Here at Mojo, one of the first things we talk about with our clients is who they want to interact with on social media. After all, one of the tenets of a solid social media strategy is engaging with and building an audience. But when thinking about who you want to follow and who you want to interact with as a business, the question of competition always comes up. This is where whitelists and blacklists come into play.
What is a whitelist?
Your whitelist is a compilation of businesses and individuals you want to follow and potentially engage with. It can include partners, industry leaders, customers, and others.
What is a blacklist?
The blacklist is made up of companies or individuals with whom you do not want to engage at all, including following, retweeting (in the case of Twitter), or liking (on Facebook). These folks are usually competitors.
But it’s important to consider who exactly you put on the blacklist, because too much restriction results in an ineffective social strategy. Here are some points to consider when developing your white and blacklists:
Direct competitors should go on the blacklist. Plain and simple.
It’s OK to follow indirect competition. Interacting with brands that offer products or services that are not the same as yours, but that could satisfy the same needs, can be a form of networking, according to this marketing professional. Since these companies are in your industry, there is potential for connecting on industry trends and creating conversations, which helps to build your brand as a thought leader.
Figure out who shares your audience. Even though a brand that shares your audience is technically a competitor, if the brand is not a direct competitor, there is potential to engage with that brand to create conversations and offer insight. This makes that brand more of a competitive collaborator, and the company could reciprocate interactions to your benefit.
Engaging with competitive collaborators or indirect competition can put your brand in a positive light. It shows that you are not afraid of interacting with potential competition in order to provide insight to the rest of your industry or to educate customers.
Be genuine. This advice applies to everything on social media, but it is especially relevant if you are interacting with indirect competition. This resource emphasizes that showing a genuine interest in “satisfying an organic need,” such as approaching a topic that your customers and your competitors are interested in exploring, will not give the impression that you are trying to steal the followers of your competitors. Instead it will create value for your followers, and potentially those of your competitors.
In the end, forming black and whitelists isn’t so, well, black and white. There is much to consider as you develop your social strategy. If you have questions about social media or making your social strategy more successful, give us a call.