Current Issue

BLOG: Part 2: Social media advice from the ITEC Internet Marketing Panel

Comments Email
Internet Marketing part 2
The Internet Marketing Panel at ITEC: Top Row: Ross McArthur, Jessica Coonan; Middle Row: Alpio Barbara; Bottom Row: Mark Gillard, Patrick Braswell

ORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 29, 2014) — My last social media post dived into content from the Internet Marketing Panel, moderated by Tire Business’ online manager Alaina Scott, at the recent 2014 International Tire Exhibition & Conference in Orlando.

There was so much content that I broke it up into two parts. Part 1 touched on ad retargeting, SEO and some troubles tire dealers face on social media.

Here are some additional questions the panel tackled:

  • What sites do you recommend for tracking your success with Internet marketing?

Multiple panelists stated Google Analytics is an important site to use while tracking Internet marketing.

Ross McArthur, director of sales and business development at Net Driven, said Google Analytics “is an incredibly powerful tool” because it allows you to see what is happening on your website from a consumer perspective. Meaning, the owner can see where consumers are coming to the website from, how many pages are being clicked on, how much time is being spent, etc. Additionally, keywords can be tracked. Ross said a business does not want to be found just by the name of the company but also through the different products it sells, etc.

This type of information can help someone decide where to spend advertisement money as well. For instance, if you are seeing there are a lot of searches coming from a neighboring town that you do not typically put a lot of advertising dollars into, you could easily adjust your ads to target that area.

Jessica Coonan, online community manager, Sullivan Tire & Auto Service, said the dealership uses Google Analytics for all those reasons, but also uses the HootSuite platform every day.

“We schedule a lot of our messages,” she said, including nights and weekends.

“I know time is an issue for a lot of people.”

This has been helpful for Sullivan Tire because the staff does not have to be at the computer all day long posting, and it also tracks company mentions on different social media sites. This can save time because it’s an organized way to keep up with people speaking about your company and being able to speak to them directly on each social media site through HootSuite.

HootSuite also has an automatic scheduler, she said, that can help determine the best time for you to post, which has been convenient for Sullivan Tire. HootSuite can be a free service or come at a charge, just depending on what you want to use it for.

I know for me, personally, I use HootSuite for the Tire Business accounts, but I also use it for my personal accounts as well. I love social media just as much as the next person—OK, if I am being honest, I probably love it more than the next person—but it’s just one part of my job, as it is for the rest of you. Being able to schedule posts definitely helps with time management.

  • How can dealers use social media to drive people to their website?

Having an online presence does not mean to just have a website. Or just to have a social media presence. It is about a company’s total online presence, and a big part of making it a success is how those aspects work together.

Jessica said Sullivan Tire does something really simple to make sure people who are following them on social media also visit its website: put website links on social media pages. This is true not only for its main website, but also any special landing pages for promotions, etc., so that people can easily click over and get more information.

Google Analytics has shown Sullivan Tire that Facebook and Twitter are both in the Top 10 for referrals for the website, she said, so this type of crossover has been a success.

Mark Gillard, Sullivan Tire's marketing and advertising manager, added that Sullivan uses different sites to cross-promote as well. For instance, if Sullivan Tire posts a new video on YouTube, it will promote it on Twitter.

Internet Marketing Panel ITEC
  • How do you convert Facebook friends and Twitter followers to customers?

This is one of the biggest questions I hear when it comes to social media, so I was glad that Alaina asked it to our experts. After all, while we understand social media is about brand building, it also matters how we then get those people in the door.

Mark from Sullivan Tire said that using the cross promotion tools he previously mentioned helps drives people to the dealership’s website, but there then there are some things you can do to keep people there. A good rule of thumb is that you want your website to be easy for consumers to use. For instance, a tire fitment guide is a great thing to have to keep people on your website, he said. Sullivan Tire also provides a Live Chat that has proven very popular. Although it is not available 24 hours a day, it is available for extended hours to help the consumer.

Alpio Barbara, president/owner, Redwood General Tire, said his company helps to engage with customers and stay current on what is going on in the community to assist with converting followers to customers.

Patrick Braswell, director of strategies initiatives, TCS Technologies, said that one of his personal favorite ways to see this conversion is not by looking at what the consumer sees, but more with what the company has on the backend. For instance, having its inventories listed online. If you choose to post prices on your website, he said to make sure they’re accurate because this will ultimately make the experience better and help get that customer in the door.

  • What kind of content do people need to be sharing?

Jessica said one of the rules Sullivan Tire stands by is the 70-20-10 rule. It is a breakdown on how to post content on your social media pages: 70 percent informative and fun; 20 percent re-sharing content from others and 10 percent promotion. People like to talk about the weather and sports, etc., she said, and that is why it is the largest portion of posting. It is really just about anything you would talk to someone face-to-face about. Sharing content is important because it helps engagement. The more you share from other people, the more likely they are to then share content from you as well.

One audience member said he has have seen the same advertisement over and over again. Jessica said this is part of why the 70-20-10 rule can be so important. If you are only doing 10 percent of your posts as promotional posts, then this will ensure you are not bombarding your audience with things just about you.

Mark added that you cannot be too sales-focused on social media because that will turn people off. One thing anyone can do is try to engage with social media influencers in your area and try to engage with them. If you create a relationship with them, they may even become brand ambassadors for you because people trust them.

Alpio said Redwood Tire likes to post a lot of trivia questions on Facebook and run contests on the site. Again, engaging with your community will make people see you are a part of it and can help get them in the door.

Ross said additionally, utilizing what is trending can be a great way to get in the conversation, such as the Ice Bucket Challenge or Coca-Cola having different names on their products. These were all over social media and it can help make you a part of something bigger.

If you are unsure on how to start a social media campaign, this can definitely help get you in the conversation. You do not have to overthink it—it can be simple.

  • What are some missteps on social media?

Patrick said that as a business, you really want to be focusing on engagement rates. While it is a big deal if someone unfollows you on Facebook—because it means you have done something to upset them—he said it does not happen that often. However, if your engagement rate starts to die down that means people are not continuing to engage with your company. It is important to know the platform you are posting on because that can be key to keeping up your engagement. You should not just be posting things all across all social media platforms because conversations are different on different sites.

Ross said one big misstep a company can do is to alienate people. It is best to stay away from anything political or religious on your business social media sites.

Patrick agreed, explaining that when one particular dealership started working with TCS, he looked to see what the company’s social media presence was. He saw that the company allowed various members of the staff, including someone who no longer worked there, to have manager access to the site. This could definitely lead to trouble because:

1.) There should be a social media strategy in place; and

2.) You open yourself up to a lot of trouble if anyone can post whatever they want — in the case of this dealership, most of the posts were jokes about women drivers.

Additionally, this same person who was posting was also in charge of the company’s Pinterest page, which is a hugely women-dominated site. These types of posts can completely alienate a lot of your customers (and potential customers), and is the type of behavior a company should shy away from on social media.

Mark said one thing to look out for is remembering the difference between your personal social media presence and the company that you post for. He said while he does not post negative things on his personal sites, the tone and the content that is being shared is different.

Some companies have gotten into trouble because someone said something they thought was on a personal page, so it is definitely something to look out for.

More Polls>

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
More Polls »