AKRON — I hope that you have been enjoying this social media blog as much as I have over the past 10 months. We have gone through the basics on a variety of sites, heard input from a tire manufacturer, gotten advice from technology experts and have been to a plethora of places in between.
So I got to thinking, maybe you have your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. accounts set up and now are like — so what do I do now? I can hear you saying, "I know, I know, Jen. I post a 6:1 ratio for information (six things for or about them and one thing about us). But how do I know what they want to know?"
Well, that's an astute question, readers. That is what we are going to talk about today. We are going to talk about how to really emerge yourself in the social media culture.
Social media trends
Following social media trends can take a lot of time and that's great for big companies that have a dedicated staff for social media. However, for the small and medium-sized dealerships, that is probably not an option. I wanted to supply you with some simple tools you can use to have an idea on what's trending in social media.
The easiest way to see what is happening on the social media front is to see what people are saying. For Twitter, it is fairly easy because there is a "Trends" tab on the left hand side of the home page. Throughout the past few days there have been a variety of trending topics. Everything from #HappyMonday to #Obamacare have been topics on peoples' minds—aka their Twitter feeds. Think about going to the coffee shop and overhearing what people are talking about; some things will range, but there are going to be some common threads. It is the same on social media. The great thing is, it's a lot easier to track on social media.
Facebook has integrated the hashtag into its platform but it is not as big as it is on other sites like Twitter and Instagram. You can still follow different companies for the varying topics you want to post about.
Who to follow
Learning who to follow might be just as complicated for you as trying to get people to follow you.
Who is going to be beneficial to you? Depending on what type of information you are looking for will determine who you are following on Twitter. Your customers follow you, you can follow them back, and this can help you determine what they might find interesting because you can see what they are already posting about.
Do you have a personal Facebook or other social media sites page? I often get ideas to post about from my friends as well. You want to make sure you always remember to be respectful and remember you are operating a business, but there are stories and interesting tidbits being shared all over Facebook.
Obviously if you are looking for tire-related news, you can check out @TBNewsPoint or Tire Business' Facebook page, where we link up a variety of stories from our website along with other types of information along the way.
When you are looking for social media or technology trends, it is helpful to follow some leading companies in the respective fields.
Some of my favorite sites are:
- Mashable: Twitter handle: @mashable
- HootSuite: Twitter handle: @hootsuite
- TechCrunch: Twitter handle: @TechCrunch
- Constant Contact: Twitter handle: @ConstantContact
- SEO Info & News: Twitter handle: @SEOInfoNews
For me, one of the best ways I stay on top of social media trends is by following social media marketing companies and technology companies. They often post about things that are trending everyday. As I spoke about on Twitter, they will put links to stories and if it is something I think is relevant, I click on the links and read everything I can.
There are also some sites—such as mashable.com—that have different sections, such as social media that will show "What's Hot," but you also can use the search function if you want information on something specific.
And when in doubt, go to your search engine of choice and browse its news sections or type social media into the search. Social media is something that people either want more information on or want to improve upon the skills they already have, so there is tons of information out there.
What to post
Posting and interacting with your customers and potential customers is one of the best parts of social media, but something that seems to scare people.
Some people just immediately want social media to be a money-making forum. Here is my coupon; come to my store. But it's much more than that. It's about engaging with your customers. When customers come into your store, do you ask them how their day is going? Or if they are a frequent customer, do you ask them how their family is doing? Well you can have those types of relationships on social media too; it's just a little different.
We firmly believe in the 6:1 ratio because although it is great to get news about the company or initiatives out there, you also want to engage with your following. You want to form relationships with people and have them feel like they can ask you questions about business or services. But you also want that fun aspect. Some of our most popular posts are riddles and jokes. And we have people that post on almost every single one of them because they like them so much.
Scroll through your news feed on Facebook and see if there are any common posts or anything that looks interesting to you. The best way to see what people are going to want more information on is to post a variety of different content.
For instance, the new iPhones came out a few weeks ago. There are probably a lot of people that follow you who might want more information about how they stack up against previous iPhones. So you can post about that and throw in a quote of the day and see what kind of response you are getting. If people are enjoying your technology information, make sure you are incorporating those types of stories into your social media plan.
There is no perfect formula for social media, but trying new things and adapting is going to help you get the results you are looking for on the different sites.
Jennifer Karpus is a Tire Business reporter.