Twitter partner Union Metrics, a social-media marketing and analytics company, shared some ideas recently on the Twitter Business blog about how to use competitive intelligence to make your Twitter account stand out. While you may be posting regularly and running hashtag campaigns, savvy business owners also use Twitter for competitive analysis. Here’s how Union Metrics suggests you can take your Twitter strategy to the next level.
Look at the kinds of posts your competitors share. This will help you identify interesting ideas for your own content. For instance, what topics or trends are they tweeting about? What blog posts, articles and other media do they share? Do they use a lot of images or videos, or are most tweets text-only? This may help you freshen and expand your repertoire of tweets that work best for your audience.
Take a close look at the hashtags they use. Are there tweet chats or communities associated with these hashtags that you didn’t know about? Research any new hashtags to see if there’s anything useful there for your own store’s account.
Look at replies to your competitors’ accounts. Some of the most interesting intel, according to Union Metrics, can come from what your competitors tweet in response to customer questions and complaints: “What sorts of things are their customers asking about—or better yet, what features or products are they asking for? You might discover something that goes beyond your content strategy and impacts a future product or event.” Are there any issues you can get ahead of or need to address on your own Twitter account?
Learn about better times or days to post content. Do your competitors seem to get more engagement at a specific time or on a specific day? Test posting then yourself to keep reaching your audience when they’re most receptive.
Do customer research. Look at your competitors’ followers. While these may not be your brick-and-mortar customers, they likely have a lot in common with them. What insights can you get from what they tweet, the kinds of content they engage with? Who do they retweet? You may gain fresh ideas you can apply to your own Twitter feed.
Brick-and-mortars must reach out to local customers online, too.
A HubSpot survey found that 89 percent of participants searched for a local business on their smartphones at least once a week. And half of the consumers who do a local search on their smartphones visit a store within one day. If your store isn’t visible when potential customers do searches in your area, then you’re losing out on business. So you can’t ignore local search engine optimization (SEO) if you want to draw customers to your store.
Here are a few ways experts suggest you can boost local SEO and improve your ranking in local searches.
- Incorporate local keywords in your website content.
- Optimize title tags on your website with local keywords, such as “dancewear Miami.”
- Embed a Google map on your Contact Us page.
- Get coverage in local publications and nurture relationships with local journalists. When your
store name appears in local coverage, it will improve your local SEO.
- Get high-quality links directed to your website. When you give a talk to local business owners
or students in a business class or to a dance association, that’s an opportunity to have the organization link back to your website.
- Claim your Google My Business listing, and make sure it is fully populated with your information. Use local keywords in your descriptions.
- Create profiles on other local review sites that your customers might look at, such as Yelp. Again, use local keywords. And always respond promptly to any comments with constructive feedback.
Could there be a bright side for smaller retailers?
The shopping mall vacancy rate hit 8.6 percent in the first quarter of 2018, reports Small Business Trends (smallbiztrends.com), the highest it’s been since 2012. While no one likes empty spaces, this could be a good time for existing small retailers to improve their prospects and their bottom line. Consider the following, advises columnist Rieva Lesonsky.
Negotiate for space in a more upscale mall. It’s thought that higher-end malls are more likely to survive this shakeout than mid-range or low-end shopping centers.
Negotiate for a bigger or better space. If the mall you’re in is losing major tenants, but you still have a solid customer base and believe the mall will survive, look into expanding your space or moving to a better location within the shopping center.