Experience {plus} Technology {equals} Results.

I Have a Bad Reputation!

by christine

As published in Digital Nashville  Join Today!

“Christine Taylor Nude”…. yes, I Googled myself. Unfortunately I have the same name as Marcia Brady of “The Brady Bunch Movie” fame. Apparently a very nice person, but there must be some scandalous photos floating around out there. That is one reason I try to use my middle initial or middle name in most online profiles.

Depending on how popular and well known your brand is, there may be few or many people talking about it. If you’re looking to start a blog, position yourself as an expert or start networking actively in your desired topic area, then make listening an important research routine. As your brand equity increases, more conversations will be held around your brand name. You’ll spend more time listening and possibly responding to blog posts, tweets, etc. Eventually, you may even need to hire someone to monitor online conversations about you or your company on a daily basis.

Tracking topics on the Web can be a painful process due to the amount of noise and difficulty of filtering it. To help you out, I’ve selected several free tracking tools that go beyond Google.

  • Leapfish http://www.leapfish.com/ Search all the major sites at once. Search real-time social sites. See web, video and image results – blogs, news and video results, plus shopping prices, etc.
  • IceRocket: http://www.icerocket.com/ IceRocket does “Blogs · Web · Twitter · MySpace · News · Images · Big Buzz … API.”
  • Social Mention http://socialmention.com/ Social Mention is a social media search engine that searches user-generated content such as blogs, comments, bookmarks, events, news, videos, and microblogging services.
  • Ego Surf http://www.egosurf.org/ Enter your name (or a keyword) and your web site url, and egoSurf will search Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Technorati and del.icio.us for mentions of your site. Select “more options” to run your search on more engines than just Google.
  • MonitorThis http://monitorthis.77elements.com/ With MonitorThis, you can search in 26 different search engine feeds at the same time including blogs, microblogs and more.
  • Same Point http://www.samepoint.com/ It categorizes “Social Mentions, Discussion Points, Bookmarks, Wikis, Network’s B2B Networks, Groups, Life Casting, MicroBlogs, Reviews, Podcasts, Documents, Video, Images, News and Web.” There are tabs that let you drill down to results for each category.
  • WhosTalkin http://www.whostalkin.com/ WhosTalking is a social media search tool that allows users to search for conversations on multiple social media sites surrounding the topics that they care about most.
  • Addictomatic http://addictomatic.com/ Addictomatic searches a wide range of live sites including blogs, micro-blogs, news and video. Search results are displayed in your own custom page. While you can’t get an RSS feed of your search, you can bookmark it.
  • Keotag http://www.keotag.com/ Search engine that allows you to search various social media sites (delicious, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) by tags.
  • BackType http://www.backtype.com/ is a tool for monitoring blog comments. Whenever you write a comment with a link to your Web site, Backtype attributes it to you.
  • Yacktrack http://www.yacktrack.com/ lets you search for comments on your content from various sources, For instance, if you comment on a blog, you can locate other people who are commenting on that same blog post and rejoin the conversation.
  • Scour http://scour.com/ Scour is a next generation search engine with Google/Yahoo/MSN results and user comments all on one page. Users get rewarded for using it by collecting points with every search, comment and vote.
  • OneRiot http://www.oneriot.com/ OneRiot is a social search engine that indexes web pages based on their current popularity with its users, thus focusing on newest and most popular results for a search query rather than a comprehensive overview of the archived web.
  • Pipes http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/ Pipes is a powerful composition tool to aggregate, manipulate, and mashup content from around the web.
  • Omgili http://omgili.com/ The Omgili forum search engine lets you find communities, message boards, and discussion threads about any topic.

This list is by no means complete. I am always looking for tools to make your jobs and mine easier. What listening tools do you use?

Farmers Rock Social Media!

by christine

I am very fortunate to be working with Alliance Tires Americas, Inc., a client in the agriculture industry; not only because they have wonderful products and are great folks, but because my own personal interests are satisfied. You see, my husband John and I have a family farm in west Tennessee. The farm has been in my husband’s family since 1870 but we are “new’ to the farming business.  So I am learning a lot from participating in forums and social media sites for Alliance Tire.  For example, I learned recently that because we have 100 acres or less we are considered “hobby farmers.”  That’s OK with me. We have a great deal to learn.

It may be a surprise to some of you that agriculture professionals and farmers in America are quite advanced in using social media and other public forum sites to promote themselves and their interests.  The Ag Chat foundation sponsors a question and answer session every Tuesday night from 7-9pm EDT using the twitter hashtag #agchat.  Almost every Farm Bureau offers classes teaching social media to their constituents.

Why?  Because farmers want you to know where your food comes from.  They want you to know the faces behind your gallon of milk or carton of eggs. Farming is not easy. It is hot, dirty, and expensive and totally under appreciated.  But individuals like Troy Hadrick and Advocates for Agriculture, and organizations like AEM, Association of Equipment Manufactures (AEM is looking for someone to recognize as the ‘Advocate for Agriculture” at their annual meeting.  Other examples on Facebook include: Indiana Dairy, Farmer Showcase and Farm Journal.

Do you know where your food comes from? Do you care? Who do you know that is a great “Advocate for Agriculture?” Tell us your story.  It is important!


Should Tire Dealers Get Involved in Social Media?

by john

The answer is “yes.”  There is mounting evidence that the use of social media is quickly becoming mainstream.  More than 45% of US adults now participate in social media and 25% do so weekly.  If anything, this trend will accelerate.

There are obstacles for sure.  You may be (quite understandably) worried about time and/or money constraints.  Our message to you is — FIND A WAY . . . WAIT AT YOUR OWN PERIL!

Kauffman Tire is a good example of a dealer doing it right.  They have a Facebook page with 289 friends; a good number for a low-involvement category such as tires.  Anyway, what is the value of just one loyal customer in terms of annual expenditures and positive word-of-mouth?

The best thing about the Kauffman Tire Facebook initiative is the interaction with their “fans.”

Here’s one recent post from Kauffman on their wall:
A friend of mine had a tire separate on a road trip then found that his spare was flat. Made for a miserable day.  Folks, please keep a close eye on your tires. Especially in the heat of summer!
and always check the air in your spare too!!……. We’d be happy to help!

How about these fan comments?

(Went to Kauffman) . . . 2 weeks ago. New tires and an alignment. We received awesome service and will deff go back there.
Headed to Kauffman for tires and an alignment. Got my Valued Customer Coupon in-hand.

Tire dealers kill for customer advocates like this . . . and through social media they are telling their stories to lots of people.

Kauffman also does a good job with Twitter; we will cover some Twitter tips, as well as more info on Facebook, in future newsletters.

Interested in learning more?  There is plenty of online advice and there are definitely tricks to learn for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.  If we can help you, let us know.

About Kauffman Tire

Here’s how Kauffman describes themselves on Facebook:

Offering quality tires and experienced service at affordable prices since 1936.

Serving Atlanta, GA; Tampa and St. Petersburg, FL; and Northeast Ohio.  Over 50 locations.

They also have 11 wholesale distribution centers, 4 commercial tire centers, 1 Bandag retreading facility, and the e-commerce site Treadepot.com.

Join JTMarCom on Facebook

Want more tips and advice on how to get involved in social media?  Join the JTMarCom Facebook Page. We post useful social media marketing info every day.

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Foursquare – Super-Charging Word-of-Mouth Through Social Media

by john

Christine and I went to one of our favorite restaurant/pubs in Green Hills recently.  She checked in to Foursquare, told about 200 of her local friends about the great hamburgers there and got tips from them on other menu items to try.  How cool is that? For the restaurant!

The restaurant was benefiting from one of today’s hottest and most promising social media platforms and didn’t even know it.  What if they were smart enough to actually incentivize Foursquare users to check in?  How cool (and profitable) would that be?

The idea behind location-awareness social media like Foursquare is that people will use the GPS capabilities in today’s smart phones (iPhone, Android, etc.) to check in, tweet, review . . . let their friends know where they are.  Foursquare, currently available worldwide, is self-described as – “50% friend-finder, 30% social city guide, 20% nightlife game.”  Sound silly? Maybe, but Christine is “mayor” of a convenience store in Bucksnort, TN, and is in hot competition with another Foursquare user.  Every time we go by Bucksnort on I-40, she checks in and I buy an ice cream bar.  Not good for my waistline but great for the convenience store!

From the business perspective, think CRM (customer relationship management). Many small businesses have little or no way to track customer behavior. A coffee shop may have a patron that comes in daily for years, but they have no way to track anything. They can capture emails.  They can supply loyalty cards.  Foursquare goes far beyond all of this. The loyal coffee shop patron can be tracked through Foursquare and even incentivized to get a free cup of coffee for every tenth check-in. This is so much better than a loyalty card because it super-charges positive word-of-mouth through social media and provides valuable data on customer behavior.

Like all good social media platforms Foursquare understood the need to integrate with platforms that others already use. Foursquare users have the option to tweet or add a Facebook status update every time they check in. What this means is that a Facebook user with a few hundred friends might expose your business by way of a Foursquare check-in to thousands of Facebook walls.

There are other services that have tackled this basic function, such as Loopt, Brightkite, Gowalla and My Town, but Foursquare turned this activity into a social competition; a distinction that has led to its current role as a leader in this evolving space.

So how much does this all cost?  Nothing right now.  You can visit the Foursquare business page to register your business. The company is still developing its business model – focusing on the infrastructure, expanding the user base (one million as of today) and developing a database of locations.  While it is free for now, charging businesses to become members and providing them customized programs will most likely be the primary revenue stream for Foursquare in the future.

Tasti D-lite has been using Foursquare for some time now. Patrons are encouraged to register their loyalty card (the Tasti TreatCard) online with Foursquare (and Facebook and Twitter) to earn extra points.

Taco Mamacita, a Nashville eatery,has been using it for about six weeks.  If you check in and prove that you are the mayor of Taco Mamacita, you get a free guacamole.  This is amazing stuff!  For the cost of a few pounds of guacamole, Taco Mamacita has people competing to be mayor and telling hundreds or even thousands of other local people about the restaurant’s great menu items.

Should your business join Foursquare? The answer depends on your type of business and demographics of your customer.  Taco Mamacita fits the profile perfectly.  They are located in a trendy neighborhood  (lots of geeks around) and they pride themselves on their authentic Tex-Mex fare and margaritas (plenty to talk about).

Local consumer-oriented businesses that depend on foot traffic will get the most out of Foursquare, especially if your customers are gadget-friendly, smart phone owners. There are a lot of retailers that fit this category – coffee shops, restaurants, bookstores, pubs, nightclubs, apparel stores, spas, hair salons, art galleries, etc.  Don’t be deterred, however, if you are operating a rather “boring” business.  Owner of a dry cleaner store?  Offer an incentive (like dry cleaning coupons) and Foursquare just might work for you.

Christine Taylor Talks Social Media With Association of Equipment Manufacturers

by christine

LAS VEGAS, NEV. (May 25, 2010) – “Get in the game but be careful” was the message JTMarCom Social Media Vice President Christine Taylor shared with representatives of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) in Vegas.

Taylor was talking social media (not black jack) with marketing officials for heavy equipment manufacturers and CON/AGG Expo organizers who were in Vegas last week to prepare for CON/AGG Expo 2011.

“Some companies don’t get involved in social media because they are afraid of losing control,” Taylor said. “These companies are missing the boat. You should be listening to online conversations about your company and engaging with your target audiences online. But it is important to have a clear strategic marketing direction and a social media policy for your employees.”

Taylor, who chaired a roundtable discussion on social media policies, said the policy should make it clear that defamation, privacy, negligence, contracts and other serious topics that apply to other forms of communications certainly apply to social media. “What happens on Facebook, stays on Facebook,” Taylor says. “For instance, you might think you’re joking around during an online exchange, but just a single post and response could bind you into some contractual action.”

She said the policy should also provide employees guidelines such as:
• be responsible for what you write
• be authentic
• consider your audience
• exercise good judgment
• bring value

“Your employees can be some of your strongest advocates in social media; you just need to provide them some guidance through policies and hopefully training,” Taylor said.

Taylor advises companies to review social media policies at — http://socialmediagovernance.com/policies.php — to find examples that are applicable to specific industries.
JTMarCom is a Nashville-based agency specializing in the integration of social media marketing with traditional marketing.

What is a Twitter #Hashtag?

by christine

Hashtags are a community-driven convention for Twitter for adding additional context to your tweets. They’re like tags or categories, only added inline to your post. You create a hashtag simply by prefixing a word with a hash symbol: #hashtag.  Hashtags are essentially a simple way to catalog and connect tweets about a specific topic. They make it easier for users to find additional tweets on a particular subject, while filtering out the incidental tweets that may just coincidentally contain the same keyword. Hashtags are also often used by conference and event organizers as a method of keeping all tweets about the event in a single stream, and they’ve even been used to coordinate updates during emergencies

You can create a hashtag simply by appending the hash symbol to a word, like this: #hashtag. #socialmedia,#conferences

How to Utilize Existing Hashtags:

There are a wide variety of already established hashtags — and new ones being created daily — that you can join. Some examples are #musicmonday,#tastytuesday, #followfriday.

How to Find a Hashtag:

Some great site to search hashtags being used are:

What the Trend?: This useful little service makes it really easy to learn about trending hashtags. When something starts trending, What the Trend? will provide a quick blurb on what’s going on.

Twubs: Twubs  uses a wiki system to help disseminate information on a hashtag. It aggregates tweets and imports pictures to help illuminate the topics being discussed.

Hashtags.org: While not the best at helping you understand the meaning behind a tag, Hashtags.org is good at showing you its use over time and recent tweets, which oftentimes is enough to figure out the meaning behind the tag.

Tagalus: Tagalus is a simple dictionary for hashtags. It’s very easy to find information on thousands of hashtags as defined by other users. You can also define a hashtag by tweeting tagalus.

How to Start your own Hashtag

The first step in creating a hashtag is deciding on the tag word itself. You should pick something memorable, easy to spell, and perhaps more importantly, as short as possible. Remember that Twitter gives everyone just 140 characters per tweet, so no one wants half of it to be taken up by an unwieldy hashtag. Once you’ve figured out the tag itself, the next step is simple: start using it and promoting it. Make sure your tweets using the hashtag are worthwhile and add something of value to the conversation.

More resources for hahstag information:

HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Twitter #Hashtags

The Twitter Hash Tag: What Is It and How Do You Use It?

Ultimate Guide to Twitter Hashtags | Search Engine Journal

Find Local People on Twitter

by christine

1. Twitter Advanced Search

Never forget Twitter Advanced Search when you are going to search anything about Twitter. Just to enter your location, and select how far away from the location is acceptable, then you can see the latest tweets from those twitter users near the location. You can also filter the results by languages, including English, Japanese, French and the other 16 languages. Go to Twitter Advanced Search

2. Twellow

Twellow says it has more than 19 million Twitter profiles in their database and let you search those Twitter users by location. You can follow or unfollow the tweeps on the search results, and you can also see their Social Links (such as MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, ect) if any. Go to Twellow

3. TweepSearch

TweepSearch says it has indexed over 13 million Twitter profiles and let you search them by location. When you sign in with Twitter OAuth, you can follow, unfollow or block those Twitter users. The search results can be sorted by last update, screen name, followers or friends. Go to TweepSearch

4. Nearby Tweets

On Nearby Tweets website, you can search anything nearby nearly any city, you can follow or block any Twitter users in the results, and you can also block all the tweets from that location. But you can’t search the keywords with more than one Chinese word. Go to Nearby Tweets

5. LocaFollow

Besides location, you can also search LocaFollow by bio, name or tweets. The search results of the Twitter users will include the numbers of following/followers and tweets, the last tweets, the websites, ect. You can follow the those Twitter users one by one or on one click. Go to LocaFollow

6. Twitter Grader

You can search Twitter users by Location via the User Search function on Twitter Grader, which will show you the first 100 related Twitter users who are sorted by their grades. As you can see from the above image, the search results may be not 100% correct. Go to Twitter Grader

7. Twitterfall

Enter your location in the Geolocation column, select how far away from the location is acceptable, and click Enable, then the tweets posted by the tweeps near the location will be displayed and updated automatically. The Tweets can be sorted by languages. Go to Twitterfall

8. Happn.in

You select a location, then Happn.in will show the twitter trends and 3 latest tweets from your location on Google Maps, and you can click the more detail button to see more Twitter users and tweets from that location. There is a twitter account for every location listed on Happn.in.  Go to Happn.in

9. Geofollow

Just enter your location, then Geofollow will list the Twitter users from your location, you can follow, reply or DM the matched tweeps after login. ,. Go to Geofollow

What are your favorite sites?  Or do you have any other similar websites to search Twitter users by location? Share with us by adding a comment.

4 Sites to Get You Started in Social Media

by christine

There are so many great resources to help you get started with social media it can be very overwhelming. Below are a few places that I like. What are your favorites?

Mid-America Trucking Show Got Social Last Week

by john

Of the different segments that make up the U.S. trucking industry, which ones are more rapidly embracing social media?  Some insights were revealed at last week’s Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville.

First, an interesting record was achieved at MATS – the largest ever gathering of women owner-operators in one place at one time.  Twitter played an instrumental role in getting the word out before and during the show.  This leads us to insight #1 – there is a solid base of owner-operators and drivers using Twitter and Facebook, and this will only grow through word-of-mouth.  These two social media platforms provide a great way for truckers to stay in touch with their families and with each other.

As is common these days at conferences and trade shows, a Twitter hashtag was set up for MATS and provided a great way for Twitterers to share information, make connections, etc., at the show – not to mention Twitterers interested in MATS but unable to attend this year.

Insight #2 is that a growing number of manufacturers are increasing using social media as an extension of their marketing programs.  Companies such as Michelin, Cummins and Arvin-Meritor Tweeted about their products and events at MATS.  Look for manufacturers to continue using social media to get the word out but also to begin capitalizing on the true value of social media – creating conversations with customers and potential customers and energizing an army of brand advocates.  Check out Peterbilt’s Facebook Fan Page.

Finally, fleet professionals are increasingly using LinkedIn and Facebook but have been slow adopters of Twitter.  Adam Ledlow — http://twitter.com/AdamLedlow — of Truck News magazine had an interesting insight – with more and more drivers using social media, fleets should be employing it to snag qualified drivers.  What a great recruitment tool!

Not as Sexy as Victoria’s Secret? Don’t Worry, You Should Still Be on Facebook

by john

We get numerous questions from tire dealers along the lines of:  “Why does my company need a Facebook Fan Page?  We’re not targeting coeds and we’re not a sexy brand like Victoria’s Secret.”

Here’s why:  Facebook’s U.S. user base grew from 42 million to 103 million last year.  Facebook currently has an Alexa ranking of 2, meaning it is the second most trafficked website next to Google!  This means your Facebook page will be indexed faster on Google and other search engines.

And while Facebook started out on college campuses, it has obviously gone way beyond that.  In fact, the 35+ demographic now represents more than 30 percent of the entire Facebook user base. The 55+ Facebook audience grew an astounding 922 percent in 2009.  Women still make up a higher percentage of Facebook users than men, but the male audience is growing rapidly.  Anyway, there are lots of women who buy tires and automotive services.  And, generally speaking, women will become extremely loyal customers if they trust you.  Guess what?  Facebook and other social media platforms are all about establishing relationships and trust.

Be forewarned though — If you build it, they will not necessarily come.  Even Victoria’s Secret has to work it. If you are not actively soliciting fans and engaging them, what’s the point? Build good content, make it easy to share, let people know about it, and over time your community (and customer base) will grow.

Here’s three key Facebook tips:

Use Other Platforms

You need to promote your Facebook Fan Page on all appropriate landing pages and media – your website, print advertising, POS materials, news releases, etc.

A Reason To Join

Give a coupon, enter new fans into a drawing, make a donation in their name . . . give consumers a reason to join your page.  Cheerios gave away a book to school libraries for each new fan.  Pedigree Dog Foods is donating a bowl of food to animal shelters.  You could give a sweet deal on an oil change to each new fan, or enter them into a drawing for a set of tires.

Be A Resource

If your Facebook site only includes your promotions and sales, it will not be as successful as it could be.  Provide useful content on getting your car ready for spring, etc.  Become a “trust agent” in the tire and auto services industry.  Promote your fans.  Wish them happy birthday.  Include a congratulations on a new job, graduation, etc.  You’re building relationships here.

SOME WORTHY FACEBOOK SITES

Some tire manufacturers and dealers have launched Facebook sites because they recognize that Facebook is not a fad, but rather a tsunami-size force that, along with other social media platforms, is changing the rules of marketing.

We like the Kenwood Tire Facebook site which was profiled by Mike Manges in the March edition of Modern Tire Dealer (MTD has a Facebook site as well).  Sure Kenwood Tire has their share of promotions on their site, but they’re doing a good job of providing advice, interacting with fans and putting a human face on their organization.

Bridgestone and Kumho have recently launched Facebook sites.  The Bridgestone site features their current TV commercials and is rich in visual content (photos and videos).  Kumho, not surprisngly, is targeting auto/racing enthusiasts and gearheads on their site.

BUT THERE ARE ONLY 24 HOURS IN THE DAY!

The other frequent comment we get from dealers is:  “That is all well and good but I don’t have time to devote to social media.”

Building relationships does take time, but what is the value of one loyal customer who does all of their business with you?  A good social media program will help you buld many loyal customers — over time.

Managing an effective Facebook Fan Page requires an average of 1 hour per day in our opinion.  But don’t make the mistake of thinking that your grandson or granddaughter can do it.  Sure, they know their way around Facebook, but do they know how to incorporate it strategically into your marketing and business objectives?

If you are a one- or two-store operation, we suggest you hire a qualified social media consultant to set you up and train you or one of your people on best practices.  There are many efficiciences to be gained if you know the latest apps.  If you have multiple stores and a dominant presence in one or more markets, carve out some of your marketing budget to hire a social media marketing firm.

Please visit our website or fan page for more insights.  Or give us a call at 615-477-3099.  We would be glad to give you some free upfront advice.

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