How to Steal Your Competitors Customers With Twitter

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Twitter ads provide a unique opportunity for customer acquisition that you cannot get with many other ad platforms.  Users go to Twitter for research, to find solutions for problems and most importantly to bitch about and at the companies that they’re upset with.  It’s never fun to be on the receiving end of these people’s complaints, but it does open an opportunity for you to advertise directly to your competitors customers.

This is ideal for startups, companies with limited budgets and people in a competitive niche that has plateaued and battle for customers.  By using a two tiered or single account approach, you can begin to target your competitors client base while they’re upset and try to turn them into your customers by running ads that address your competitions biggest issues.

This post will go over a few ways to do this.  It’s definitely not nice, it’s not really ethical, but it is business and along the same lines of bidding on your competitors trademarks in the search engines.  If you’re ok with doing that, or you just hate your competition, here are a few ways to steal their customers and clients.  The success will depend on what your ads look like, what messaging you use and your ability to target well (and if your competitors have an active audience on Twitter).

How to target your competitors customers on twitter
By @Thomaspajot purchased from Deposit Photos

3 Ways to Target Your Competitors Customers on Twitter

  1. Create an account called YourBrandCares
  2. Show ads off of complaints
  3. Target shopping habits & loyalty

1.  This is the Two Step Strategy

Step 1. Create an account called YourBrandCares

This is a two tiered approach.  The first is to create a Twitter handle called YourBrandCares or you can go generic with Service or Keyword Reviews and not associate yourself or your brand with the ads (this is great for affiliates as well).

(side note: Twitter makes you wait for two weeks before you can run ads off of a new account so during those weeks make sure you tweet and get the account active.  This shows it could be real and you’ll want to include the deals and tweets you’ll be promoting so you can start promoting them once you’re approved for ads.)

Once your account is approved to use ads, you can start to target your competitors’ customers.

Step 2.  Advertise to follow you by targeting their help accounts.

target care and support accounts on twitter

Anyone can target a competitors main twitter handle to show ads, but who knows if those followers are customers, fans or are even active or real.  Look to see what competitors have accounts for support and help and try targeting those instead with a follow me campaign.  Many brands use these to help deal with customers that have questions or issues so they don’t have to cloud their main company’s feed.

These accounts are the ones that are more than likely interacting with actual customers (or potential ones doing research) and asking them to follow them so they can DM support and help.  This is where your opportunity is.  Instead of targeting website clicks, try targeting these angry customers with a follow me campaign.  Now you are building an audience of your competitors new and current customers.

Once you have them following your account, you can now run ads specifically to your competitors customer base from your own account with a mostly captive audience.

2. Show ads off of complaints

Keyword targeting:

Twitter allows you to use keyword and phrase matching as well as use the same match types as Google Adwords.  By targeting the keywords that your competitors’ customers use, you can now start to show ads for people using or researching with these phrases.  You can also use phrases where people are looking for more information while making a decision on if they want to use your competitors or not.

target a stores name on twitter

Try using modifiers like reviews, does it work, what do you think, etc… By combining the modifiers with keywords and phrases directly relevant to your competitors you may be able to get in front of their audience and new customers.  They help you find people who are angry with the company, trying to figure out if their services are good or not, etc…

Hashtag targeting:

Hashtags can also be a great way to target by topic.  Your competitor’s name and the hashtag #fail for example could help you find a customer who isn’t happy.  Think about what other variations of hashtags can be used by current customers who may be looking for alternate solutions or in the research process.

Target shopping habits & loyalty

The last targeting option I’ll share is using Twitter’s third party provider that helps to show consumer behavior and loyalty.  By having a large brand as a competitor or market leader, you can now start to target their customers based on interactions, engagement and loyalty.  Even if your competitor isn’t a large brand, but a large store is featuring and promoting them heavily, you can interrupt those promotions and show ads for your service as the large brand builds awareness for and promotes your competitor.

Target customers of large brand competitors

target using the brands people shop for

If you’re looking for help with Twitter or social media advertising and want to talk, use the contact form above and I’d be happy to give you a quote.  If you’re not but found this post helpful, subscribe to my newsletter below and get updates when I add new posts to the blog or have something to share.  Sharing on your favorite social network is always appreciated as well.


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1 thought on “How to Steal Your Competitors Customers With Twitter”


    These records are the ones that are more than likely associating with genuine clients (or potential ones doing research) and requesting that they tail them so they can DM bolster and offer assistance.


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