While it may seem counterintuitive, there is benefit in networking with your direct competitors. I came across an article about printers who create online relationships with their competition. The author, an online marketing director for a printing firm, noted that too often people refuse to follow, tweet at, or engage business competitors in any way, worrying that it will detract attention from their own business or company. Since I do a lot of partnership with other businesses, I thought I’d share my top 3 reasons for engaging a competitor through social media.

Increased Impressions

Ever heard the phrase, any publicity is good publicity? I don’t entirely agree with that, but in the world of online networking and marketing, the more your name is out there, the more impressions you get. Essentially, impressions lead to increased sales. Engaging with people who share a similar audience demographic or target market expands your business network to the right kinds of people.

Sharing ideas

As a print consultant I tell my clients to copy good ideas. This doesn’t mean you should steal other people’s work, but you can draw inspiration from others. Creativity doesn’t emerge out of isolation, so allow other people’s ideas and projects to kindle your own creativity. When you build a business network with companies similar to yours, you’ll gain access to information that may spark ideas to help you in your marketing or design work.

Thought Leadership

Sharing information or relevant content that originated from others within your industry establishes your credibility. You don’t always want to be highlighting what your business can do; your followers and customers will get tired of that pretty quickly. But, when you become an aggregator and distributor of valuable content people look to you as a thought leader. This gains you some great traction within your social networks, but also within your industry.

Don’t let the business competitors stifle your social networking. Embrace the competition and look to build strong relationships and partnerships. Networking like this will lead to increased touched points, impressions, and sales.

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