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Should You Friend a Competitor Online?

Pepsi and Coke did it on Twitter. Southwest Airlines and Jet Blue did it at Tweetup over a game of Guitar Hero. So what’s keeping you from friending your competition on social networks?

Really, it’s okay to hit that follow or friend request button. You just might find the benefits far outweigh any negatives and is exactly how professionals and businesses are interacting in this age of engagement. It gives a new twist on the phrase “friendly competition.”

Are you still suspicious about the benefits? Then think about it this way. It’s the opportunity to learn from one another.

Social networking is far too new for anyone or any business to legitimately claim they’re an expert. We are all still learning and this space changes rapidly, with new tools and uses coming online each day.

By following or friending your competitor, you can see how they are applying tools to engage and build relationships with their customers. Maybe what they’re doing can be applied to your business or, better yet, can inspire you improve upon it in your own application. The point is there’s a lot of learning and exchanging of ideas to be had.

Sure, you could follow your competitor online on the sly, but why the secrecy? Social media is after all about transparency.

Now before you go off thinking this is just the high tech way of keeping your friends close but your enemies closer. It’s not. It’s a new way to break away from corporate boundaries.

So are you ready to friend your competitors?

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