AKRON — One of the biggest parts of social media some businesses tend to fumble over is the social aspect.
Too often businesses get caught up in self-promotion or a "just-the-facts" approach while the personal, humanistic aspects of social media go by the wayside.
And for the tire industry — one seemingly dominated by "necessary" purchases rather than "wanted" ones — it may feel intimidating to exist on the social media platform and find a way to make it creative.
This is the exactly the dilemma Laura Hasney faced when she became the advertising and marketing director at Colonie, N.Y.-based Adirondack Tire & Service more than three years ago. These days, her techniques on social media have proven so successful that it has branched out into Adirondack Tire's print advertising marketing campaigns and even made its commercial debut on TV.
When Laura started at Adirondack Tire, social media was becoming more and more popular. She said the company only had a YouTube account with a few commercials on it and a personal Facebook account, so she switched that over to a business account. She said she kept trying to think of creative ways to promote tires and automotive, but was having trouble.
This is when she came up with "Adie."
"It's kind of like the insurance companies, with the gecko and the duck…they have something kind of catchy," Laura said.
Adie is a two-dimensional character with a tire as his body, along with a face, arms and legs. His look is completed with an Adirondack Tire hat. At first Adie was just a stock photo, but then he grew in popularity so much on the dealership's Facebook page that Laura really wanted to customize him a bit.
"He's informative but a little goofy," she said. "It's kind of my way of hiding behind him and make it more interesting."
Laura said Adie tries to be entertaining and silly because "people aren't jumping for joy when they buy tires" or "getting their brakes done."
Adie is an active participant on both Facebook and Twitter, and fans and followers, respectively, have seen Adie skating, climbing tires, at the golf course, etc.
Laura said she makes the focus on what Adie is doing in the local community. For instance, when there is free ice skating at a local rink, Adie's photo is skating and says to drop by the rink. It's a way for Laura to connect with current and potential customers by updating them on local events and really engaging with the local community.
"It was really a great tool," she said about Adie on social media. "It's a great way to speak to our clients."
Adie has become such a presence on social media that Adirondack Tire decided to expand his reach into other areas, Laura said.
"He started with just the face of social media, and then he has been in a couple full page ads…so he has branched into print."
Adie started doing well in print so Adirondack Tire decided to branch out even more and feature him in its new commercial.
Laura said another area Adie has gotten involved in is tire giveaways, which has greatly boosted Adirondack Tire's email lists.
The dealership has allowed the Adie character to, in a way, become his own being—even giving him a profile on the company's website and his own email address.
As Laura put it, "He has a life of his own."
She said another reason why Adirondack Tire decided to use Adie in other promotional matters was because much of the company's advertisements were "geared more toward male population" and that Adie "was another way of softening our image."
A key to social media, Laura said, is to cross reference the company's social media sites with the company website.
"I've designed two websites in the three years I've been here," Laura said, "and the second one I feel has a cleaner look and the social media is definitely a presence on there."
She also utilizes the company blog as a way to get people to the website through social media.
Laura said she has recently been focusing her social media efforts on expanding Adirondack's Twitter page as it grows in popularity.
"I've been growing that audience," Laura said.
Laura and Adirondack Tire have found a way to educate, promote and have a little fun with the tire industry through the use of Adie as its business mascot.
Sometimes a fear with social media is that it will take too much of a company's time or will take away from other marketing promotions. However, Adirondack Tire's success story proves it can be a relevant outlet and a way to enhance your overall brand.
It's important to decide how social media can fit into your overall business model. And who knows, maybe an idea will prove so popular it will boost your company's visibility.