There can be so much pressure to engage with people offering the same professional services that you do online – especially when you’re starting out. I’m here to tell you that “community over competition” is BS. Don’t listen to it. That doesn’t mean you can’t be polite and friendly with other people doing what you do, but at the end of the day, they’re not your clients and they’re never going to be your clients. You only have a finite amount of time and energy to spend professionally, so why waste it on your competition? Taking a step back will be better for you in more ways than one. It can feel counterintuitive so here are my six tips for navigating online communities and social media and an explanation of why each one is the right thing to do.
I reached out for questions on this topic, so I also answer a few of those on this episode. I explain how avoiding consuming the work of your competitors will make you feel healthier in the long run and how it’ll lead to you doing better work and I also lay out how you can still be friends with your competition just because you’re not necessarily seeing their Instagram posts any more!
In this episode, you’ll hear…
- 03:16 – Engaging with your competition online
- 09:45 – The pitfalls of being a follower
- 14:43 – Dealing with analysis paralysis
- 17:46 – Standing out from the competition
- 21:50 – Outsourcing market research
- 24:16 – Connecting with your ideal clients
- 25:44 – What to do when your competition buys your product
- 29:34 – Answering your questions
Know the Differences Between Networking & Marketing
You can network with your peers and get to know them without spending all of your valuable time doing that. But keep in mind that this is not marketing. Your peers are not your clients, and they never will be.
Making the Case for Not Following Your Competitors
Following what your competition is doing online is a recipe for disaster. You’re only going to see a biased perspective of how well they’re doing because the information is coming from them and we’re wired, as people, to compare ourselves negatively when we see how well others are doing.
Beyond that, when you know what other people are doing, your unique, fresh ideas go out of the window. Suddenly, you’re unable to act because you’re only able to react based on what everyone else has done already. Avoid business-crippling analysis paralysis at all costs.
How to Spend Your Time on Social Media
So, maybe it’s not the best use of time to be networking with your competition. What should you devote your time to, instead? Look to find, engage, and connect with your ideal clients to seed some ROI into what would usually be wasted scrolling time.
Do You Even Need to Be on Social Media?
With so many potential pitfalls, you may wonder if it’s really necessary to be on social media at all. If anything, following the advice I’ve given should make you feel better about being on social media.
It’s hard to navigate the space when there’s so much conflicting information out there. I promise you, if you follow this advice, you will feel better about your online presence, your work will be more creative, and you’ll get more done in less time.
Listen to the full episode to hear how to rethink “Community over Competition” and create your own unique brand and content without accidentally copying — or comparing yourself to! — your competitors.
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DISCLAIMER: Although Sam is an attorney she doesn’t practice law and can’t give you legal advice. All episodes of On Your Terms are educational and informational only. The information discussed here isn’t legal advice and isn’t intended to be. The info you hear here isn’t a substitute for seeking legal advice from your own attorney.
On Your Terms is a production of Crate Media.