“What if my competitors read my website/blog/Facebook page/brochure/business card? They’ll be able to steal my ideas!”

This is one of the most common questions we hear as we talk to companies about sharing information.   I’m here to tell you: your fears are justified. Your competitors will almost certainly track your social media, follow you on Twitter and Facebook, stalk your website, and download your materials. This is natural. This is good. You should be doing the same.

How can I be so blasé about this? Shouldn’t  I be afraid other marketing companies will steal our brilliant campaign ideas, or that small business owners will take our ideas and execute them on their own without paying us a single penny?

Nope. And there are two reasons we don’t sweat that at Roundpeg. First, very little information in most industries is actually “confidential.” Sure, if you make some proprietary widget or deal with the military, you may have some real trade secrets you don’t want anyone knowing–but you wouldn’t post that on the Internet anyway. For the most part, information about what tonight’s dinner specials will be or your technique for sealing roofs is going to be much more useful to your customers than it is to your competitors.

Second, even if someone does steal your “secret”–so what? They aren’t you. They can’t execute a campaign the way you can, or bake cookies the way you can, or repair a muffler the way you can. Ultimately, it isn’t only what you do that makes you stand out–it’s how you do it, the dedication, care, and passion your employees put into your work or your products.

Don’t stay off the Internet because you’re afraid of your competitors. Get onto the Internet because you want to help your customers (and potential customers!) understand what you do, and how you’re different from the rest of the rabble. Be smart about what you share, and you won’t have any problems.