Is a local competitor dominating your digital neighborhood? That is local blogs, twitter, facebook, blogs, video and/or wine forums?
Here’s how to monitor what your competitors are doing in social media, for free. And, more importantly, it’s also a good way of tracking and responding to what people are saying about your store on the internet.
Hello Chambers Street Wines
I’ve been hearing a lot of good things recently about Chamber Street Wines (congrats to David Lillie and Jamie Wolff).
So let’s see:
- what is being said about them online
- what is being said about their local competitors online
- any pointers on what they could do better in their local social media marketing
You can replicate this for your own local situation to see how well you’re doing versus your competitors.
Here’s where Chamber St Wines are (should be A in the map below):
I’ve chosen two other wine retailers as local competitors:
There are other competitors, but I’d like a manageable list so I can just illustrate how to do this, and these three seem like similar fine wine stores within a block or two of each other. Note I have no commercial (or personal) relationship with any of these stores.
The Free Social Media Tracking and Measurement Tool
What is Social Mention?
Social Mention is a social media search platform that aggregates user generated content from across the web into a single stream of information.
It allows you to easily track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web’s social media landscape in real-time. Social Mention monitors 100+ social media properties directly including: Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google etc.
Bare in mind that the service doesn’t search for usernames only straight text. So for something to show up it must contain the exact search phrase. Currently we don’t support full boolean searching. However we do support exact phrases and excluded words ex: keyword “full phrase” -exclude
The results set you get are the last X items from each social media source. The amount of items can vary from 20 to 100 items per social media source. You can Filter for “last 24 hours” to trim the result set by day, which may be more helpful to you.
Here are the three wine store results
Essentially it says Chambers St has more passion behind comments about it and New York Vintners reaches more people with it’s comments.
Here’s a side by side comparison I’ve compiled in a spreadsheet:
Social mention is, well, very raw. For example the video results are simply incorrect and there are other odd results as well. I should have also added more variants of the store names. Note analyzing natural language via software is still problematic and many of the tools are struggling with this. (There is a tool called ConsumerBase that I’m looking into that may have the best algorithm but they may be more for my internet research than practical advice for retailers).
Having said all that it is still hugely useful. Okay, here’s what I learned about these three local competitors.
Chambers St Wines
- They don’t use social media themselves much, if at all.
- However so many others comment about them that they do very well in social media land regardless.
My recommendation to David and Jamie
I’m assuming you’re not into social media technology :). It does mean you are missing out on business, on strengthening your customer relationships and driving more traffic into the store. May I suggest you at least start to comment on all the good things being said about you in Blogs, Twitter and Facebook.
Then I would start a simple WordPress blog and/or Facebook Page, and every day just write one short tasting note or interesting story about your speciality and passion – natural wines. It will cost virtually nothing and you’re writing newsletters already.
- Do very well with blogs and Christy Frank is obviously comfortable writing
- Very little happening in the twitterverse
- Not very regular
My recommendation to Christy
I would add some tweeting of her blog posts and newsletters. Tweeting is super easy and will boost her presence. I would also open a Facebook Page as well as entering into a conversation with the blogs writing about her store by commenting.
Christy, I know you will not be all that keen on doing more as I imagine you are struggling to find the time to write as well as work and be a Mum (I’m also a parent). But you do seem to have some great natural ability in this area and could leverage this to good effect.
New York Vintners
- Have a lot more mentions, unique users, more frequently, retweets and top users
- Hash tags suggests deals (on classes), users suggest groupon
- Strong twitter users
My recommendation to Robert
Great job! A strong social media strategy. The classes seem a superb as a way to boost in-store traffic. This also gives you lots of coverage in the social media world. What really jumped out at me was the use of Groupon to drive class traffic. Previously I’ve been very skeptical about discounting systems but when you discount a class, not the wine, then this makes great sense.
You are also have some commenting on many other social media sites as well with facebook, twitter, blogs, and forums (as well as local SEO in terms of yelp. My only recommendation is to do a little more of everything you’re currently doing :). Also perhaps make it bit more personal as I’m struggling to see who is behind this store other than Robert Millman.
“I don’t have the time”
All of these stores will read my recommendations and say they simply don’t have the time to do more social media.
To which my response is, I understand. But this is a cheap way to increase revenue – not cheap in terms of time but it is in terms of budget. As New York Vintners is experiencing it will drive traffic to your stores and build up customer relationships.
So perhaps give some of the work you’re doing to another staff member. Or open the store one hour later and use the time to do some social media marketing. Or hire someone to do it on your behalf but with your cooperation.
Cause you’re leaving money on the table.
My next post will be about all the problems I have with Social Mention, and there are quite a few. But compared to more expensive alternatives it is good enough for our purposes.
What would you advise these three store owners?