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I chose the company Competitive Cyclist (http://www.competitivecyclist.com/), an online retailer with a large physical store in Utah. They are a company I’ve been following for years, and have used more for the information they provide on their website, rather than a place to purchase goods (they are a bit more expensive than others).
I started by using Tweetscan to search for Competitive Cyclist’s presence on Twitter, which yielded many results. Twitter was the best source to find out what people are saying about Competitive Cyclist. Comments like “your customer service rocked my world” and race or ride related comments dominated. Competitive Cyclist is basically a bike shop that specializes in high-end bikes and the race market. Competitive Cyclist actively follows European cycling, so many of their own Tweets relate to the racing circuit. In reading through hundreds of tweets, most of them were positive, which leads me to believe Competitive Cyclist actively monitors their Twitter link to sift out the negative stuff. Of course, Competitive Cyclist also uses Twitter to advertise sales and deals. Their sales pitches often seem conveniently posted by a customer, and not the store itself. They are effective at posting Tweets that act as conversation starters, albeit a 150 character restricted conversation.
Searching Competitive Cyclist on MonitorThis yielded results from over ten different websites. Facebook and Youtube were prevalent, so I had a look at Competitive Cyclists Facebook presence. They are very active on Facebook. I checked the site late on a Sunday night, and there was a new post only an hour old describing the head of the company’s Sunday bike ride (not your typical lazy Sunday ride). Competitive Cyclist definitely uses Facebook to proactively communicate with their followers. Not only do they post the current sales, they personalize their retail chain by posting video tour of their main facility in Utah, and their staff’s experiences with products. Most of their videos are presented through Youtube, where they have a Competitive Cyclist channel. Their technical videos, showing how to install bicycle products or work on bicycles, help create a relationship with their clientele that clearly hopes to go beyond their large retailer persona. They seem to be using social media to create the feel of a friendly, helpful local bike shop where you know and trust the staff. I think it’s actually pretty effective. There are a ton of bike shops online, and somehow Competitive Cyclist have made themselves unique. They’ve given themselves personality through their social media web presence. I don’t actually buy much from them, but for some reason frequent their website, and always go to them to read about new product.
Competitive Cyclist’s use of Facebook and Twitter to do small interviews with cyclists creates the feel of a cycling magazine that tries to provide content along with advertising. I realize it’s all part of marketing, but it’s effective in making the customer feel like they are as interested in cycling as their customers. The feeling I get from Social media related to Competitive Cyclist is that people respect their expertise and turn to them regularly, like I do, for product information. They are quick to respond to comments and clearly have a staff dedicated to a social media presence on the Internet.