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Posts Tagged ‘SEO’

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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It’s A Google World!

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

I was in Chapel Hill, NC, the other day visiting my Tar Heel daughter and was reminded of the importance of Google rankings for tire dealers (or any retailers for that matter) – not that I needed reminding.

My daughter’s very reliable Nissan Sentra needed an oil change and state inspection.  I was in a hurry.  I Googled “best value in tires in Chapel Hill, NC” and called the dealer that ranked first in the non-paid search.  Never heard of them before.  Didn’t look at any other options.  I called them, booked a time and took the car in.  I know a thing or two about tires after 20 years in the business, but again, time was short.

If you’re a tire dealer, you need to rank high in Google, preferably on the first page.  Consumers are in a hurry.  In a low involvement category such as tires, most consumers are not going to spend a lot of time surfing, reviewing one website after another.

So how do you achieve the high ranking?  You can pay for it of course, but more and more consumers are becoming savvy to paid searches and prefer to patronize businesses that earn their Google rankings by having an SEO-rich website, by answering questions on Twitter, by recognizing their customers on Facebook, receiving testimonials on Yelp, etc.

Once you get them in the door you still need to provide good old-fashioned customer service, which by the way, will help your Google rankings because social media super-charges the power of word-of-mouth.  This dealer, by the way, provided excellent service and had a couple of Mac computers  in the waiting room ready for surfing – nice touch!  They will be at the top of my list next time I’m in Chapel Hill and need tires or auto services – that is, if they keep their Google ranking up.

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Twitter Intelligence

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Conversation Agent: HootSuite Intelligence on Twitter Micro Interactions http://ow.ly/iGQ4

Common Social Media Mistakes

Monday, June 29th, 2009

By Erik Qualman, Search Engine Watch, Jun 29, 2009

A lot has been written about what to do within social media (this column included). As a refreshing change of pace, let’s look at some things to avoid.

1. Not Every Company Needs a Big Social Media Presence

Every social media tool isn’t appropriate for every product or service. Most of the common mistakes are happening within Facebook and Twitter because of all the media publicity these platforms are receiving. Executives think, “Wow, all I hear about is Twitter and Facebook, let’s make certain we get on those ASAP!”

But, as has been discussed in this column several times, sites such as Digg, Delicious, and YouTube may be more appropriate platforms or best first steps for companies, rather than the latest media darlings.

A good reality check: not too long ago, Technorati, Friendster, and MySpace were about to conquer the world. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find any news about these companies at all. That should show you the fickleness of online media.

Companies sometimes go for the latest “shiny object” because the younger personnel within agencies and companies have fun designing programs within social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

While it’s fun for the employees to implement these initiatives, it may not make the most sense from an ROI standpoint. Almost every under-30-year-old uses Facebook every day, and hence they have an affinity to do a program with something they know. Not every 20-something knows how to adjust a Wikipedia entry, set up a company LinkedIn profile, or use Delicious.

The shiny object syndrome is illustrated by this example, when I saw an advertisement ingrained on a table within the food court of a mall in Cambridge, Mass. This table was some prime offline advertising real estate, and promoted that the mall now had a Facebook Fan Page.

Why on earth would I want to be a fan of a mall? If anything, I’d want to hear from the merchants in the mall — Apple, Anne Taylor, Taco Bell, etc. My guess is the mall FEARed (False Evidence Appearing Real) they were going to be left out.

2. Companies Overinvest Rather Than Keeping Things Light

Social media is changing faster than you can say swine flu, and it’s tough to spot the trends, even for the experts. That’s why it’s important to keep your investments as light and as nimble as possible.

Imagine if you’d invested heavily two years ago in MySpace development. This might be a little unnerving because MySpace just laid off 30 percent of their U.S. employees and more than 60 percent of their international employees. However, if you invested light and fast, then you aren’t in such a precarious position.

Even take a look at Facebook. Just a few years back, companies had to pay Facebook $150,000 for a sponsored group, which Facebook then changed to free fan pages, which then again were changed earlier this year to fan pages that resembled profiles.

3. Companies Believe Social Media Efforts Must Tie Into Existing Systems/Databases

This relates to keeping investments streamlined, particularly scarce internal IT resources.

I recently worked with one of the world’s largest cruise operators. And for their singles cruises, people wanted to meet before they departed. The cruise operator had hundreds of cruises that went to similar destinations at different times during the year.

Their internal system had the ability to identify which passengers were on which cruise, based on the assigned trip number and if that passenger was listed as single. Hoping to help reduce cancellations, they wanted passengers to meet prior to their cruise and the passengers also desired this “meet-up” functionality.

The cruise operator thought it would be best if their social media applications tied into their existing backend systems by this trip number. There were three main problems:

  1. Customers often didn’t know their trip number, hence this was a barrier to entry for the social media application.
  2. The system could only tell 90 days out who was specifically on which trip.
  3. It was going to be costly and time-consuming coding to allow the various systems to speak to one another.

This forced the cruise line to do what they should have done in the first place: think creatively. Companies don’t hold all the answers/information anymore. Hence, the cruise line simply allowed the travelers that were interested in meeting singles to tell where they were going and when they were going.

Some simple coding within the social media application then matched the travelers up. It also allowed travelers to see everyone going on the “Greek Paradise” cruise throughout the year, not just those users on their particular ship. This type of creative thinking saved the company time and money and delivered what the passengers wanted.

Everyone should “do” rather than “deliberate” in social media, by making light, smart investments that allow for flexibility. At the same time, make certain that the social media strategy is right for your particular company, not because everyone else is doing it. One size doesn’t fit all.

Submissions are now open for the 2009 Search Engine Watch Awards. Enter your company or campaign before July 17, 2009. Winners will be announced at SES San Jose.

Optimizing Conversion Rates

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/05/05/optimizing-improvig-conversion-rates-less-effort-more-customers/