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The 'whys' on utilizing social media

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AKRON (Feb. 4, 2013) — As I was trying to think of an interactive way to kick-off my first social media blog, I got to thinking about the football kick-off I watched last night.

I decided to think about social media in terms of the Super Bowl—maybe more importantly—the Super Bowl party.

With all the good conversation, stimulating content and food options, it gives us a good base on how social media operates.

For example, if you are throwing a Super Bowl party, you are going to have a TV for people to watch the game, right? Think of that as your website. It's the center of the party, where most people will get information from.

Next up: the food—the so called "extras" of the party. Without that element, you're going to lose your guests. The breakdown of the food goes as follows.

Chicken wings. Why? Because most other parties are going to have chicken wings, so you don't want miss out. The big game and chicken wings go hand-in-hand. This is like Facebook. Many people have it, so they are going to expect you to have it on your website, too.

Next up, some other "standards" for your party: pizza and sub sandwiches. Think of those as Google Plus and Twitter. A lot of people are starting to have them at their parties. Some people might not miss them, but others are going to be like, "Hey where's the pizza?"

Then you have your specialty items, your fruit salad. Might not seem "manly," but you may sneak a few bites when no one is looking. Think of that as Pinterest. Sure, the pin board-style photo sharing website where users share ideas ranging from recipes to events is female-dominated, but there is probably something there for you—even if it is just appearing female-friendly to your women customers. The spinach and artichoke dip always has a good dent in it by half-time right? That's just like YouTube. People tend to flock to it.

In case all that "food talk" doesn't make sense, I chatted with Howard and Pat Fleischmann of Phoenix-based Community Tire Pros & Auto Repair, who already use social media on their company's websites. They shared some of their reasoning for maintaining the sites.

"We are early adaptors and the main reason social media pays dividends is…it allows us to stay in contact with our clients," Howard said. "It's communication. It's staying in contact, and then we try to add some fun to it."

In thinking about how I can demonstrate the importance of social media to all of you reading this blog, I asked Pat what types of information she posts about and how she keeps up the sites.

Pat said she pulls her resources from a number of sources, and the first thing she does is turn on the TV. What is happening in your area? That's the type of information that would be relevant to your followers.

Community Tire maintains pages on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Foursquare.

"I try to post…on all of them because not all of the same contacts are on every source of the media," Pat said.

She said she thinks Google Plus is going to outrank Facebook some day because their profiles are more detailed than other sites—and it's easy to maneuver. She noted that although once you get the hang of the site it's easy, it was not simple to set up, and that is one issue with the site.

Overall, the Fleischmanns said that although you cannot really track the return on investment on your social media sites, they have definitely seen an increase in younger demographics coming into their shops. They have even seen customers come into their shops and sign on to their social media accounts to comment on the shop when they are shopping.

Pat is currently looking into 30 additional social media sites and plans to integrate them into their company's social media platforms if and where they see fit.

So with all this, let's think back to that Super Bowl party. Where do you put all your different types of food? Scattered around your house? No. You put them on the same table so your guests know all the food options you have.

It's the same with social media. Keep it connected. Have icons for your social media pages on your website so people don't have to search for or stumble upon your Facebook or Twitter pages, but rather know where they're at right from the start. That's my food for thought.

For some more insight from Howard and Pat Fleischmann, check out the Feb. 4 edition of NewsPoint.

Jennifer Karpus is a Tire Business reporter. She can be reached at or 330-865-6143.

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