Retailers can definitely benefit from Social Media efforts- but it takes skill, patience, time and a good analysis of what is working and what is not. Not every social media tool is right for your business – so you need to do your due diligence in figuring out the right avenues for you.
A good place to start is by seeing what your competitors are doing and by analyzing your own existing efforts. Here are some tools that will help you get started….
Google alerts is a great tool that will deliver via email or RSS keyword updates directly to you. You can watch the exact terms you want and get a report that shows where that keyword has been mentioned online. By using the comprehensive choice you will receive data from blog comments to news articles to images of the keyword you choose. You can access Google Alerts here: http://www.google.com/alerts
I currently monitor approximately 60 specific keywords….every day I receive an email that shows me exactly where those keywords have been mentioned. It is a great way to help me write blog comments to help with my link building efforts, monitor what my competition is doing and keeping me aware of the general going on’s in the industry.
If you are not using Twitter yet – you might want to! Twitter is one powerful resource and can really help a large variety of businesses. Twitter does require a bit of work and effort though. You need to be social on Twitter to get the best results – meaning you need to TALK to people. I can almost guarantee if you start a Twitter account and all you do is post sales and promotions you will fail miserably. You need to get out there and help people, share information and really create a community to achieve the required goals. And don’t forget to follow your competition – see who they are following learn about their promotions etc. http://www.twitter.com
Facebook is definitely a leader in the social media world and a must for any business! It is a great way to keep a community going of your best clients and customers – people who really want to hear your message. You can create great custom pages to announce events and contests, get a relatively inexpensive ad campaign going and really set your business apart from your competitors. http://www.facebook.com
SocialMention is a great competitive analysis tool! SocialMention tracks brand mentions but also delivers information about what people are saying about the brand (good, bad and ugly) – as well as the top keywords and users. Just enter your competitors brand name and it will give you some great information! http://www.socialmention.com/
Of course there are many more out there like http://domaintools.com, http://howsociable.com and more to help you analyze your competition and build a stronger brand! Hope this will help get you in the right direction!