solved yet? You could solve it for them! This could be a unique product offering. Or, on social media, this could simply mean offering more useful, helpful content than your competitor is currently sharing with your target audience.

In fact, this is often why smaller influencers are able to engage their audiences better on social media than big brands. They offer authenticity and helpfulness that big brands often lack. This is their unique selling point (USP) and customers prefer it.

Your job is to identify such a gap and fill it with a USP before your customer becomes aware of it, and you could create your own brand of loyal social media followers.

Steal customers by being better than your competitors

Overall, the best marketing strategy for stealing your competitors’ clients is actually the most obvious of them all: simply be better than them.

Offer better products than your competitors’ products, better service than them, and make your social media more interesting, engaging and useful than theirs.

Your competitive analysis will throw up a lot of information and data about what your competitors are upto

Consistency and frequency are a big part of the social media marketing success formula. If your competitors are only posting once a day on Instagram or once a week on LinkedIn, you can definitely do better than that!

Remember, if you don’t post often enough, your content is less likely to appear in your audience’s feeds. This sends the social platform algorithms all sorts of wrong signals about their level of interest or engagement with your content. Instagram, for example, thrives on consistency. It sends Instagram the right signals about engagement and interest and helps you build a meaningful relationship with your audience.

Ultimately, that is what social media is all about- building relationships with your clients and customers. And if you’re sharing more often than your competitors, you’re likely to build way better relationships than your competitors.

2. Create unique content

As we mentioned earlier, the quality of your content can make or break your social media presence. Enhance your brand awareness and outdo the competition by creating better, more unique content than your competitors.

It’s okay to look to them for inspiration but sometimes it may be better to look outside of your own industry and niche. Steal some ideas from “outside” to create content that your competitors simply aren’t doing yet.

It doesn’t even need to be complex.

  • If all they share is promotional videos, it may be an opportunity for you to do more tutorials and provide more value to your customer base.
  • If their focus is only on Instagram, but your audience seems to love YouTube as well, focus your time on creating YouTube videos and poach clients on an entirely new platform.
  • Curate more user-generated content to build relationships and invite more engagement from your social media followers.
  • Make use of influencer marketing to mix up your content instead of the same-old same-old.

Change things up and refresh your content to catch your audience’s waning attention. Social media is all about keeping this evolving. You want to look for new ways to keep your current and potential followers engaged.

3. Post during your competitor’s downtime

Many brands have a very regular social media posting schedule. Pay attention to when your competitor usually shares content. This will require some careful attention over a week or two (sometimes more!)

Now compare this to your own data. From your Instagram insights, you may already know when your audience is scrolling and using the platform (a.k.a. when your potential customers are most active!)

Compare the two and see if you can find some gaps for thebest time to post. Meaning, figure out when your competitor’s downtime is on social media and slot your own content into that gap. By sharing content when your specific social media audience is online (but your competitor isn’t!), you can ensure you’re driving high engagement from every single video, image and story you publish.

Having friendly customer agents to help out your customers is great, but it isn’t enough anymore. You have to provide exceptional customer experience throughout their entire journey with you — and that includes social media interactions, automatic emails, recommendations and much more.

In fact, more and more consumers are expecting a personalised and unique journey with companies. Research conducted by Salesforce has found that customers are willing to provide more data in exchange for personalised marketing, with 58% of respondents saying that a personalized experience is very important when purchasing from a company.

In addition, 52% of consumers are somewhat likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t provide enough personalisation, and 57% are willing to share personal data in exchange for personalised offers and discounts.

Providing a personalised service just makes business sense. If customers are getting reading suggestions and product recommendations that speak to their interests, they’re more likely to consume it. If they’re happy with the service they get and the communications they receive from you, they’re more likely to stick with you over your competitors.

It stands to reason that personalising your services and offering a customized experience will boost your sales and conversions, and the figures support it: consumers prefer buying from a brand that knows their name and purchase history, and an analysis by Forbes shows that marketers that deliver personalised web experiences are getting double-digit returns in marketing performance and response.

Of course personalisation is great, but the content that follows that initial promise of something ‘for me’ must be rich and again relevant. Otherwise your impression CTR will only then lead to disappointing dwell times or conversion rates.

Until the introduction of PPS ( predictive personalisation software) to email marketing, which obliterated previous stats and therefore perception of what could be achieved. McKinsey, Forrester and Statista confirming in excess of a 20-fold increase in sales by adopting PPS.

Solutions like SwiftERM use every facet of data collected through your ecommerce platform, including UTMs, that retrieve the information for you. It then analyses it to identify what each individual unique consumer is most likely to buy next and when. When doing your calculations take into account that PPS is 100% automatic, so deduct all staff overheads.

Originally published at https://swifterm.com on November 22, 2022.

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David Swift

SwiftERM hyper-personalisation SaaS for ecommerce email marketing.