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Consumers interacting online
Consumers interacting online

AKRON (March 3, 2014)—Infosys Ltd. recently produced a study stating that consumers interact more with retailers' Facebook pages more than company websites.

The study said 38 percent of consumers interact with retailers' Facebook pages, whereas 36 percent interact with brands' websites. Eighty-nine percent of those who interact with a retailer online through any social media outlet said the interaction has an impact on their purchase.

Some sites are more gender-focused, such as women being twice as likely as men to be influenced via Pinterest while men are twice as likely as women to be influenced by YouTube.

This got me thinking — is this true for the tire industry? What kinds of trends are happening right here in our industry? So I reached out to some industry members who have both an active online site and social media presence to see what kinds of responses they receive.

Robert Stahelski, marketing associate with Pete's Tire Barns Inc. of Orange, Mass., said that from an interactive standpoint, Facebook is definitely "where our customers interact with us the most." He said he sees more interaction from others in the tire industry on Twitter.

"I feel that websites, thanks to social media, have become more about information than interaction," Robert said.

Facebook and Twitter are places that Pete's Tire Barn can interact with its customers and get immediate feedback, he said, and is also a great way to learn what its customers are thinking and how they can be better served in the future.

"I would agree with the study," Robert continued, "that social media sites are where customers interact with companies more than the companies' actual websites."

Rachel Shropshire, marketing director for Levin Tire & Service Center — a dealership with seven retail stores in northwest Indiana — shared a similar sentiment.

"I agree that consumers interact more with retailer's Facebook pages than their website," she said.

"We have reviews, comments, clicks, and 'likes' on our Facebook page daily. While we have a high number of visits to our website, we don't get near the interaction that we do on our Facebook page."

While Levin Tire is active on a variety of sites, Rachel said Facebook gets almost all the interaction. The company website does have a "Contact Us" and "Rate Our Service" form, but it gets very little interaction.

Community Tire Pros & Auto Repair of Phoenix said it gets interaction both on its website and its social media presence, using the two entities to work together.

According to the company's online statistics, 77 percent of website visitors are new visitors. The majority of users arrive via organic search or direct and the rest through referral or through social media.

Pat Fleischmann, who coordinates Community Tire's social presence, said that customer service is more than a thank-you and smile at the counter in today's business model.

"It's not enough to put together a creative ad and hope it reaches that client's needs with that days' offering," she said.

Pat said strategic planning and keeping focused, along with a well-designed and user-friendly website is imperative.

"Keeping up with the vision of future ways of doing business is crucial, or you'll be left behind as well as your business."

She added: "Always keep in mind and at the forefront, your competitor is only one-click away."

 

 

Extending further into the industry, I checked with Falken Tire Corp.'s James Yim about how the tire manufacturer interacts with its customers.

He said Falken does not allow commenting or interaction, outside of an email form on the website, but gets a lot of interaction on Facebook and Twitter regarding new product requests or any issues.

"We feel users have become accustomed to using social media, to interact with brands," he added.

James said that Facebook and Twitter sort of differ in the ways that consumers are interacting with them.

"We find more technical and product availability questions come by way of Facebook Messaging. Twitter is a great way to announce a new product and a promotion like a rebate."

Facebook receives more technical questions, concerns, issues and praise about "product quality, handling, wear." These questions are forwarded to Falken's product and technical services department, James said, to handle directly. In comparison, Twitter has more casual interactions.

As far as the company website, James said website traffic is drawing more people looking for features, attributes and sizing, as well as a local tire dealer. However, from a direct interaction standpoint, there is not much interaction on the company's website.

"The digital space is ever-evolving, and user habits shifts constantly," James said.

"Most of our consumer promotions and interactions are announced on Social Media. We can reach so many more people, in a shorter amount of time, with direct and measurable results."

He added that a lot of Falken's associate dealers are actually fans of the tire manufacturer's social pages and get some of the most up-to-date information that way.

What this teaches us is that social media is getting even more embedded into the business platform. In some cases, it's not just one way of communicating with its consumers, but a major way.

Extending further into the industry, I checked with Falken Tire Corp.'s James Yim about how the tire manufacturer interacts with its customers.

He said Falken does not allow commenting or interaction, outside of an email form on the website, but gets a lot of interaction on Facebook and Twitter regarding new product requests or any issues.

"We feel users have become accustomed to using social media, to interact with brands," he added.

James said that Facebook and Twitter sort of differ in the ways that consumers are interacting with them.

"We find more technical and product availability questions come by way of Facebook Messaging. Twitter is a great way to announce a new product and a promotion like a rebate."

Facebook receives more technical questions, concerns, issues and praise about "product quality, handling, wear." These questions are forwarded to Falken's product and technical services department, James said, to handle directly. In comparison, Twitter has more casual interactions.

As far as the company website, James said website traffic is drawing more people looking for features, attributes and sizing, as well as a local tire dealer. However, from a direct interaction standpoint, there is not much interaction on the company's website.

"The digital space is ever-evolving, and user habits shifts constantly," James said.

"Most of our consumer promotions and interactions are announced on Social Media. We can reach so many more people, in a shorter amount of time, with direct and measurable results."

He added that a lot of Falken's associate dealers are actually fans of the tire manufacturer's social pages and get some of the most up-to-date information that way.

What this teaches us is that social media is getting even more embedded into the business platform. In some cases, it's not just one way of communicating with its consumers, but a major way.

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TB Reader Poll

Previous | Published March 18, 2019

Where can you expect to see the most growth in 2019?

Tire sales
45% (34 votes)
General automotive service
15% (11 votes)
Brakes, shocks and other undercar services
7% (5 votes)
Add-on business
15% (11 votes)
Anywhere we can get it.
19% (14 votes)
Total votes: 75
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