Advice for dealers
With Falken's being a tire manufacturer and James being so active in social media, I wanted ask him what advice he would offer dealers.
"They have to develop a brand voice," he said.
Being on social media is more than just telling people about what tires are for sale, James said, or any rebates that might be available. Because people buy tires only once every three years or so, you need to engage them.
"If you want someone to actually Like your page and connect with your page," he added, "you're going to have to give them content that they want that's relevant to your brand and to them.
"It's communication—and communication is a two-way street."
Asked how dealers can use YouTube, he said the best thing they can do is to post maintenance reminders and more do-it-yourself (DIY) types of videos.
According to a new survey from the Rubber Manufacturers Association, only 8 percent of drivers aged 18-39 know the basic tips for checking tire pressure properly. This is the type of information that would be beneficial for you to post on YouTube.
James said some dealers may question why they would want to post DIY videos if their aim is to get people into their store. Since most people are not going to do it themselves, a video is merely showing them that their friendly local tire dealer or repair shop can do the service for them.
For instance, he said you could post a video on "signs of wear"—then show a motorist how to recognize a problem with their vehicle's ball joints. If they come in and get that problem taken care of, it might cost them $150. If they wait too long, then they would need a new set of tires—plus the additional cost to replace the ball joints.
It's all about educating consumers. People are going on YouTube for all sorts of DIY-type projects, and some of the information being put out may be questionable. At least if a potential customer sees your YouTube channel, he or she might start to see you as the authority on the topic and will keep your shop in mind for service.
James said it's all about "that customer service, customer-centric type of thing," and that "dealers should carry that message."
The quality of videos being posted on YouTube range from cell phone images to professionally done productions. James said he recently saw a YouTube video on how to do your own alignment—and it had more than 70,000 views.
This is the type of information a dealership can present to its current and future customers.
James noted that dealers are already doing the repair work in-house, so why not have a technician walk viewers through it via video?
He said the subject matter can even be something as simple as explaining how, if a tire is overinflated, it can lead to uneven wear—and the consequences of that.
"Even the rawness of the video may be what their fans are looking for," James added.
Ultimately, we live in an age where we can get any kind of information instantly, so why not be the "expert" who is educating your customers on proper care and maintenance? I can't think of anyone better.
Still have questions? Any subjects you'd like to see covered on this blog? Let me know at 330-865-6143, [email protected] or send a message to Tire Business at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or at [email protected].