What should I do if my competitors are following me?

The other day I was in a social media lunch and a guy asked, “I have competitors following me on Twitter, what do I do?” I didn’t answer the question because it was handled just fine by my colleagues who were there, but here’s how I would have liked to have answered – by sharing a personal experience. When I was new to twitter I started putting links to my free QuickBooks tutorials out there. This is a GREAT practice on Twitter because you are not selling anything; you are offering something of value which also demonstrates your expertise. When I first started using Twitter for my business I wanted to see what the other QuickBooks Pros were doing. I had no intention of stealing anything from them, I have plenty of my own ideas and content but I was more interested in learning how they were putting it out there. Was there a weakness in what they were doing that I could exploit? I started seeing who the “players” were and fortunately I had the guidance and the good sense not to alienate any of these people. I was told to find ways to be helpful.

On twitter you want to promote your competition

So I started re-tweeting some of their content. Seems counter intuitive doesn’t it? I remember something I read in The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. I read that there is plenty to go around. When I think this way.. in terms of abundance then it becomes clear that I have nothing to worry about. What eventually happened blew me away. One of the other QuickBooks Pro’s who is using Twitter for his business is a guy I have gotten to know named Scott Gregory – @qbguy on Twitter. I saw a post he sent to a another bookkeeper on Twitter about the fact that he might have referrals for her. So I took the opportunity to reach out to him and explain that I had bookkeepers on staff in case he ever needed a reliable resource to lean on for any projects. Now I don’t know if he was watching me or if this is what got his attention, but either way the next thing I knew Scott referred me what turned out to be a significant amount of Excel work. If I had snubbed him as my competitor I never would have gotten this business directly as a result of my efforts on Twitter.

Even though someone is your competitor they may get overloaded with work or otherwise notice that you have a specific area where you can help their clients that they either can’t or don’t want to work in. So set aside everything you think you know about “competition” and what that means. Your competitors are your allies on Twitter.

Get on the Twitter bus! Go out there, meet your competitors and share ideas. You can help each other. Scott and I have had many conversations over e-mail asking about what is working and what isn’t! Please visit Scott’s blog at http://blog.betterbottomline.com/. Tell him I sent you. He is a GREAT guy!

Make sure you get the most out of your social media efforts by tracking your Social ROI. See my Events page for my next Social ROI webinar and as my free gift to say thank you for taking the time make sure you download my twitter guide at the bottom of the page.