Who’s Your Competitor? – St. Stephen Relation Building

by Anthony Pensabene on October 9, 2012

“And David put his hand in the bag and took out a stone and slung it. And it struck the Philistine on the head and he fell to the ground.”
– Samuel

The movie, Hoosiers is based on the true story of a small, Indiana-town basketball team that defied odds and rose to greatness.  I rally around the film.  It’s a testament to hard work and the tenacious spirit of ‘the little guy.’  It’s also metaphorical for local SEO.

Let’s explore a few social media/public relations ideas to apply to small, local clients, using my present town of Glenwood Springs, Colorado as an example.

A good friend owns a pizza establishment, Peppino’s.  The passion, ethic, and product is superb, but their online presence not so much at the moment…  I’m no Gene Hackman (the coach in the film), but a fan of passion.

Let’s take a look at the SERPs for “Glenwood Springs, Colorado pizza.”

pizza serps

The establishments with red arrows are mainstream brands, such as Domino’s.  Russo’s and Uncle’s are not large chains, but small businesses, such as Peppino’s (which does not appear in the ‘pick six SERPs’ at all).

Hmm, I have a few ideas about getting them more ingrained online.  Their competitors are doing a bit more online marketing.  Let’s see if we can leverage the given-but-untaken opportunities of competitors.

“…a good fighter has no technique; he makes his opponent’s technique his technique.  He has no design; he makes opportunity his design.” – Bruce Lee

Finding Personal Advocates

Russo’s has good exposure regarding the “Glenwood Springs, Colorado pizza” search.  I’m curious to look at their followers.

As I did for my guest post on Giuseppe Pastore’s blog, I’m going to play with Followerwonk. (Followerwonk is badass; place it in the hands of one of your creative marketers. #justsayin)
I am going to look at the breakdown of their followers’ influence scores.

pizza influence scores

I would definitely take interest in followers with the most influence, yet for this particular section, I’m going to peer into those with influence scores in the 50-59 range (105 at present).

pizza twitter users

I’m not interested in followers outside my targeted geographic area. Using ctrl+F, I’ll take a closer look at who’s in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

segmented pizza twitter users

Hmm, VistGlenwood may be a good account to inspect, especially for PR or link building, but that’s not my immediate purpose right now. I’m looking into lost opportunities regarding advocates. Let’s take a look at Kimberly Henrie, the second user highlighted.

blogger twitter profile

I’m intrigued; Kimberly is both a health club owner and hosts her own blog. Let’s see if Kimberly is an advocate of the competition, or a huge fan of Peppino’s main provision of pizza.

Using All My Tweets (Hat tip to Chris Winfield for directing my attention to this PR tool.), I’m going to look at Kimberly’s tweets, again using ctrl+F to see if she shared info about “Russo’s” or “pizza” specifically.

blogger tweet

It’s dated; but, appetites do not drastically alter (usually) in two years’ time. PIZZA in all capitals – she has an appetite for what Peppino’s offers, maybe just hasn’t been exposed to their product yet.

Let’s see if she gave Russo’s some love on Twitter.

twitter love

She did, 1.5 years ago. Again, a bit dated, but I’m interested she is interested in pizza, and in sharing good news about products she likes. I’m also curious as to whether Russo’s recognized, thanked, and retweeted/favorited the compliment/exposure.

twitter comment

They haven’t. Out of curiosity, I also check All My Tweets to see if Russo’s EVER tweeted at her. No, they have not. I wonder if Kimberly beholds opportunity for Peppino’s (especially if they’re more attentive/appreciative of her business and social sharing). Furthermore, she is a business owner in the area, and a blogger. Those are both wins regarding brand advocacy.

If I was doing PR for Peppino’s, I may extend an invitation to try a different slice of life, give her coupons, approach her about affiliate marketing regarding her fitness club, etc.

It’s a small town, where locals rub elbows, helping one another and their related businesses. It’s a prime location for building advocacy.

Finding Business Advocates

I’m going back to the same level of followers, in the 50-59 influence range. When you place your browser over someone’s name, Followerwonk elicits a bio; I see the next person is into tourism, and an admitted PR and SM pro. Yahtzee!

PR twitter user

I’m going to do some inspecting using All My Tweets. Mandy hasn’t mentioned Russo’s; but, she does mention “pizza” a number of times.

social comment

She tried four pizzas? Is she doing this out of sheer love? Or, is it somehow related to her line of work? Whoa, “best pizza ever!” I’d like people to say that about my product!

Hmm, Mandy is a PR/SM person. I wonder if she blogs about Glenwood Springs. I’m going to do a search for her.

Oh snap, Mandy writes for one of Glenwood’s biggest attractions.

mandy glenwood caverns

If I was doing PR for Peppino’s, I may send Mandy an email, relaying I’ve read some of her stuff, noticed she has tweeted about pizza, and inquire if she would like to come in the parlor to sample my friend’s product.

She definitely does indirect PR; Mandy also appears passionate about sharing business news related to the valley.

tweet history

Again, Glenwood Springs is a relatively small town; however, the valley gets a lot of tourists. Mandy could help spread word with locals. Furthermore, her hand in tourism is possibly a huge win for Peppino’s regarding tourists.

Finding Establishment/Government Advocates

I’m going to keep looking upon the list of Followerwonks’ 50-59 influence range. I spot the Glenwood Chamber Resort Association. That piques my PR interest. The site has a number of links and decent page authority.

chamber of commerce serps

Let’s look more at the site. Oh, it offers visitors information on places to eat in Glenwood Springs. “Pizza and subs,” two things Peppino’s offers, is a subcategory.

glenwood springs website

I’m pleased to see Peppino’s represented in the “pizza and subs” section. However, competitors are listed above them. Additionally, Russo’s has more description connected to their profile. What’s up with that? “FREE” delivery is a highlighted benefit. I want Peppino’s to note their benefits on there as well.

glenwood springs pizza

I wonder if this is some sort of pay-your-way listing. Does the chamber have a special relation with my friend’s competitor? I’m going to see if the chamber mentions Russo’s on Twitter at all.

They do a number of times.

twitter mention

The URL directs back to an event page on the chamber site. Is Peppino’s having such events? Not at present; but, it looks like the chamber will share the information if they do.

pizza tweet

This tweet directs to Russo’s main site and relates to charity. What is Peppino’s doing related to charity? If they related the information to the chamber, would the entity spread the word as well?

These are opportunities of exposure!

Using All My Tweets, I want to see if Russo’s is visibly grateful. It doesn’t appear so. If I was doing PR for Peppino’s, I might look into mirroring whatever relationship Russo’s has with the chamber, encouraging identification, re-sharing, and building a better online relationship with the chamber.

See the Spill and Gather

“one man gathers what another man spills” – St. Stephen Grateful Dead 1969

I’m not ‘dissing’ Peppino’s competition. I am not familiar with product, store, or related personalities of competitors. I am familiar with Peppino’s; they’re wonderful people who could use some help with exposure. The above tactics could help get them started.

Do you know people/clients in similar situations, who could use some coaching?


{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Nick Eubanks October 9, 2012 at 2:18 pm

There is so much actionable creativity in this post, great job laying this all out and making the case as to the real world impact one can hope to achieve by implementing these strategies.


Anthony Pensabene October 9, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Thanks for the read, Nick. We were discussing some of these things a couple of weeks ago. Thanks for your input and discussion. There’s a lot to be done with Followerwonk.


Kyle O'Brien October 9, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Another solid post, Anthony. And it not only makes me want to eat pizza (my local fav here in KC is Minsky’s or Papa Kenos :) ) but also stream Hoosiers on Netflix as well. I loved the idea of trying to cultivate mentions where the competitor isn’t. Little mentions to key advocates such as letting them taste a new recipe before it hits the menu, partnering up on any promotional/charitable event they’re holding down the road, etc., can build the brand beyond the ranking. And if nothing else, monitoring tweets of customers (both those of small and large influence) who had a so-so experience the first go around and making things right tomorrow instead of a month down the road.


Anthony Pensabene October 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm

You def should get a pie and stream the film. I think there’s a lot of room for creativity in using social media; the process could always lead to links, but advocacy is much more important.

Sure, like you mention, you could present sample coupons, ensure a customer who had a so-so time has a better one next time, partner with other brands, etc. Thanks for your read. It’s appreciated, Kyle.


Joel Mackey (@webaddict) October 9, 2012 at 2:55 pm

This is a really great post that shows some creative spirit in digging in and finding good connections. Besides highlighting some great things businesses can do to investigate their local social activity it was entertaining to read and the quotes & enthusiasm added to the post. Thanks for the good read. :)


Anthony Pensabene October 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Thanks, Joel. I try to make the things I write entertaining as well as educational. Try being the operative word in there. I appreciate your read and observations. I hope you can take some of this stuff and apply it for your own purposes.


Joel October 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Really thought-provoking, Anthony. I’ll be coming back to this when I feel like I’ve hit a wall.


Zeph Snapp October 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm

Just know that I have added this to my list of must reads for novice link builders. In fact, I have a new hire that will be adapting this process for Latin America tomorrow morning.
The one thing I’m ashamed of is that I had not used AllMyTweets. That is going in my daily toolbox .
Finally, I am actually in the process of writing a blog post related to using social tools for link building, do you mind if I reference your article (giving you credit, of course!).


Anthony Pensabene October 9, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Thanks, dude! Of course, you can reference the post. I’m sure Cucumber Nebula would appreciate that. I really appreciate your kind words and observations. I’m going to use your comment in the peer review section of my site.


Zeph Snapp October 10, 2012 at 9:36 am

Glad to hear that my comment was useful. I’ll let you know when my post goes live!


Shawn Lippert October 10, 2012 at 2:18 am

Well written and insightful. Data driven tools like these are what makes building relationship’s a little easier for Local SEO and Marketers. What I like is how you can combine these tools for new ways of building relationships with customers for your local clients, meanwhile in return they help build citations driving foot traffic to brick and morters as well help with SEO in social search integration. Well done.


Anthony Pensabene October 10, 2012 at 8:52 am

thanks for reading and extracting those opportunities out of it, Shawn. Followerwonk is a great marketing tool. I’m a big people person, but tools help in better targeting.


hyderali October 10, 2012 at 5:53 am

Thanks Anthony, for writing this fantastic post & I’m sure your friend “Peppino” had already tried the above tips given by you. Didn’t used Followerwonk & never heard of Allmytweets. Now both of them are into my kitty of SEO tools.


Anthony Pensabene October 10, 2012 at 8:42 am

Thanks, man. I hope Peppino’s and other brands/marketers get some ideas from the post.. Yep, Followerwonk and AllMyTweets are great!


Linda October 10, 2012 at 7:07 am

What a great post Anthony! Really enjoyed it, easy actionable steps in deed. Thank you!! (I hope you are showing Peppinos this article :))


Anthony Pensabene October 10, 2012 at 8:42 am

Thanks, Linda – that means a lot, and appreciated.


Anthony D. Nelson October 10, 2012 at 11:24 am

Love this post Anthony. First off, you give actual examples. Real websites, real towns, real twitter profiles. Then you show small businesses (or big) exactly how to create some real, important brand advocates.

Too many strategies focus on winning the internet all at once, when instead people need to focus on winning over one person at a time.


Anthony Pensabene October 10, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Thanks for your read and observations, Anthony #1. I know you’re keen on link building, so your compliments are well appreciated. I agree with you; sure, we want to win the Internet like we want to be successful. Those are theoretical goals met by day-to-day play in the trenches..


Gisele Navarro Mendez October 10, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Oh, man, you’ve got to love Followerwonk!


Anthony Pensabene October 11, 2012 at 11:34 am

Thanks, Gisele – and I enjoyed your post at Boom Online Marketing on Twitter


Lorenzo October 10, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Wow ANTHONY. This is amazing. I am going to execute every single step you described in here.
This is not just for link building or brand advocates, but also for advertising, affiliates, email marketing, etc.
Thanks for sharing this!


Anthony Pensabene October 11, 2012 at 11:35 am

It’s about time I got some recognition up in this piece! No, hey thanks, Lorenzo. I really appreciate that- I hope you do good things for your clients.


Osaze October 11, 2012 at 10:51 am

WOW. This is really nice. All the practicality is just mind opening.
Great post.


Johannes October 13, 2012 at 3:48 am

Hi anthony really great actionable post.
Just wanted to let you know, that your hire us button in the sidebar is duplicating itself on my ipad with safari. So all I can see is the hire us from top to bottom.
Wish you a nice weekend.


Peter Attia October 15, 2012 at 10:50 am

Thanks for the heads up on the button Johannes. Will look into it.


Kimberly Henrie December 9, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Hi guys! Interesting to find this post while doing some online research.

For the record, I LOVE LOVE LOVE pizza and I really do like Peppinos :-)

And, Mandy Gauldin is a friend :-)

Nice article….


Spook SEO August 14, 2013 at 4:21 am

Interesting post Anthony. Its very comprehensive and clear cut. Will try to implement your strategy on one of my campaigns. Cheers!


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