Instagram marketing

6 Strategies to Steal Your Competitors’ Customers on Social Media

  • 13 Minutes
Steal yourself a slice of their pie

Attracting new customers via your competitors’ social media pages may sound sneaky… but it’s a strategic marketing strategy. Effective “stealing” requires clever strategy, lots of planning and the best execution possible. 

Let’s take a look at how to poach your competitor’s customers on social media, and keep your customers loyal by simply being better than them.

Getting to know your competitors on social media

First things first, figure out who your competitors are. You might say: “we already know who our competitors are! Duh!” However, what we mean is to get to know who your competitors are on social media. 

For example, if you’re a gym business owner, your competitors will obviously include the big brand name gyms but also the smaller, local gyms in your city or region. Depending on your gym’s offering, your competitors may even include specialized gyms and studios, personal training gyms, your local yoga and Pilates studios and maybe even a fitness influencer with over 200,000 followers on Instagram.

Make a list of all your competitors and look up their social media presence as well. If a competitor isn’t on social media or has too small a presence to care about, remove them from the list. You want to only include the businesses that are active enough on social to truly be your competitors.

In addition to your direct competitors, you may also like to keep an eye out for the social media accounts that you could be competing with. For example, a particularly successful Instagram account may be posting content that is very relevant to your industry and have a large audience. While they’re not competing with you for sales, they are competing with you for the same audience’s attention on social media.

To do this, make a list of the most important and relevant keywords or hashtags in your industry. Monitor these keywords on platforms like Instagram or TikTok to see which accounts are using the tags to share content. 

Identifying the influential accounts, you may be competing with could take some time. It could also take some trial and error. Stick with it because you may have a lot to learn, and could potentially attract new customers by paying attention!

Just remember: don’t rush through this process. Take the time to dive deep into comprehensive competitor research. After all, before you can steal competitors’ customers on social media, you need to know who your competitors are! 

6 ways to steal competitor’s customers on social media

Once you know who your competitors are, it’s time to dive into the actual strategy. Yes, stealing can be strategic too. No, it doesn’t have to be sleazy. 

1. Analyze their social media accounts

First things first, it’s time to analyze the competitor pages you are up against. Ask yourself some questions about the pages you’ve listed as your competition.

  • How many followers do they have? You can break this down by platform if you’re competing with them on multiple social channels. 
  • How often do they post?
  • What is their target demographic? Does it vary on each platform?
  • Which social networks are they doing particularly well on?
  • Are they using LinkedIn (or any other social platform) better than you currently are? What are they doing better? 
  • Do they respond to comments?
  • + anything else that seems relevant or important to you.

Answering these questions will often help you identify gaps—in theirs and your own social media marketing efforts. This will then help you identify what you can learn, where you can improve and what you can do better to attract more of your competitors’ social media followers over to your side. 

2. Get to know their loyal customers

Popular social media pages often come with a band of loyal customers. Pay attention to the loyal fans and customers that regularly engage with your competition’s social media content. 

  • Identify who is commenting on your competitor’s content. Take note of the type of content they seem to comment on most often.
  • Similarly, pay attention to who is sharing competitor content. What type of content are they most inclined to share?
  • Are these customers using branded hashtags your competitors have created? What do you think prompts them to use these tags and more.

You can learn a lot from this loyal fanbase. As you derive your own insights from your research, you may even like to interview a few of these loyal customers. You could reach out to them on the social channels they’re most active on and ask them what they like or dislike about your competitor and/or their social media presence. Better yet, offer them a discount or a freebie to make them more interested.

Loyal customers can teach you a lot about what to do (and not to do) on social media. These learnings will help you attract a similarly loyal following—possibly comprised of some of the same people.  

3. Engage with their customer base

A good way to poach customers from the competition? Use the customer information you’ve gathered above and start engaging with the competitor’s customer base. You don’t have to be creepy about it, but you can certainly use it to your advantage.

As we’ve already discussed, you can start out by running basic interviews and Q&As with these customers. But it doesn’t have to end there!

You can start infiltrating your competitor’s communities to engage with their audience. Definitely don’t promote your products or services. Instead, be helpful, share your knowledge and make yourself known. Sooner or later, their community members will begin to notice you and start to follow you as well. 


Another way to swoop in and scoop up clients from your competitors is by paying attention to disgruntled customers. This is often easiest on Twitter as you can easily search for tweets where people are complaining about a brand. Customers will often complain about a poor experience or bad service on Twitter. This could be our chance to dive in and offer to help with something and convert them into a customer by offering them a better experience with you. A discount sometimes helps too!

On Instagram, you can also lurk on competitor-branded hashtags and poach new followers that way. For example, you can identify the most loyal customers who use these hashtags and follow them or engage with them, so they follow you back. Additionally, you could also make clever use of the branded hashtags by sharing your content or riffing off it to create something that will catch their customers’ eyes.

There are many ways to engage with customers on social media. Be bold and try to find different ways to engage with competitor’s social media followers to attract new customers to your own business.

4. Learn from their content marketing

Social media success is all about making the best possible content. Even if you think you already create some pretty fire content, there’s no harm checking out what your competition is up to.

Check out the types of content they post, and analyze which types seem to get the most attention and engagement from their own audience. This might give you a clue for your own content.

When spying on their content marketing, also pay attention to their brand voice. While each brand will have its own unique voice, if you notice the way a particular competitor speaks with its audience really resonates with them, you may want to steal the same strategy for yourself too. 

Whether it’s more Reels on Instagram or more how-to videos on YouTube, take copious notes on everything your competition is doing well. It may serve you well.

5. Target your competitor’s customers with ads

Social media advertising and Adwords (i.e. Google Ads) can also be a powerful way to start attracting more of your competitor’s customers your way.

First things first, get a good idea of your competitors’ ads on the platforms that work for you as well. Pay attention to their ad designs, color schemes and whether they use more video or photos or graphics. Make note of their differences in advertising on Facebook ads vs Instagram ads or any other platform. List the keywords they may be using for their ads.

Use this data to inform your own campaigns. Depending on the platform, you may be able to directly target your competitors branded keywords, social channels, create similar audiences for ads and more. The right data can be really helpful for poaching competition clients via social media ads.

6. Offer a USP to potential customers

Do your customers have a problem that your competitors haven’t quite solved yet? You could solve it for them! This could be a unique product offering. Or, on social media, this could simply mean offering more useful, helpful content than your competitor is currently sharing with your target audience.

In fact, this is often why smaller influencers are able to engage their audiences better on social media than big brands. They offer authenticity and helpfulness that big brands often lack. This is their unique selling point (USP) and customers prefer it.

Your job is to identify such a gap and fill it with a USP before your customer becomes aware of it, and you could create your own brand of loyal social media followers.

Steal customers by being better than your competitors

Overall, the best marketing strategy for stealing your competitors’ clients is actually the most obvious of them all: simply be better than them. 

Offer better products than your competitors’ products, better service than them, and make your social media more interesting, engaging and useful than theirs. 

Your competitive analysis will throw up a lot of information and data about what your competitors are upto

1. Share more often

Consistency and frequency are a big part of the social media marketing success formula. If your competitors are only posting once a day on Instagram or once a week on LinkedIn, you can definitely do better than that! 

Remember, if you don’t post often enough, your content is less likely to appear in your audience’s feeds. This sends the social platform algorithms all sorts of wrong signals about their level of interest or engagement with your content. Instagram, for example, thrives on consistency. It sends Instagram the right signals about engagement and interest and helps you build a meaningful relationship with your audience. 

Ultimately, that is what social media is all about— building relationships with your clients and customers. And if you’re sharing more often than your competitors, you’re likely to build way better relationships than your competitors.

2. Create unique content

As we mentioned earlier, the quality of your content can make or break your social media presence. Enhance your brand awareness and outdo the competition by creating better, more unique content than your competitors.

It’s okay to look to them for inspiration but sometimes it may be better to look outside of your own industry and niche. Steal some ideas from “outside” to create content that your competitors simply aren’t doing yet.

It doesn’t even need to be complex. 

  • If all they share is promotional videos, it may be an opportunity for you to do more tutorials and provide more value to your customer base.
  • If their focus is only on Instagram, but your audience seems to love YouTube as well, focus your time on creating YouTube videos and poach clients on an entirely new platform. 
  • Curate more user-generated content to build relationships and invite more engagement from your social media followers.
  • Make use of influencer marketing to mix up your content instead of the same-old same-old.
  • + so much more! For some more ideas to get you thinking, check out:

Change things up and refresh your content to catch your audience’s waning attention. Social media is all about keeping this evolving. You want to look for new ways to keep your current and potential followers engaged.

3. Post during your competitor’s downtime

Many brands have a very regular social media posting schedule. Pay attention to when your competitor usually shares content. This will require some careful attention over a week or two (sometimes more!)

Now compare this to your own data. From your Instagram insights, you may already know when your audience is scrolling and using the platform (a.k.a. when your potential customers are most active!)

Compare the two and see if you can find some gaps for the best time to post. Meaning, figure out when your competitor’s downtime is on social media and slot your own content into that gap. By sharing content when your specific social media audience is online (but your competitor isn’t!), you can ensure you’re driving high engagement from every single video, image and story you publish.

By the way, did you know you can use Sked Social’s Best Time To Post feature to identify when your Instagram followers are most likely to see and engage with your Instagram profile posts? Making use of this analytics tool can give you deep insights into your content and your audience. Sked can analyze historical data and use this information to suggest the best-performing times for your particular audience.

4. Use better social media marketing tools 

Whether you’re a startup just at the beginning of your social media journey, a small business looking to grow your social media presence, or a social media manager trying to help your clients get more conversions via their social pages—you need the right tools in your arsenal.

The right digital marketing tools can go a long way toward making social media easier and more productive. For example, Sked Social is a powerful Instagram scheduling tool that can help you streamline your Instagram posting schedule and make Instagram content marketing, a smoother, stress-free process. 

You can schedule posts, Stories and post Reels using Sked. You can also make the most of the analytics tools to get better insights into your content performance. You can figure out the best time to post, share content more often by automating it, optimize your hashtags, and so much more! Overall, Sked simply exists to make Instagram a better experience for marketers like you.

Learn more about Sked Social with a free 7-day trial today.

Photo of Photo of Kyra Goodman

Kyra is a Junior Marketing Manager and "Spicy Meme Master" at Sked Social who loves to create content. Born and raised in Hawaii, her favorite things are traveling, yoga, beaching, coffee and baseball. Connect with her on twitter at @kyra_n_goodman.

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