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SEMA/AAPEX 2013: Special edition — Social media blog

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(Tire Business photo by Jennifer Karpus) Brian Lewis of SiteTuners led a session at the online marketing conference Nov. 4 at the SEMA Show.

Check out @TBNewsPoint on Twitter to see what was posted as the sessions were running and also for real-time coverage through the SEMA and AAPEX shows this week.

By Jennifer Karpus, Tire Business staff

LAS VEGAS (Nov. 6, 2013) — As I flew into Vegas for my first SEMA Show, I didn't know what to expect.

However, I knew I was excited for so many things at the show. First up: the Online Marketing Conference that was held on Monday, Nov. 4.

This conference was targeted toward auto-related businesses to help them get an understanding of the constantly evolving world of online marketing and social media. I was able to swing by for the opening keynote and a session on maximizing conversion with common user scenarios.

I wanted to share the information that I learned. Marty Weintraub, of aimClear — a social, search, display and PR online marketing agency — was the opening keynote speaker. Although I think a lot of what he said may be over some heads because he really got into some intricate details, there were some interesting points.

The title of his speech was "Survival of the Fittest! Navigating (& Dominating): The Great 2013 Online Marketing Buzz Kill." One of the biggest points that stuck with me is the "buzz kill" that online marketing, social media marketing, is going to come with a price.

What he means by this is that social media and some online practices were once thought of as "free marketing," but as more and more people sign on and get marketing, the more competition there is, so it's time to up the ante.

Mr. Weintraub said figuring out trends and staying current is hard enough for agencies that are completely dedicated to it, but especially for small shops—like many in the tire and automotive industry—it can be hard to find the right people. And if you do, it's hard to train and even harder to know what to train. However, the power of Google and other online practices are becoming more and more important.

"If you're not worried about Google, then you're asleep at the switch," Mr. Weintraub said about how powerful the Web browser is when it comes to marketing.

My take away points from the presentation:

1) Everyone should be on Google+, which is Google's social media site and can help with search engine optimization (SEO).

2) Content is everything you post about the business: online, social media, etc.

3) You need to have your content mobile-friendly. iPad or tablet friendly is not enough, it needs to be mobile-friendly.

4) Using sites like Datalogix come with a price, but can help target what you are looking for; and both sites are capable of matching up with Facebook.

Mr. Weintraub said with Facebook targeting and promoted posts, etc., understand what you are posting with your content. Paying for a promoted post will definitely expand your reach, but you'll want to pay attention to the engagement of it. He said, "You can (BS) reach, but you can't (BS) the reaction to it."

Meaning: You can always pay to extend the reach of a post, but you cannot pay for people to react to it.

The second session I went to was led by Brian Lewis of SiteTuners, a company dedicated to conversion rate optimization.

Mr. Lewis said that one of the biggest things about figuring out the common scenarios is to figure out the "roles and goals" of the customers coming to your site. He said user scenarios become the basis for the company home page design, information architecture and hierarchy of information.

You want to be thinking about what information the customer is looking for. For instance, a customer might just be coming to the site to look for a telephone number, email address or location information. How easily accessible is that information on the website?

To breakdown the roles of your visitors, think about who they are: buyers, influencers, gift givers, resellers, etc. What are their characteristics: impatient, value-conscious, needs to have the best, ultra-cautious and knowledgeable.

Their goals are important, too. Are they researching because they want to buy right away? Or just taking a look for some time in the future?

Brian said ultimately, you want to accomplish three things to help with your conversion: Construct your scenarios, evaluate your site and then re-design.

To construct the scenarios, you want to include everyone at the business who interacts with customers, so you get different perspectives. At the shop, you will want to include sales, marketing, customer service, etc. Any analytics of your website should be used and research of your competitor sites should be presented. Any surveys that customers have filled out should be looked over.

This is the type of information that your shop is going to want to assess while trying to make your website maximized for conversion.

Ultimately what I learned is, whether we are ready or not, things are always changing online and in social media and if we have not started to transition into this arena, then we are really missing out.

__________________________________________

Reporter Jennifer Karpus writes a regular series of blogs on social media for Tire Business.

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