What should you do when your competitors are upstaging you on social media?

If you’re an old hand at social media marketing, you’ll already know that the keys to success are capturing the attention of your audience and building a reputation as a thought leader in your niche sector. If you can tick both of these boxes, then success usually follows. But what happens when some upstart comes along and starts to do it better than you? What do you have to do to remain competitive and regain pre-eminence in your chosen field?

This is a problem that has faced many businesses over the last couple of years, particularly those working in highly competitive fields like the tech industry where new start-ups are springing up daily and poaching a share of the market. However, whilst this may be a relatively new sort of problem in the online world, the solutions to these problems are definitely more old-school. If you want to fight back and get the upper hand on your competitors, then follow these simple strategies and before long you’ll be back where you deserve.

Work out where the problems are

If your competitors are beating you to the punch on social media, then there are several things you need to look at: content value, engagement, and sharability.

Content value

Is your competitor’s content better than yours? Is it more informative, better written, more detailed or more informative? If it is then you need to address this issue.


If your competitors are engaging better with the audience, then it is far more likely that followers will want to engage with them. You’ll need to do more than provide followers with information: you’ll need to make them feel more of a part of a community if they are to engage with you. So reach out to them, respond to them and reward them for following your brand.


If your competitors are reaching new audiences that you are failing to, it’s probably because your content is not as sharable. So you’ll need to address that issue.

3 strategies for regaining social media traction

Once you’ve identified where the problem/problems lie, then you can use a number of strategies to rectify the situation.

Match force with force and try harder

If your competitors are working harder than you, then the only way you’ll match and beat them is if you up your work rate and compete with them. If they’re using content that is visibly more attractive and drawing new followers using embedded images, then up the ante and use embedded videos.  The only thing you would want to avoid is looking like you’re copying the competition, so apply this strategy sparingly.

Dare to be different

Sometimes you simply have to accept that you can’t beat competitors at their own game. They’re probably more experienced at it than you and have more resources. So if that’s the case, try and do things differently.  Differentiate your content from your competitors and put your own individual stamp on it. This naturally will demand more time and resources, but if it gives you access to a new swathe of followers then it will be worth it. Look at your demographics and see which one your competitor is targeting. Then choose another demographic and focus your marketing efforts on that one. If you want to stick with your main demographic, then try using a different type of content, whether that’s online interviews or webinars. Don’t be afraid to target different platforms either. If your competitors are targeting Twitter, try your hand at Instagram of Facebook to get your message heard.

If you can’t beat them ….

It may well be that you will never outmanoeuvre your competitor. They probably have more sway in the sector and can target more resources than you can at the problem. So rather than trying to compete, think about using their influence to help you gain traction. If they have built a reputation as an influencer, consider joining forces with them and collaborating on content. Engage with them in conversation and try to engage their followers too. This strategy, in fairness, won’t be suitable for all business in all sectors, but in some instances it can help to provide some sort of solution.

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