Published on November 25, 2013 @ 3:09pm EST

BLOG: News you can use

By Jennifer Karpus, Tire Business staff

AKRON (Nov. 25, 2013) — One day I was speaking with my brother about how I work with social media, and he asked why the news media would be on Facebook or any other kind of social site.

I told him how social media for business is about engaging your audience, and that there are people who go on social media for news, so it makes sense for news organizations to be present.

Once he realized that the news I was referring to was more than just gossip, he understood. Sure, people use Facebook and other social media sites to post pictures of their babies or to share the newest recipe they want to try out, but there is much more, too.

They are sharing articles from legitimate news sources. Taking a gander over my personal page and what my friends are sharing, I see a news article about a celebrity death, a Huffington Post article about school mascots, a moving speech, tips for cat owners, information on an upcoming business webinar, etc. This might not be the news that appears on the TV screen everyday, but it's the information that people/consumers care about enough that they are sharing it with their friends.

This made more sense to my brother; he learned it is not just people talking — even though that is a part of it — but it is also about sharing actual news stories on things they care about.

So you might be thinking, but why should I care? Because the next time you wonder about what to post on your business' social media sites, maybe you will think about posting some news.

The data

As usual, I want to share some statistics for perspective. I came across this PewResearch Journalist Project report that explained what sites people are using for news.

The report stated: "Facebook is by far the largest social networking site among U.S. adults, and with half of its users getting news there, is also the largest among U.S. adults when it comes to getting news."

So basically, nearly 64 percent of U.S. adults use Facebook and half of those people get news from the site. YouTube and Twitter are also being accessed for news. Twitter reaches 16 percent of U.S. adults, and about half of them use the site to get news there.

Overall, has the most percentage of people getting news from it, at 62 percent; however, only 3 percent of the U.S. population are on the site. If you are looking at reaching a younger demographic, this could be a place to start. According to another Pew Research report, 6 percent of online adults use reddit, with 15 percent of male Internet users ages 18-29 accessing the site.

How to apply this

So what does all this mean?

We always talk about the 6:1 ratio and how to post six things for and about your customers/followers and one thing about you. Getting news stories out there that they would care about could help your shares and engagement.

For instance, are you a local independent tire dealer? Are there things going on in your community? That is a good place to start. A lot of people follow high school sports and other community events. We all know that getting involved with the community is one way to interact with your customers and this is just an extension of that.

I have seen some tire dealers post school closings due to weather conditions for their areas. This is great because they are showing they care about the community and sharing information that is important to them. Although this might not have to do with the tire industry, it is about the community and can make people feel like the business cares about them and understands what their needs might be.

Of course there also are things about the industry you can share. With winter winds and snows coming in, this is the perfect time of year to teach customers about winter car care. These types of tips are going on in the mainstream media, too. Even the Today Show recently had Jeff Rossen's Rossen Report speaking about the tire industry and how a vehicle's TPMS light can trigger and what that can mean.

As a tire dealer, you are the expert. So doesn't it make sense that you could be the person providing this type of information to your customers?

A lot of dealers are getting out this type of information by starting their own blogs on their websites. Once you start posting this information on the company's website and social media sites, you can start driving in-store customers there by letting them know what kinds of information they can access. That can help build your following.

Understanding your customer is an important business practice across the board, and social media is another avenue to think about.


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