12 Days of Social Media Christmas: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells – Criticising Your Competitors
With the arrival of trolls, LOLs and even Rick rolls, the temptation call somebody out online is stronger than ever. This doesn’t mean you should, especially if they’re one of your competitors.
If both you and your competitors openly advertise your prices, you could consider creating a table, which directly compares your rates against theirs. What you mustn’t do is make false accusations or assume anything about your competitor’s service that you can’t prove with documentation.
However, if you feel you have the edge over your competitors then running a campaign to show this has to be done with caution. Ensure the information you are putting out there is factual and if you decide to compare rates then including a disclaimer, such as ‘rates correct as of 12/12/2016’ would allow for any rate increases.
Imagine you’ve noticed your competitor is having a hard time either with negative press or bad customer reviews. What you absolutely should not do is share, retweet or post about this. Not only is it in bad taste but if the tables were turned you wouldn’t the same to happen to your business.
Negative press in itself will cause enough disruption, so use the opportunity to remind your online audience of what your business offers, your customer service record or anything you feel is a positive. The rest will take care of itself.
Though you should never use negative press against a competitor, it doesn’t stop you keeping an eye on them. You can do this with tools such as Mention, which not only monitors when your business is mentioned but also terms or names of your rivals in the industry. This helps you keep an eye on the campaigns they run or when the press or their customers mention them online.
As well as this, you could follow their social media channels or sign up to their newsletter. This will help you stay in the loop with what they’re sending out to their customers.
Talking to the Press
There might be a situation where one of your competitors or previous business partners has had some quite serious accusations put upon them. This may mean the press are interested in asking you a couple of questions.
It’s important in these situations to keep any response neutral and without opinion or criticism. If you’re unsure how to respond, or if the accusations have the potential to damage your reputation, it might be best to speak with a solicitor or lawyer who can help you put together a response.
When is it OK to Criticise Your Competitors?
The simple answer to this question is never. Though the internet has been with us for over 20 years now, it’s easy to forget that it’s called the World Wide Web for a reason. Any negative comment or action against a competitor online is capable of causing permanent damage to both businesses.
In an increasingly connected world, the key to a successful business should be about building partnerships and relationships, even if this means being on good terms with those you consider competitors.
How do you deal with competitors? Let us know in the comments.