Everyone knows that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” right? There is a ring of truth to that, and keeping an eye on what competitors are doing is essential to keeping ahead of the curve, but in social media, imitation is often going to lead to stumbling.
The speed at which social media shifts is astonishing, and what works one week might not work the next. It’s a tough game to stay on top of, and sometimes it feels easier just to copy what your competitor is doing since it “works” for them, and then call it a day. However, when you come back to abysmal results, what is your next step? Instead of trying to walk in the footsteps of your closest competitor, learn how to use their content for inspiration, not imitation.
No One Has The Magic Key
Those incredible results you saw from a competitor or similar business might make you salivate a little, and it’s understandable you want to do the same. The reality is, they most likely aren’t some magic marketers that simply know the secret. Nine times out of ten, they are just as clueless as you are.
You can never know what data other companies are working with, what their internal goals are, who they might be taking a cue from, or what they view as success. Do they have a marketing company, or is it one person? Are they looking at the impressions with the same wide eyes as you, or are they focusing on a number that makes them feel like the ad failed? If you don’t know these answers, then attempting to copy their work is going to be a shot in the dark.
The nature of social media means you’ll constantly be changing and reiterating, building on your success as time goes on. Keep in mind that your competitor is doing the same thing. Each ad may be a test for them as well. They might be right some of the time, but are you willing to gamble your business on that?
Remember How Much Ads Can Tell You
When you’re looking at your Facebook Ads, you aren’t just looking at the numbers of shares and likes. You’re looking at clicks, at how many people hide the ad, where they go after clicking on your ad, and so on. There are piles of data to look at, and each column means something different to every person. A “successful” ad you see in your Newsfeed might be delivering terrible ROI for them. Perhaps they paid a firm to create it at a larger cost than you’re willing to spend. You also don’t know anything about their follower’s behaviors.
Your ads are a glimpse into your audience, and each audience is unique. Let your audience be your guide when crafting your ads, not something that caught your eye scrolling through your nephew’s new puppy photos. Learn how to judge what you see as a successful campaign regarding what it can do for your goals instead of assuming they see success. The ad is about you and your audience!
Your Business Is Unique
There are absolutely rules and strategies that are time-tested that you need to remember when creating your marketing materials. Chances are, they are the same rules everyone else is following. What no one else has is you. Use the unique offerings you bring to the table be your ultimate guide. You know your audience; you know what tone and voice work. No one else can replicate that.
If your audience is more visual, turn some clever copy you see inspire a new picture or template. If they are heavily engaged, make your posts fun for them to engage with. Relate to the audience you built!
Finding inspiration in ads you come across is a good thing, and it can help stretch your creativity when you’ve hit a wall. Just make sure you remember that you need to give your audience what they want, not what another company tells you they might want.
If you want to know more about your audience and how to make your ads work for them, find new ways to spark user engagement and learn to create even better content for them!