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Archive for the ‘Tire Dealers’ 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.

 

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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Mid-America Trucking Show Got Social Last Week

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

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

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

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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