BLOG: Q&A with tire dealers on social media in 2015
AKRON — What are you looking forward to most on social media in 2015? What trends are you seeing? What sites are you using?
These are some of the questions I sought answers for from tire and automotive aftermarket dealers as we ended 2014 and continue Tire Business' social media blog in the new year. I wanted to hear from you. I reached out to the shops that were featured in the Best Posts of 2014 blog in December and got some great responses.
Featured in the Q&A blog are: Mike Miculinich, president of Auto Tech Centers Inc. of McHenry, Ill.; Kris Lowell, office manager at Eastern Tire & Auto Service of Rockland, Maine; VIP Tires & Service's social media intern Veronica Beaudoin; and Natalie N. Griffin, manager of Best-One Tire & Auto Care of Crossville, Tenn.
(Some of these answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.)
- What are you looking forward to most on social media for 2015?
Mr. Miculinich: "I'm most curious to see how Facebook advertising continues to grow in more effective ways and if they continue to attract the younger demographic. I heard some reports that they are losing the young subscribers. I'm also excited to see if they begin using their proposed payment system and how consumers react to that."
Ms. Lowell: "For our business, we are most looking forward to expanding our presence on Google+ and would like to have 1,200 Facebook likes by mid-2015. We will also be implementing text notifications for customers who want to receive appointment reminders, oil change reminders and their vehicles repair status via text message."
Ms. Griffin: "I'm most looking forward to the new age group engagement on social media. When social media first made its appearance in our business, it was to capture the under-30 consumer. I feel that it's no longer that way. I see the age and population of our customers on social media grow each day."
Ms. Beaudoin: "I'm really looking forward to seeing what direction social media is going to go in 2015. Social media is constantly changing and adapting. This time last year Foursquare was still a driver in location-focused social media; now it's barely on the radar. I think things are going to continue changing faster than ever. I hope that Twitter will begin rolling out actual analytics that will be available to brands like Facebook does. Considering the growth of Twitter, it would be about time for brands to get analytics that actually work."
- What trends you are seeing?
Mr. Miculinich: "I see Facebook and Twitter trying to leverage their large subscriber base to make money. Will they be able to take it to another level where people can make purchases? Transfer money to one another? How far will they take advertising without losing subscribers? How will new startups like Ello affect the social media landscape? I personally feel that these companies will be able to take that next step and it will affect how businesses approach social media. I think it will be interesting when these things occur and if that happens in 2015."
Ms. Lowell: "We are seeing more customers comfortable with social media as well as more comfortable in signing up for email offers. 2014 showed a large increase in the number of customers who are requesting tire and auto repair quotes online through our website vs. calling or stopping in. I love interpreting the data on Google Analytics that shows how everyone gets to the website, whether it is through Google Search or a tire manufacturer. I think a lot can be learned from the findings, especially when there are so many different avenues for advertising and online presences."
Ms. Griffin: "I'm seeing an increase in social media reviews as well as the age group of the social media user changing."
Ms. Beaudoin: "A trend I've been noticing in the last year is a movement, at least by brands on Facebook, toward more interactive posts. Brands are using Facebook and Twitter to cultivate relationships instead of purchases. People expect more from the brands that they follow, more than just the product or service the company provides. Consumers want information, giveaways, contests, etc., from the brands that they follow. This is a trend I think will continue and in new and exciting ways over the next few years and I'm curious to see how the trend will translate to different social media platforms."
- Which social media sites are you using? Are you looking to add any this year?
Mr. Miculinich: "Just Facebook. We still have not been able to attract a large following, and until we accomplish this, I don't think we will add any others. I manage it myself and it can be time consuming and I currently don't see enough return to justify the time or money spent to have others manage it. Until it's used as a search engine or we are able to sell merchandise to track our returns, I have a hard time investing more time or a larger budget toward social media."
Ms. Lowell: "We are currently on Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Google+. I have thought about implementing an Eastern Tire & Auto Service Pinterest pinboard as well as an Instagram account."
Ms. Griffin: "Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, and just added Instagram. As of now, I do not plan to add any others."
Ms. Beaudoin: "VIP Tires & Service is currently on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Foursquare and YouTube. In the next year I can't see us joining many more social media sites. If we could find a way to join Instagram with a sound strategy, we will, but I'm not sure how good of a fit it is for VIP's brand. I would, however, like to see more activity from VIP on YouTube. I think we might have a good place to generate content and provide something for our customers online. We'll see."
Want to know more from the questionnaire answers? Check out Previewing social media in the "2015 dealers' opinions" story to be posted on tirebusiness.com on Jan. 6.
Do you have an opinion about this story? Do you have some thoughts you'd like to share with our readers? Tire Business would love to hear from you. Email your letter to Editor Don Detore at [email protected].