What to do when a ‘rival’ imitates you

What to do when a ‘rival’ imitates you

What To Do When A ‘Rival’ Business Imitates You

imitation isn’t always a form of flattery, especially in business when you’ve been working hard

In the world of business, there is always going to be someone out there doing something similar to you.

Unfortunately, sometimes that may well be because they’ve taken ‘inspiration’ from you – or, essentially, copied your product or idea.

This can be pretty annoying, of course. While in some industries you can look at patents or legal protections to try and stop this happening, in some cases, there are no options like this available – and even if there are, people can often find a way around them. So, what can you do to stop it happening?

In some sense, the answer is nothing. But you can change the way that you react.

Inspiration over imitation

Acceptance is an important step in ensuring that you don’t want to spend the next six months willing a rival’s business to come crashing down. That’s not very friendly. Accepting that some form of imitation is always likely to happen is a really important step in dealing with competition head-on. While you can’t necessarily protect yourself against these kinds of infringements, you can change the way that you deal with them.

Imitation plays into the idea of social proof, a theory which basically explains how people copy the actions of others in an attempt to mirror what they perceive to be good or correct behaviour. Essentially, we see something we like, and we do the same thing. A good marketing example? The power of testimonials and case studies. People hear that someone enjoyed a product or service, and they want the same experience.

While social proof can also lead to imitation, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Plus, it’s more than likely that you were inspired by other brands or companies when you started your own business, or are still inspired by what other people do to this day. It’s natural to spot someone doing something cool on social media and think “we could do something like that!” – and while some of us may change things up a bit more than others during this process, the underlying principle is the same. Think of it less like blatant copying, and more like looking for inspiration, and it’s a slightly sweeter pill to swallow.

Innovation is the key

When someone starts to imitate your business, it can be really easy to get stuck feeling hard done by. While sometimes anger can be motivating, it can also leave you feeling frustrated, when really what you need to do is move forward. If you’re the one being copied, then clearly you’re coming up with some awesome ideas – which is a powerful position to be in. Make sure that you’re innovating and improving and continuing to be creative, and you’ll soon leave the copycats in your rear view.

Initiate action

(can you tell we’re going for all of the ‘I’ words?)

In some cases, it may be that you want to take action. The best approach? Keep it civil. Drop the person an email and explain your position, detailing what they’re doing and the similarities to your own products or activities. Hopefully, this will be enough to make them stop. If not, then you may be in the realm of legal activity – if applicable to your industry. This can get expensive and be long-winded, so have a think about what sort of impact the imitation is having on your business before making this decision.

While someone imitating your business can be annoying in the beginning, try and use it to fuel something positive. Channel your angst into innovating and being the best at what you do, and you’ll soon find that you’ve left your copycat competitor in the dust. I mean, if they can’t come up with an original idea they’re probably not going to be around for too long… Take some comfort in that, and keep doing what you do. Clearly, you’re doing it well.

Want to drive your offering forward even further? We can help. Check out some of our digital marketing training courses to make sure you’re making the most of the online world – from the quick-wins of PPC to producing super creative original content.

Why not tell us some of the ways you have been copied in the past, what you felt and what you did about it. Comment below and join in the conversation.

Liz Quinn

Liz Quinn

Digital Creative Manager

Follow us on social media for blog updates and more kick-ass learning content to grow your digital skills!
3 things for brick & mortar businesses to do to quickly get online

3 things for brick & mortar businesses to do to quickly get online

3 things brick & mortar businesses can do right now to get online From Google My Business and local search, through to social media and website build... [wpseo_breadcrumbs]It's hard to know where to start as a physical business getting online, making digital and...

How infographics can help boost your social strategy

How infographics can help boost your social strategy

How Infographics Can Help Boost Your Social Strategy

how to visually represent your data effectively

The internet has a lot of information. Like a lot of it.

In our busy day to day lives, be it the daily news or a list of the cutest cat videos this week, we’re increasingly wanting that information easier and quicker. From a business perspective, that means the information you put out on your social profiles needs to easily be able to put across what you want, and fast.

But just how do you do that without losing out on all the important bits? A picture may be able to tell a 1000 words, but sometimes an image just won’t cut it. A video might help, but they take time to make and you might not have the resources available.

If only there was a format that combines the best of visuals and text into an eye-catching and easily digestible way… oh wait there is! Let us introduce you to infographics, and show you how they can help boost your social media strategy.

What’s in an Infographic?

First things first, what exactly is an infographic? Put simply, it’s a graphic that presents data and information in a condensed and easy to read way.

Let’s say you own a dog adoption centre, and your social profiles need some jazzing up. You’ve also just acquired some great dog facts, and want to put them out on social in a fun and engaging way. Instead of simply listing them in a post, why not display them in an infographic like so?

The breakdown of an Infographic

Cute dogs aside, there are some things that all infographics should include in order to ensure the best chances of success of social.

A snappy title that explains what the information will be about should stand out and be located at the top of the page. When it comes to the font, sometimes simple really is best. Don’t be eager to use the most outlandish font out there because you think it looks ‘cool’ if it sacrifices readability.

As for the info and data itself, an infographic gives you the freedom to present it in different ways, but certain ways lend themselves better to particular types of information.

Our Doggos R Us info is made up of simple facts containing numbers. The numbers are the key thing to take away, which is why we’ve circled them and used them as headers to introduce each fact.

However, let’s say we were also given the average height of the top 10 most popular dog breeds. Immediately, presenting this information in our current way won’t work. however, the use of a graph could help make the information far more digestible, like the guys over at Canine Journal, have done here:

Alternatively, if you have information that compares things to one another or to show change over time, a bar or pie graph is a better choice to display the information. Don’t just pick the style that looks the nicest – pick the one that will help show the information in the best way for the user.

Finally, you want people to know that it’s your infographic! Always ensure your infographic, at the very least, includes your brand’s logo somewhere that can easily be seen.

Why infographics?

So infographics can help make information easier to read, but is it really worth all the trouble?

The short answer – yes.

The long answer? Aside from presenting information in an easier format, infographics are also much more likely to be shared on social as opposed to say, a blog. More shares mean more awareness of your brand, which in turn leads to more traffic to your site.

What’s more, showing your audiences you know your stuff helps to establish your brand as an expert in your particular field. This naturally helps build audience trust, meaning people will be more likely to turn to you when they need your services.

Making an infographic

Now we hear you asking – but how do I make an infographic? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

There are plenty of tools out there, be we recommend Canva. Not only is it a powerful but simple online tool that can help you make infographics, but its free! We even made our Doggos R Us infographic on it!

For the more creatively inclined (and those with a bit more cash), tools such as Adobe Photoshopcan really help you make professional looking infographics, even if there is a bit of a learning curve.

 

Boost your social skills

Now you know how to make infographics, why stop there? Learn how to become a social whiz just like us by coming along to one of Social Animal training courses here at Giant Towers!

Dan Otway

Dan Otway

Digital Creative

Follow us on social media for blog updates and more kick-ass learning content to grow your digital skills!

3 things for brick & mortar businesses to do to quickly get online

3 things for brick & mortar businesses to do to quickly get online

3 things brick & mortar businesses can do right now to get online From Google My Business and local search, through to social media and website build... [wpseo_breadcrumbs]It's hard to know where to start as a physical business getting online, making digital and...

How to engage with your customers online

How to engage with your customers online

How To Engage With Your Customers Online

using creativity to get users to engage with you

Engaging with your customers whilst online is a crucial element to digital marketing. It can not only boost awareness of your brand but also encourage repeat business from existing customers.

We find that one of the best online platforms to engage with customers or clients is through social media. Now, we know that one of the most obvious ways to engage with customers is through responding to questions and complaints, but when it comes to social media, creativity is essential to get users to engage. After all, this isn’t your grandmother’s social media (unless she’s a social media wizard…).

Because of the way that audiences use social media and consume content, not to mention the number of brands who are trying to get their marketing message out there, it can be difficult to encourage social media users to interact with your posts. If we’re being totally realistic, we all follow at least a few companies or brands on social – and we don’t always engage with them.

So, as a brand or business, when you’re posting on social media you’re ultimately fighting for space on the feeds of your users, along with every other brand they follow. This makes using creative methods of engaging with your customers even more crucial to your social strategy. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. Here are our favourite ways to prompt engagement with customers through social media!

Polls

Social media is largely made up of opinions. “This is what I think of this news article”, “I loved this movie”, “I can’t stand this music artist”, “I think that this celebrity is so brave” and “This is my favourite ___” are just a few that come to mind. That’s why, when you’re actively asking users for their opinions – especially through a format like polls – you’re much more likely to get engagement. One of the most beneficial aspects of polls is that they’re available to use on a variety of social platforms, such as Instagram Stories, Facebook posts, and tweets on Twitter.

Polls can also be used in different contexts. This could be allowing users to contribute to your business or brand, such as offering options for what your next product/service could be, or to make internal decisions, like what the new names for meeting rooms should be. This offers users a way to connect with your brand in a way that isn’t solely based around products or services, but more on a personal level. Polls can also be used for general conversation around topical and relevant news – for example, asking whether new changes being made by tech companies will impact them.

Conversation Starters

Conversation starters are one of the biggest ways to interact with users online, as you’re offering people the opportunity to contribute to a conversation. Conversation starters also allow users to provide their opinions as well as their own experiences, not to mention the opportunity to interact with someone – whether that’s the brand or even another like-minded user! We’ve included some of our favourite conversation starters below.

Questions

When writing a social post, including a question directed towards your users is a great way to get the conversation flowing. For example, we recently posted about our new blog ‘what are memes and can they help my online presence?’ on Facebook and Twitter, and at the end of the post, we asked users to share their favourite meme in the comments – keeping the conversation going.

Answers

Another way to encourage engagement is providing users with a problem that they can solve (ideally with a prize at the end!). Our sister brand, Sleeping Giant Media, recently ran a Christmas campaign called Giant Elf, which incorporated a puzzle – asking users how many ball pit balls there were in a video. As a result, users submitted plenty of entries, creating some healthy competition and getting people talking – while also meaning that we received some lovely engagement!

GIF Responses

GIFs are great for responding to… well, most things really. After all, pictures can say 1,000 words! The right GIF can explain exactly how you’re feeling, which is why they’re such a great tool for conversations on social media. We often ask users to tell us their opinion, thoughts or even how their day is going through a GIF. We do this because it’s a fun, interactive and creative way to prompt users to contribute to the conversation.

 

Ultimately, customer engagement is all about the emotional connection between your customers and you, bringing them closer to your brand. Customers who are engaged with are much more likely to purchase your products or services, promote your products or services to other potential customers, and above all, exhibit loyalty to you and your brand. By providing your customers with high-quality customer experience, you’re solidifying a crucial component in your brand’s customer engagement strategy.

 

Still not got your fill of learning how to utilise social media? Check out our blog ‘ffs, stop trying to cheat social media’, or our blog on ‘The dark and light side of social media’ to learn more about how you can effectively use social media in your digital marketing strategy!

If you want to learn more about using social to your advantage, book a slot on our Social Animal course, where you can learn how to implement strategies and use all social platforms to achieve your business goals. Sign up today!

Yumna Kumran

Yumna Kumran

Digital Creative

Follow us on social media for blog updates and more kick-ass learning content to grow your digital skills!
3 things for brick & mortar businesses to do to quickly get online

3 things for brick & mortar businesses to do to quickly get online

3 things brick & mortar businesses can do right now to get online From Google My Business and local search, through to social media and website build... [wpseo_breadcrumbs]It's hard to know where to start as a physical business getting online, making digital and...

What are memes and can they help my online presence?

What are memes and can they help my online presence?

What Are Memes And Can They Help My Online Presence?

using memes in business to help your creative strategy and further yourself in the modern world

Have you ever seen those funny pictures or videos on social media that everyone seems to share? Ever wondered where on earth they come from, and how they seem to change every week?

If you’ve ever asked any of those questions, then do we have a blog for you! Let us guide you through the weird and wonderful world of memes, and show you how you can take advantage of them to improve your social media strategy.

Sit tight, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

What is a ‘meme’?

Many people think that memes came into existence with the birth of the internet and social media. Fact check – memes have actually existed for thousands of years, just not in the form they have currently taken today. The traditional definition of a meme is:

An element of a culture or system of behaviour passed from one individual to another by imitation or other non-genetic means.”

Image result for what's a meme

In plain English, it’s simply an idea that is passed around and copied. Where’s the best place to share ideas in a variety of formats that people copy and imitate? You guessed it – social media.

With the rise of the internet and social media, people began sharing all sorts of content, but it was only from 2011 that its usage and popularity spiked drastically. The word meme and its counterparts easily get between 700-800k searches a month in the UK alone, so to say they’re popular online is a bit of an understatement.

 

How do I use memes with my business?

Now you know what a meme is, let’s look at some examples of some and how businesses have used them effectively. If we can direct your attention to Exhibit A:

The  “You vs the guy she told you not to worry about” meme became one of the most popular to emerge back in late 2015, with its popularity exploding online in 2016. The idea is to share two images of people or objects, with one being more favourable than the other, for humorous effect.  

Needless to say, businesses soon caught wind of the idea, leading them to make their own to post on social media channels…

Jimmy John’s

@jimmyjohns

You vs. the guy she tells you not to worry about.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter
2,367 people are talking about this

 

As you can see, American sandwich provider Jimmy John’s made its own version using one of their own products. While the brand gets decent levels of engagement normally, their post using the meme exploded, leaving it with over 5000 likes and 2500 retweets.

Where do I find memes?

By the time many businesses discover a new meme they could use for marketing, there is a 99.9% chance that the window for ensuring the most engagement has passed.

Why? Memes simply have a very short lifespan. New ideas are constantly being produced every day, and what was hot this week likely won’t be the week after. If you’re seeing lots of the same meme all over Facebook or Twitter, you’re jumping into the game too late.

To ensure a greater chance of success, you need to find a meme before it reaches peak popularity. Reddit is a literal goldmine for finding memes before they find their way onto the more popular social media platforms.

Subreddits (basically communities within Reddit) such as r/memes and r/funny are good places to conduct some research, but we recommend r/memeeconomy due to its ability to easily show you which memes are gaining popularity before they reach their peak.

Image result for memes about reddit

What memes are right for my business?

However, don’t just assume you can pick a funny meme and watch those comments and likes roll in.

Certain businesses are more likely to see success with memes than others, and that’s largely due to the fact they already have an audience likely to relate and share the meme in question.

Memes can be used by anyone, but they have particular popularity with young people. If your business’s primary target audience is the younger generation, then using memes could prove to be an excellent marketing tool.

Even with the right audience though, relevancy will still be the number one factor to consider. Just because a meme you found had you in hysterics, doesn’t mean it will have the same effect on your audience.

Take the time to pick one that’s trending, but is easy to alter into something funny that relates to your business.

Image result for take your time meme

Making memes work for your business

With a bit of research and luck, your post could receive tons of likes and retweets – which are great to raise your brand awareness. However, these on their own don’t automatically mean people will flock to your site and buy what you’re selling.

Memes are therefore a way to push people down the sales funnel – they don’t create a sale by themselves. Only when they are combined with other effective forms of digital marketing can they help get people buying your goods and services, which is what we’re all aiming for at the end of the day, right?

We’ve taught you all you need to know about memes, but if you want to learn more about social for business, why not sign up to one of our upcoming social animal courses?

Daniel Otway

Daniel Otway

Digital Creative

Follow us on social media for blog updates and more kick-ass learning content to grow your digital skills!
3 things for brick & mortar businesses to do to quickly get online

3 things for brick & mortar businesses to do to quickly get online

3 things brick & mortar businesses can do right now to get online From Google My Business and local search, through to social media and website build... [wpseo_breadcrumbs]It's hard to know where to start as a physical business getting online, making digital and...