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Archive for the ‘Public Relations’ Category

Truck Manufacturers and Social Media: The Good and Not So Good

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Last year at the Mid America Trucking Show, a keynote speaker dismissed social media as a marketing tool. One year later, all of the major truck manufacturers have jumped on board with social media, with varying levels of success.

 

Freightliner and International are successfully using Facebook and Twitter to engage with their audiences. Freightliner spotlights a truck and its driver on a weekly basis and shares relevant information about its brand including news stories, features, contests and polls that provide incentives for participation. Freightliner’s Facebook page features information and contests related to NASCAR (Freightliner is the official hauler of NASCAR), a great strategy for expanding Freightliner’s audience beyond the trucking world.

 

International frequently shares relevant photographs of company-related events and of its trucks around the world on Facebook. During the 2012 Mid-America Show in Louisville, International made its company historian available for questions via social media.

 

International began tweeting about Mid-America long before the show began and was active on Twitter throughout the three-day event. International often provides rewards for Twitter engagement and is good about keeping its Tweets interesting, Tweeting about holidays and other topical news.

 

Several truck manufacturers are successfully using YouTube. Freightliner, Kenworth, Mack and International all have done a good job of posting videos of new trucks and their features. Freightliner and Mack have featured truck owners and their stories. Freightliner has shared its history and videos of classic Freightliner trucks. International frequently shares driving tips with its owners, and it provided great coverage of MATS, from show set-up to a recap of events. International and Volvo used YouTube to discuss the causes in which the companies are involved.

 

Some truck manufacturers certainly have room for improvement in their social media marketing.  Mack and Peterbilt do not have Facebook pages or have long deserted them. Kenworth is on Facebook but not consistently.

 

Here are some insights into areas that truck manufacturers could improve on in social media:

 

  • None of the truck brands are using the Milestone feature on the new Facebook Timeline format. Posting Milestones would be a great way for these companies to share their brand heritage, especially considering that many truck manufacturers have long and interesting histories.

 

  • Every brand would benefit from engaging consumers and the press on Twitter. As I mentioned before, International provides a great example of how a company can use Twitter to converse with users rather than simply promote itself, and its variety of content makes its tweets more effective. Kenworth, Mack, and Volvo Trucks could benefit from posting more content on Twitter and making the content more varied.

 

  • Google Plus is an up and coming social network with over 100 million users. We recommend that truck manufacturers claim their pages and start using this site for promotion and networking.

 

  • Regularly posting high quality videos on YouTube that cover a diverse range of topics can help increase brand awareness and give fans more to talk about. Kenworth and Western Star could benefit from more diverse content and a higher frequency of video uploads. Because it does not have a YouTube channel, Peterbilt is missing a great opportunity to promote its brand.

 

 

 

I look forward to seeing how truck manufacturers develop their social media strategies in the future as the industry becomes more connected through social networks. Social media is a great opportunity for truck manufacturers to continue to build their brand image and connect more directly with customers and fans. Because the truck industry has a high level of brand loyalty and interest, truck manufacturers can greatly benefit from effectively using social media.

 

Flipping the Funnel in the Trucking Industry

Monday, March 28th, 2011


We will be walking the floor this week at the Mid America Trucking Show, and I’m really interested to find out if trucking industry companies are allocating more of their marketing resources to social media.

Specifically, are they shifting marketing resources from one-way communications (i.e., advertising) to two-way communications (facilitated by social media) with their customers and potential customers?

 

According to McKinsey’s David Edelman in an insightful Harvard Business Review article, companies today are over-emphasizing  the “consider” and “buy” stages at the top of the purchase funnel, continuing to put the lion’s share of their marketing resources into building awareness through advertising.  What they are missing is how consumers today remain engaged with a brand after the purchase . . . talking about it (good or bad) via social media, participating in online forums, etc.  Thanks to Web 2.0 technologies, consumers are now sharing their opinions with people across the globe . . . instantaneously, reaching potentially thousands or millions of others.

 

Consumers today rely heavily on digital interactions to evaluate products.  Products drop in and out of their consideration set during this rigorous process.  And after the purchase, they remain engaged with the brand through social media.

 

Edelman says, “Marketing investments that help consumers navigate the evaluation process and then spread positive word of mouth about the brands they choose can be as important as building awareness and purchase.”

 

Why?  According to McKinsey, two-thirds of the economy is now based on recommendations . . . not the funniest TV ad . . . nor the most eye-catching billboard.  According to Nielson, only 14 percent of people trust ads, while 76 percent trust others’ recommendations.  People in the trucking industry have always placed a heavy emphasis on word-of-mouth.  After all, if you’re making a six figure investment in a tractor, you want to hear the opinions of your peers.

 

Still, though, many marketers focus on media spend (typically 80 – 90 percent of their budget) that hits consumers at the “consider” and “buy” stages all while consumers are increasingly influenced during the evaluation stage and what Edelman calls the “enjoy-advocate-bond” stages.

 

What to do?  First, carefully analyze all the touch points for your target consumers and which channels are most influencing their decisions.  Go beyond analyzing paid media; also think about “earned” media such as online communities, blogs and product review websites.

 

Then, shift some of your budget to funding the people and technology required to create and manage content for a plethora of online channels.  We’re talking two-way communications here; time consuming yes, but so worth it.

I’ll report back next week on what I find.  In the meantime, enjoy the show!  Don’t forget to follow  http://twitter.com/truckingshow and the #mats hashtag on Twitter.  Give us a follow as well. http://twitter.com/JTMarCom

 

 

 

 

 

YouTube is not just acrobatic kittens and dancing babies

Thursday, October 7th, 2010
YouTube is not just for Dancing Babies and Cute Kittens
We talk to a lot of business people who don’t use YouTube because they think it is all about shocking scenes and cute videos with dancing babies and acrobatic kittens.  While it’s true that truly entertaining videos have the best chance to go viral, YouTube can still be a tremendous (and free) resource for any business.  
According to CitySearch.com, a customer is twice as likely to visit your store if you have a video of your store on your website.  Seeing your store and employees on a video, or a customer testimonial, builds customer confidence and increases the chances that the customer will come see you.
Click here to see a video customer testimonial for Alliance Tire Americas (a client of ours).  Nicely done, and it did not require an expensive camera or production crew.  An effective YouTube video can be shot on a $75 Flip camera.  YouTube audiences are not expecting a slick piece; in fact, this is often a negative.  Make it genuine, but also make it short (30 seconds to 2 minutes).  And get to the point; attention spans are not what they used to be.
So how could tire dealers, for example, effectively use YouTube?
– Show your showroom and interview a few employees.
– Interview satisfied customers for testimonials.
– Shoot educational videos on how to winterize your car, getting ready for summer, etc.
Check out the Sullivan Tire YouTube channel.  Great job!
Using YouTube is easy, but there are some techniques and best practices that can help you use it effectively. Shoot me a comment and I will send you our YouTube white paper which takes you from A to Z.

Farmers Rock Social Media!

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

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?

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

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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I’m Dumber Than I Thought.

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

I have always believed that the essence of a good leader was to recognize what you don’t know and hire people who are smarter than you.  I still believe that is mostly true.  However, I learned  this past year that  my lack of detailed knowledge hurt me and my ability to give clear and precise directions to my vendors.

My New Year’s Resolution is to change that.

Tamara Weinberg just gave us (for her birthday) a great list of the Best Internet Marketing Posts of 2009 and I am methodically re-posting each article on the JTMarCom Facebook FanPage. As I do that I am reading all the postings.

One posting from Louis Gray is:

40 Key Elements to Getting Started In Social Media

Tip number 5 is where I am starting.

1. Familiarize yourself with the basics of web-mastering. If you have not already done so, learn how to use FTP.

2. Learn the basics of HTML, and  the basics of  DNS how to configure it for your domain names. (How to Guide)

3. Learn how to configure a POP email account, and how to take a screen shot and edit and resize images.

The less you have to rely on someone for these basic tasks, the better off you will be and you might even save some out of pocket expenses.

I know you may know most of this but as I go through these list I always learn that I am not as smart as I think I am.

What do you want to learn or re-learn this year?

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Generate A PDF eBook of You or Your Clients Tweets as a Holiday Gift!

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Give the gift of knowledge.

I don’t know about you but I try and provide helpful information to my Twitter followers. (@chrisgtaylor) Information that I find useful in my business and information that will help other people navigate the new media landscape. I am growing to like the term “new media” rather than “social media” because the more I learn the more “new” stuff there is to learn.

I also feel the “new ” label fits because we are seeing a dramatic shift in the way people do business. All the folks out there who call themselves gurus, experts, mavens are full of %$%&! There are just some people more ahead of the curve than others.

One such person is Young Yang from China. A Chinese man who is dreaming to be a professional full-time blogger. On Twitter @freenuts. I recently saw a tweet that peaked my interest and I went to his blog Free Nuts. What a wealth of information! What a nice guy. He also took the time to answer some questions I had.

He introduced me to Tweetbook . Tweetbook , is a FREE web app that lets you generate  a PDF eBook of all your tweets or favorites and share it to Twitter easily.

I am in the process of creating such a book for all of our clients.

You sign in with Twitter OAuth, to create your book. It can be down loaded or shared on ScribeD.

You can decide whether the PDF eBook will include the replies or not, you can generate a PDF eBook of your favorites, and you can download an XML file of the tweets or the favorites .

Besides downloading, you can share your PDF eBook to Twitter, so that your friends can see it on Tweetbook. The only problem….Tweetbook is so popular that it often reaches its maximum limit of users it can service at this time: so be patient.

Merry Christmas! We can now all be published authors. :)

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Examples of Social Media Policies

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

According to a recent article on social media by the blogger HrBartender /Sharlyn Lauby , there are generally two approaches to social media policy making. Some organizations handle social media in an evolutionary way. Chad Houghton, the director of e-media and business development at the Society for Human Resource Management, told me that he thinks, “it might be beneficial not to create some arbitrary rules without first seeing where the opportunities and risks really are.”

Other organizations, meanwhile, feel more comfortable establishing a clear policy from the outset. IBM, for example, has published their social media guidelines publicly for anyone to read. It’s a great policy, though rather long.

One thing is certain — clients are asking for where to find examples of current policies used by all  types of organizations. I was really excited when I came upon the best site I  have found so far the : Online Data Base for Social Media put together by Chris Boudreaux.  Chris has organized a pretty comprehensive social media policy database. The database currently has 106 policies with the policies being sorted by industry, organization and title. More are being added daily.

Among the companies whose social media policies are available on the site are About.com, the BBC, Dell, Dow Jones, Gartner, Microsoft, the Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. Air Force, Wal-Mart and Yahoo!

So if your organization is fretting about social media and you want to get them into the modern age, show them this site.  And if your company already has a social media policy and wants to show it to the world, it can submit that policy for inclusion in the Social Media Governance database.

Does your company have a policy? If so please share.:)

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I stalked Chris Brogan:)

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

T-shirtThis is an image off of a t-shirt my husband John bought me as a joke from Despair.com. I thought it was pretty funny.  It captures  brilliantly the three behavioral disorders propelling the continued phenomenal growth of today’s most widely-trafficked social media sites. And the personality dysfunctional forces of Narcissism, ADHD, and Stalking  that reside today’s in the fast growing area of social media.

As a social media practitioner I freely admitted to the ADHD, (not a bad trait for a multi-tasker). Narcisissim not so much, but I must admit I do like it when my posts are re-tweeted. ( I call it being informative.) But I didn’t get the Stalking category.

I do Now. I am a big fan of Chris Brogan and read his blog eagerly every morning as I drink  my coffee. When I heard that his book “Trust Agents” needed a launch push and he offered to be a speaker for anyone willing to buy 200 books. I jumped at the chance.  I pulled out my credit card and bam, I had 200 books.

Then the shock set in. How was I going to move 200 books? Well the Nashville tech community came to the rescue.  Lynn Bennett at Stage Post Studios offered to host the event. Social Media Club of Nashville (who JTMarCom is donating some of the proceeds to) has helped promote the event with Jessica Murray and Georgia Cross of SMCNash helping any way they can. And most of all, Chris Brogan and his great mother Diane Brogan have helped pull this all together.

Below is our press release: Three days and counting. I am nervous and excited. We could not have done this without many fine people involved.

It’s not too late to sign up HERE for the live portion of the event and if you live elsewhere please tune in HERE to the  Free Video Web Cast provided by Author’s Way.

RELEASE

In their new New York Times best-selling book, “Trust Agents” co-authors Chris Brogan and Julien Smith make the case that the Internet has made it easier than ever to reach your customers.  It’s less likely, however, that they’ll listen.  Today, the most valuable online currency isn’t the dollar, but trust itself.

In the video streaming webinar, Brogan will discuss how social networks and personal connections have far more influence on consumers than a company’s marketing messages ever well –unless your business knows how to harness them.  He will provide valuable insights on how to tap into the power of these networks to build your brand’s influence, reputation, and profits.

Brogan contends that trust agents aren’t necessarily marketers or salespeople; they’re digitally savvy people who use the Web to humanize businesses using transparency, honesty, and genuine relationships.  As a result, they wield enough online influence to build up or bring down a business’s reputation.

During the first two hours of the webinar (10 a.m. to 12 noon EST), Brogan will discuss how to build profitable relationships with trust agents and his six basic principles for becoming a trust agent yourself.

During the final hour of the webinar (12 noon to 1 p.m. EST), audience members will have the opportunity to pose questions to Brogan  via phone, Twitter and email.  He will respond to as many questions time permitting and will sign books for these individuals.  Brogan’s book and a DVD of the webinar will also be available for purchase to all audience members through Authorsway.com.

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Seven steps to turn around a disgruntled client

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

If you have a disgruntled client, (and we all have!) one who has had a bad experience, what can you do to turn things around? The seven simple steps listed below that can help you turn an unhappy customer into your biggest fan.

Step One:

Empathetic apology. It isn’t sufficient to mumble the word “sorry” and expect it to have a positive effect. Your apology needs to show your customer that you understand how your mistake has negatively impacted his or her life.

Step Two:

Take ownership. You want the customer to understand that you are the person who will fix their problem. Ask the customer what you can do to “make it right”.

Step Three:

If possible fix the problem immediately. Sometimes you can’t fix the problem immediately, in which case you need to show the customer that you’re making a sincere effort to resolve the problem.

Step Four:

Get your customer’s buy in. Asking for the customer’s agreement will ensure that he will be satisfied. With small problems, these four steps should satisfy your customer. But remember — a satisfied customer doesn’t talk about his experience. Now, take the opportunity to add value, so that your customers will talk about how great you are. To do this, you need to take two additional steps.

Step Five:

Atonement. You need to go the extra mile to show that you are truly sorry. A small token can go a long way to ease the pain your mistake caused. Send them a hand written note.

Step Six:

Follow up. This is where you can really shine. After a short period of time, call, e-mail or write your customer and make sure they are satisfied with your efforts. This is also an opportunity to ask for more business and referrals.

Step Seven:

None of the above will work if you are NOT sincerely sorry!

None of these steps take an inordinate amount of time or money, but they can really create delighted customers — customers who will tell stories that promote you to their friends and family.

Source: Pamela Webb, Promotional Consultants Today and Laurie Brown is an international speaker, trainer and consultant who works to help people improve their sales, service and presentation skills. She is the author of The Teleprompter Manual for Executives, Politicians, Broadcasters and Speakers.

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