Category Archives: Strategy

Driving Customers Away: Bad Marketing Is Not Simply Ignored – Use Social Logins to Get Better Data

Driving Customers Away: Bad Marketing Is Not Simply Ignored 

Automotive Consumers Don’t Just Ignore Irrelevant Marketing Messages from Car Dealers… They Take Action!

Almost all car buying consumers and service customers claim to have received information or promotions from a car dealer that were not relevant to them. This includes offers that show the dealer doesn’t know who they are (71%). Dealers are also guilty of sending mixed, or inconsistent information across different methods of communication (51%). Many times, the dealer’s messaging includes basic errors about the consumers’ identities (41%).

A new Janrain and Blue Research report details out the data in newly-released survey results touting the benefits of social login. In response, more than 9 in 10 respondents have developed an unfavorable attitude to the dealership or taken some kind of action to limit the messaging.

Specifically, 94% of respondents reported taking at least one of these actions in response to a dealership that consistently mis-targeted them in their marketing efforts:

  • Automatically deleted the emails (68%);

  • Unsubscribed from emails (54%);

  • Categorized emails as “junk” or “spam” (45%);

  • Became less likely to buy products (29%);

  • Visited the website less frequently (13%); and

  • Never visited the website again (10%).

Apparently, it only takes a couple of missteps to turn off a sizable proportion of automotive consumers: almost half said they automatically delete emails or categorize them as “junk” after being mis-targeted twice; 38% unsubscribe after receiving two mis-targeted emails.

 

Use Social Media To Build A Better Database

By delivering data that can be used by auto industry marketers to personalize their communications, social account profile and login based campaigns can avoid these pitfalls, per the researchers, who indicate that 9 in 10 respondents have encountered social login at some point and half use it.

Among Social Login Users, 9 in 10 are Satisfied with the Experience

The primary reasons for consumers to use social logins being faster registration (65%) and one less password to remember (50%). That brings to mind a survey released early last year by Janrain and Harris Interactive, which found that 88% of online adults don’t like being asked to register on a website, with 51% of those turned off by the idea of having to remember another user name or password.

Interestingly, though, social login use is currently not driven by a desire for more personalization; only 12% said they chose social login to “ensure websites are more personalized.” That either implies a lack of awareness of the benefit among consumers, or that they simply are not as enamored by website personalization as they say they are.

Privacy Concerns Obviously Play a Role

Among those not using social login, half say a primary reason is a lack of trust in the company to use their data appropriately, with one-third concerned that the company will post to their feed, and 1 in 6 concerned that the company will spam them or their contacts.

Automotive Consumers May Not Be Convinced of the Value Exchange

In a study released late last year by Forbes Insights and Turn, only 2% of B2C customers said they believe they benefit more than companies when sharing their data, and a majority indicated that their privacy concerns outweigh benefits from sharing information.

Some reassurance would no doubt help: according to the Janrain study, respondents would be most likely to respond to reassurances that the dealership will not contact others in their social network… Sending advertising messages to a customer’s 300 Facebook Friends is not something that automotive consumers seem to warm up to. These same consumers also want to know that their information would only be used to personalize their experience. Sending free trials, gift cards or promotions won’t do the trick for many.

The survey finds that in general, “consumers see value in personalization enabled by social login.” However, the results require a slightly closer look. For example, the study indicates that “60% find suggested products/promotions based on profile info useful.” However, respondents were deemed to find this “useful” if they rated its utility anywhere from a 5 to a 10 on a 10-point scale. (One would imagine that those rating it a 5 would be quite neutral on the topic.)

Even with this rather broad view of “usefulness,” only a minority of respondents would allow mobile phone apps to offer special “Dealership Offers” (49%) or would like suggestions based on their social media account profile info (44%), among others.

About the Data: The data is based on a national survey of 594 adults, most of whom (55%) fell into the 35-64 age range.

Source 1: Marketingcharts.com/consumers-dont-just-ignore-irrelevant-messaging

Source 2: Janrain.com/increase-lead-conversion-social-login-your-site

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

How MySpace Started Its Rebirth by Alienating Its Most Loyal Customers

How MySpace Started Its Rebirth by Alienating Its Most Loyal Customers

  How MySpace Started Its Rebirth by Alienating Its Most Loyal Customers

MySpace was, in many people’s opinion, the social network to be on for many years. In fact, in 2006, MySpace surpassed Google as the most visited website in the United States. The decline of MySpace began in 2008 as Facebook rose in popularity and became the newest social network of preference for many. MySpace’s user base has since declined from a peak user base of 125 million to its present day membership (as of June 2013) of 25 million. In 2011, a group which included singer Justin Timberlake, purchased MySpace and they vowed to revive the network.

MySpace has been focusing on attracting business presence and musical talent in addition to revamping the look and feel of their site. It appears that in order to achieve their goal, they felt it was necessary to delete “user blogs which had been maintained for upwards of six or more years,” according to this recent article in SocialNewsDaily.

While many users abandoned MySpace in the mass exodus that occurred between 2008 until now, these users remained loyal and continued to visit and use the site to record and share their daily thoughts and activities. This of course angered those fans that remained loyal; not just because of the loss of six or more years of their digital life; (which some users maintain as sort of a digital diary) but because they felt as if they are unimportant to the site they remained loyal to.

As one user wrote, “You have stolen six years of blogs and something that is priceless to me and cannot be replaced.”

MySpace has a long way to go and a definite uphill battle in its attempt to gain back market share and attention away from other more popular sites. By alienating their most loyal customers and deleting their loyal user’s content, they may have taken a huge step backwards. Big business and music talent certainly want publicity but what good is a social network that has no audience?

While MySpace may yet have to acquiesce and restore the blogs of their customers, they did at least recognize the importance of their customer base, even if only in words, when they made the following statement:

“Change isn’t easy and there has been a lot going on lately. We understand that this information is very important to you. Please understand that your blogs have not been deleted. Your content is safe and we have been discussing the best ways possible to provide you your blogs.”

The point is that loyal customers are the foundation of any business. Building your business on a solid foundation is extremely important. By threatening the instability of that foundation, MySpace may find itself in a position whereby the companies they want to attract have no reason to be there. A social network is, after all, not social if nobody’s at the party. Similarly, no business can survive without customers.

Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Erin Ryan Shows Simplified Version of Adding Google Author Rank to Your Blog

A Simplified Version of Adding Your Google Author Rank to Your Blog from Erin Ryan and the Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

A Simplified Version of Adding Your Google Author Rank to Your Blog

Anyone who is not SEO savvy or a coder may encounter difficulty when wanting to add your Google Author Rank to your blog.

There are tons, and I mean TONS of articles out there that try to tell you how to add it in a difficult way and after sorting through it myself, I thought a simplified version of how-to add your Google Author Rank to your blog was necessary.

Firstly, you must know that you need to have a Google+ account prior to claiming a Google Author Rank as it will verify your blog and help it get seen more and allow you to be recognized as an author by also putting a face to the name by adding your associated picture.

As your blog should be setup as a Google+ Business page and your blog’s URL is inputted, you will see a button that reads “link website”. This is when it gets a little complicated; a code will then appear and tell you to add it to the Head of your blog, which is great, if you knew where that was.

Let’s be honest, most of us bloggers, blog to blog. We are writers, artists and right-brained. Asking us to touch our Editor section within our theme is like asking us to do math without a calculator. Since each theme on WordPress varies it makes it even more difficult to locate. On this blog for example, I use the Intrepidity Theme which is not as straight-forward as to where everything is as perhaps Genesis does but is a great theme nonetheless.

After much hoping and wishing and copying and pasting without messing up the code. I finally found that it verified my website once I posted it within the home.php section of the WordPress editor for my theme prior to the end code.

What My Page Code Looked Like:

a href=”Your Page Generated URL” rel=”publisher”>Google+</a>

After jumping for joy and seeing the green checkmark appear on my G+ page (not profile). I then went and added the + sign before my name and hyperlinking it with the URL to my G+ profile (not page) with the ending including real=author…I know sounds foreign right?

Here is what it should look like when hyperlinking first you add +Your Name and then hyperlink it with

Google+ Profile URL HEREposts?rel=author

The Code needed:

<a href=”Google+ Profile URL HEREposts?rel=author“>+Your Name</a

Once it is clicked on you should be directed to your Google Plus Profile. You are now able to use that code in any author box or bio no matter the site you are writing on. You can see exactly what I mean by looking at my author bio below.

[NOTE: It will take a few days before you will begin seeing your image next to your writings]

You will need to preferably use an author box for the coding, since this works easiest. Secondly be sure to verify your Author Rank via e-mail and check through the Google Webmaster Tool. Make sure you follow the directions exactly.

Now Exhale.

[Google Author Rank image via 4mat]

via A Simplified Version of Adding Your Google Author Rank to Your Blog – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Car Dealers Must Respond To Millennials On Social Media – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Car Dealers Must Respond To Millennials On Social Media

Millennial Car Buyers to OEM’s and Dealers:
Respond When You’re Being Spoken… “About”

An example of this confusion and possibly a double standard when it comes to online monitoring is that roughly 6 in 10 respondents aged 18-54 want companies to listen to what they say about them online (4 in 10 of the 55+ crowd). While at the same time, about half of the survey’s respondents think that consumers should be able to talk about companies online without those companies listening in. This desire for privacy increases for the 55+ age group, of which 59% do not want companies seeing what they post about them online.

But wait… There’s more (confusion) in these survey results!

Between half and two-thirds of respondents want companies to respond when they’re being discussed online, while the same survey reports that more than 6 in 10 also say that companies should only respond to online comments made directly to them (i.e. on their Facebook page, tweeted to them, etc.) You should download the PDF file of the report and take a look… In my opinion, what we are seeing is the variance based on where and what types of social media these comments are being made that reference a car company, make or dealership by name.

In an attempt at trying to poke fun at their own report’s findings, the authors note that the takeaway for automotive marketers and others who handle social media strategy is that they should be “telepathic.” Perhaps “empathetic” would be a better choice of words and not so much in jest… The next-best advice given is for marketers to:

  • Automotive Social Marketers should go beyond listening
  • Try to understand what consumers are saying
  • Consider the conversation’s context  
  • Deliver mutual value when engaging  
  • Show how listening can be a relationship-building tool rather than an intrusion

 

Other Findings:

  • Despite holding all these varied opinions about social media privacy, less than three-quarters of respondents (ranging from 62% of 18-24-year olds to 72% of 45-54-year-olds) know that car companies  or dealership employees might be listening to what they’re saying online.
  • Roughly 4 in 10 respondents aged 18-54 feel that dealerships and car companies listening to online conversations are intruding. That rises to 54% among the 55 and over demographic.
  • Attitudes regarding whether companies should monitor online conversations to improve products and services vary significantly among age groups, ranging from 40% agreement for the 18-24 set, to 57% for the 45-54 group, and back down to 37% for the 55+ set.
  • Slightly more respondents believe that a company should respond to them if they make a negative remark about the company in an online post than if they make a positive remark about a company in an online post.

About the Data: J.D. Power and Associates, in association with NetBase, conducted a survey in December 2012 of 1,062 U.S. consumers ages 18–55+.

Data Source: Marketingcharts.com/millennials-to-brands-respond-when-youre-being-…

eBook Source: info.netbase.com/SocialListeningeBook.html

Download the Social Listening and Big Brother eBook by NetBase and J.D. Power and Associates:  NetBase JDPower Listening and Privacy eBook.pdf 

  

BONUS CONTENT:

How Does a Car Dealership Create a Structured Response Process? 

In regards to the process around a dealership monitoring and then responding to online blogs, comments, posts and discussions where the dealership is brought up or mentioned, I started developing a process and work flow while launching the ADP Social Media Reputation Management Team in 2009 and 2010.  The work flow process chart shown below is based on something I saw published by the US Military in regards to how the Air Force responds to online comments and blog posts. 

When I left ADP and went to work for Tier10 Marketing at the beginning of 2011, we revised and upgraded the work flow planning for better results and more production efficiency. The chart below reflects the Tier10 Marketing version of what we recommended:

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Branding versus Marketing on Facebook

Branding versus Marketing on Facebook

Facebook Logo

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that Facebook (and social media in general) is a communication tool. It’s a way for businesses to connect with customers and a safe venue through which customers and potential customers can interact with your business.

With that said, let’s look at the other two primary functions of Facebook: marketing and branding. Both are similar. Both are categories that can mean different things to different people and businesses. While it’s definitely possible to do both well on Facebook at the same time, the safer and less time-intensive strategy would be to pick one or the other as the primary goal (outside of communication, of course).

Here are the two basic options. There will be those who will say that it’s being oversimplified, but this isn’t a tutorial. It’s a way to distinguish between the two so that a business can make an intelligent decision about which mindset to take in their efforts. Once the mindset is established, the strategies can form.

Facebook for Branding

This is becoming the more common practice among businesses because it is more open in form and more singular in goal. More importantly, using Facebook as a marketing tool is considered by many to be harder (depending on your business type, of course). Many, particularly those who are engaged with individual customers on a daily basis such as car dealers and realtors will opt for this approach because it gives them the freedom to simply be entertaining or informative without having to put the time into crafting an appropriate marketing strategy.

It’s the easy road, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any less rewarding.

Using Facebook for branding is all about getting your name, logo, and general message out there. The general message is often abstract – it’s not talking about a sale or a particular product but rather trying to convey a company attitude with the message.

This strategy can use popular images, interesting (and sharable) facts, or funny concepts to will encourage liking and sharing. While some take the road of using ideas that are completely off topic, I’m a firm believer that it’s possible to stay focused on either the local area, the industry, or both with every post. In other words, a car dealer shouldn’t be posting pictures of cats. They should be posting pictures of cars, videos of cars, and images or discussions about the local area.

The branding message is easier to spread because it doesn’t involve marketing. There’s no goal of direct conversions or clicks to the website. It’s all about getting the brand out there as much as possible.

The downside, of course, is in proving ROI. Without direct marketing applied to the messages, it’s a leap of faith that by getting interaction and engagement around content that does not lead directly to a lead or a sale but that keeps the name and logo of the business in mind, that there are intangible benefits that are happening.

Facebook for Marketing

Unlike using Facebook for branding, the marketing strategy is trickier. It’s easier to mess up. There’s a risk of actually doing damage to the Facebook account by being too “spammy” with the posts. Those who are not ready to take a little heat on their path to get more conversions should not even go down this road.

However, if your goal is to achieve demonstrable ROI and take what you can today in a concrete manner, this is the right approach. It will rely on Facebook ads. There’s no way around it – unless you’re marketing something that resonates while also being productive such as a funny T-Shirt company, you’re very unlikely to get away with a hardcore marketing message without the use of ads.

Thankfully, Facebook ads are cheap.

Using a marketing strategy on Facebook does not mean that it’s all business. While some I have spoken to on the subject (including a VP at Facebook) have said that businesses can find success by only posting once or twice a week and promoting those marketing posts, I’ve found that a mix of interesting or entertaining content with the marketing messages can be beneficial.

People aren’t going to Facebook to see marketing messages, so yours has to be truly valuable. It’s not about putting up a picture of a car and calling that marketing. It’s about generating messages that they can only get through Facebook. For example, having Facebook-only sales events can be effective with next to zero risk. If people come to the store as a result, awesome! If they do not, then the expenditure was minimal. If they aren’t successful, you shouldn’t give up. You simply need to tweak the message, adjust the advertising, or go through a series of “fun” posts to set up the marketing posts properly.

Don’t Forget Communicating

Regardless of which path you choose, remember the number one rule: Facebook (and social media in general) is about communication. It’s about talking to your customers and having them talk to you. It’s about giving them a venue through which you can be completely open about your business and hold public conversations with unsatisfied customers as well as the happy ones.

Which way fits best with your business? That’s the only real question you need to ask to get started down the right path.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

English: Graph of social media activities

English: Graph of social media activities (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Content Marketing – Automotive Professional Community

Content Marketing – Automotive Professional Community

 

Content Marketing

Local Small Businesses or Fortune 500 firms alike, that plan on using Content Marketing as part of their overall Online Strategy must challenge themselves in developing a campaign that underlines the outreach of useful information through accessible channels for maximum conversion.

Before any Content is created there are 4 influential steps in developing your Content Marketing Strategy. 

  1. Research
  2. Editorial Calendar
  3. Content Creation
  4. Distribution

Research : 

As with any strategy, the most important course of action is research. A lot of research is the best way to grasp a hold of who your readers are and will be. You need to think in terms of who your audience and what websites do they visit and often engage with.When you are thinking of your audience it is important to note the target demographic and their particular behaviors.

One of the best tools in performing content marketing research is Google’s Keyword Tool. Using this tool will allow you to learn about what keywords drive your industry nationally as well as locally. Most Small Business Owners do not know even this even exists but with a little elbow grease you can achieve 1st Page RankingsYou want to think of Keywords as your way of maximizing your contents:  

“Search Engine Visibility”. 

Social Media Marketing is playing a major force in how Content Marketing is being shaped. Being able to listen in on conversations is a great way to stay ahead of the curve. Social Listening is just that, it allows you to see fill in the, “Content Gaps”.

It is important to create a content marketing editorial calendar to plan your communications to current and prospective customers.

The 2nd step in your Content Marketing Strategy includes laying out what your message will be based on the day, the month and your mood.

1. Remember The Past

First thing first, you are going to need to do a little research and see what has worked before and what has not worked before, for your company and in your industry. 

Before you start piecing your content calendar together,
 you need to ask these questions:

What type of content did you deliver this year?
What method of content distribution did you use?
Next ask yourself in a quiet room, What Worked…and What Truly Failed ?

The Future is always Tomorrow but the seeds are to be planted today. 

By thinking about where you’ve been the next logical step is to think about where you will go next. Deciding the next 12 months content road map is a difficult process. As you envision where your company will be in the next year, you can think of the content marketing calendar as your guide – a month to month breakdown of what your online marketing and offline collateral efforts will consist of.

So here you are, asking yourself a few more questions in a quiet room,

  • Where do you see your business in the the future?
  • Where do you see your business in a year?
  • What type of clients do you want to service and help?
  • Are there new services that you can offer for more sales?
  • Are you doing everything you can to build your database?
  • Is your staff properly trained in conveying your brands’ message?
  • Can you see new opportunities that you may have overlooked?

2. Tag Team,  You Are It – Idea Brainstorm

Gather a group of your employees in a meeting room and meet with for a purpose. Depending on how big your company is you will have different teammates from different sectors. For our purpose we will talk about a small business – owner, manager, creative, etc. – anyone you think of value who would add insight into how you could best build content for your business. Maybe your accountant or your janitor.

You never know who might be creative. 

The Idea Brainstorm, is a perspective that will not only create a spark but will give you the opportunity to see it from their view, from their – “Panoramic Point of View” – you not only see it from their shoes, but also see through their eyes. This Idea Brainstorm not only gives you ideas from which to pull content from but but also an opportunity to hear what your employees are saying. There are times when a group gets together and becomes energetic. This energy sometimes produces ideas that generate millions of dollars.

Always be listening.   

 

Remember, this is a session where ideas can be different and formless, go with the flow and allow different people to communicate. Whoever is in charge, ultimately guides the Idea Brainstormand directs it to stay on course for time restraints.  This person will ideally be in charge of gathering all the raw ideas after the session, and creating a structure within the calendar template.

Questions for yourIdea Brainstorm

What content would I like to see if I was a customer?
What are we missing that we can improve on?
What content will be created  (i.e.pr, social media, graphics, video, local seo marketing,  interviews, etc.)
Any old content you can re-hash for the upcoming year?
What new methods of distribution can be more effective?
Is there a way to integrate offline marketing in to online traffic?
Who is going to write the content?

3. The Editorial Calendar Plan

So you have met with your teammates and gathered intelligence on how to effectively build the proper content that markets to the correct demographic. So now is the time to start working on the calendar. You can start with a simple piece of paper and jot down the day.

If any holidays are in that month make sure to note that and also note it three weeks ahead. In fact, lets go ahead and mark holidays with the colour blue or any colour you desire. 

Some people recommend using a monthly calendar, but to be honest the best possible and effective way to to use content marketing is to look as far ahead as up to 12 months. This will give you a specific plan for the year you can relate to whenever.

Add the info to the Content Marketing Calendar

Take your monthly sheet of paper from step 3 and start with the first day. Plot your information on the calendar as well as online for maximum usage. You want to be consistent as well as keep the info simple and direct. Remember to add Conferences, Bills, Holidays, Birthdays and any other information that may provide content.

Repeat this for Each Month (12x)

Now that you content scheduled for each month, this will allow you to automate some of your online marketing using a service like Sendible or Aweber. This will save you future time but also give you more time to do more social engagement online.

What’s great about your Automated Social Marketing, is that you can schedule what information you want posted on what day and on what page.

It also can determine the frequency as well as where the information gets distributed to.

As long as you are prepared with a constant stream of content built up, this will help you on the Search Engines. You will be providing your customers and potential clients, a formal introduction as to who you are and the type of information that can formulated from strategy base on your business.

 

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

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7 Things to Accomplish in Social Media in 2013

7 Things to Accomplish in Social Media in 2013

2013

A new year represents beginnings. It is a time to reflect on what was missed and make plans for improvement. This year is going to be a crucial one for many businesses with uncertainty in the economy, fluctuation in the social media sphere, and an awakening that is happening for many that social media is here to stay and is something that they need to master.  Competition is getting stronger thanks to this awakening.  It’s no longer an option to try out social media. The test drive phase is over. Either you’re in or you’re out. If you’re in, here are some things that you should strive to accomplish in 2013 that will make your social media strategy shine above the competitors:

  1. Get on the Google+ bandwagon before it becomes a bandwagon – In 2011, I said that Google+ had potential. In 2012, it started showing signs of having influence over searches, placement of reviews in the local section, and an increased engagement level on the social networking component itself. In 2013, it will go from an option to a “must have”. We saw this sort of necessity budding with Facebook in 2008 and Twitter in 2009. Google+ is different because it’s accelerating faster than any of its predecessors. Get going now or you may fall terribly behind.
  2. Make quality content the highest goal for website improvement – We’ve discussed it several times over the last few months and we’ll continue to discuss it for as long as it remains important. High-quality content is the key to both search and social more than it has even been in the past. Unique, important, entertaining, and informational content that can get the inbound links and social shares to your website can be your secret weapon in 2013.
  3. Consolidate your social media posting strategies – This is a challenging one to discuss and deserves its own blog post in the near future. There’s a difference between posting the exact same content to all of your social profiles and pages at the same time and consolidating the strategies in a way that will make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. It’s not that you will cross-post everything you have. It’s that you’ll want to make sure that everything from website content to Facebook posts to Pinterest pins are pointing in the same strategic direction.
  4. Get visual – The written word is harder to promote than the visual message. All of the major social networks love images. Most hate links. That doesn’t mean that you can’t try to make links a part of the message, but all too often it’s the only part. This has to change in 2013.
  5. Post higher quality instead of more often – If given the choice between crafting and promoting a single piece of content on Facebook and Google+ that truly resonates with the communities or posting a lot of good but not great content, I’ll take the former every time. Your posts have to pop or they’ll go nowhere.
  6. Grow your targeted following ONLY – There was a time when it was okay to get a boost on followers by targeting the whole world. It’s easier to get local followers to a big account than one that is tiny. Things have changed, though, and now it can actually damage the effectiveness of your accounts by being too large with untargeted followers. Tighten it up, prune when necessary, and stop trying to inflate your numbers.
  7. Build a true personality with your social profiles and stick with it – This is not a call to become the cat-picture poster of Facebook. There are plenty of those. It’s a call for businesses to personalize, to make sure that there is humanity within their social media posts. It could be regular promotions of a local charity, funny videos made by the business that can quickly become “a thing”, or just staying business-focused but with a real person expressing real ideas and offering real advice in their industry.

It’s hard to limit this list to 7. I actually had to cut off three of the tips I was going to give because they were too hard to try to fit into a list; they deserve individual blog posts of their own.There are so many other things that businesses should do in 2013 to make their social media shine like never before, but it’s better to start with a handful of achievable goals rather than be flustered by the failure of taking on too much at once. If you do these things, you’ll get better this year.Thankfully, nothing on the list is that hard.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

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Dealers Should Post Fewer Links and More Interactions, Text, and Images on Twitter

Dealers Should Post Fewer Links and More Interactions, Text, and Images on Twitter

Twitter Links

The automation of Twitter for businesses continues to become the norm.

As micro-blogging, interaction, and expression get replaced by RSS feeds, Facebook feeds, and post scheduling that is all dominated by links, links, and more links, the power of Twitter is being replaced by the easy alternatives to actually, well, using the service.

This is a huge mistake for most. There are some who are simply overwhelmed by social media and internet marketing in general and anything that they can check off their list with minimal or zero effort is a good thing. For those who actually want to find success on Twitter, it’s not going to work with zero effort. Thankfully, Twitter is a platform that can work very well with minimal effort. There has to be some, just not a ton.

Post fewer links

When I first started using Twitter over five years ago, the site was loaded with communication. Links were in fewer than 20% of the Tweets in my feeds. It was mostly about, “look at what I’m doing here” or “I really like pickles”. Now, links dominate Tweets. For news sources and other publications, this is fine. For super-active accounts that talk to people regularly, this is fine. For businesses who are not super-popular on social media, links should be used sparingly.

Again, it comes down to time. If you simply don’t have the time to come up with 3 or 4 good, solid unlinked Tweets, interactions with everyone who reaches out to you, and proactive interactions with new people the way a proper Twitter strategy should look, then getting something out there on a regular basis is better than going completely stagnant. The effectiveness of the “bail out” strategy is minimal, but if it’s all that you can afford from a time perspective, so be it.

It’s it’s at all possible to tone down the links and get truly engaging with your posts, you’ll get much more out of the service for your business.

Talk to people

It would have been hard to imagine in the days when I was first getting started on Twitter that there would be a need to give this advice, but that need is here. Twitter is first and foremost a communication tool. Most businesses are using it strictly for broadcasting. The paradox that many fail to understand is that if you talk about yourself less and talk about others more, your messages about yourself will reach a greater number of people. In many ways, it’s about earning the right to broadcast.

Those who use Twitter regularly can smell a feed-driven Twitter account in seconds. They can tell when an account is strictly being used to broadcast and when it’s truly being used for communication. When someone is strictly broadcasting, they better be a publication like Mashable or a celebrity like Oprah Winfrey or the message simply won’t be heard.

Here are some quick ways to establish that you’re communicating on Twitter rather than broadcasting:

  1. Send @ – If you’re a standard business account that is getting a handful of interactions directed at you per day, reply to all of them. If you’re more popular, reply to the ones that are personalized. In other words, no need to reply to retweets unless the sender added their two cents to the conversation.
  2. Retweet often – A decent account should retweet 5+ times a day. A more active account can get away with fewer but should be retweeting at least once a day. This isn’t the “RT @…” style, though those should be worked in as well. These are the direct retweets by pushing the retweet button directly from Twitter. This is important because it adds different avatars to your stream. When visitors see that you’re retweeting others, they’ll be more likely to assume that you’re actually listening to the outside world rather than working inside your own little Twitter broadcasting box.
  3. Start or join conversations – You’re an expert in your industry. You can chime in on conversations that are happening regarding your industry, your local area, or even the world in general. That doesn’t mean that you should butt in and start spreading your wisdom in one-on-one conversations, but it does mean responding to people’s Tweets or even starting the conversation with them directly. You can see in their Twitter streams whether they’re replying to people or not. Be sure that if you start a conversation, it’s with someone who will reply back to you.
  4. Split your times up – This is all very easy stuff, but doing it all in one block per day isn’t the best way to do it. It’s better than nothing, but the preferred method would be to do it at least twice a day. A best practice is to do it first thing in the morning when you’re done checking your morning emails and then again shortly after lunch. You don’t want to do it at the end of the day unless you’ll be checking your stream from home in the evening because you’ll want to be timely with your responses when people engage back at you.

Once you’ve established that you communicate properly through Twitter, you’ll have room to post occasional self-serving links. If all you post is links, your message will get lost in the mix.

Post pictures and unlinked text

Twitter has a great filter feature for mobile images. Use it. Before we recommended Instagram but that didn’t work out so well, so Tweeting images directly through the Twitter mobile app works great.

If you use Buffer or any of the other posting tools that upload images directly to Twitter (Hootsuite doesn’t do this, FYI), scheduling images through a PC is another way to get your feed flowing with engaging content. It’s not as good as mobile uploads as people love to see real pictures taken by real people associated with the business, but it’s definitely better than nothing.

Text posts are great as well. They can be sayings, quotes, opinions, or anything that has nothing other than possibly hashtags linking out from the Tweet. This is particularly useful when posting about local area events and asking questions. One note: if you do ask questions designed to get a response from your followers, be sure that you’re available to respond to their answers. Don’t drop a question in the queue and walk away. Again, timeliness is important, even for a business Twitter account.

Twitter is the one component of social media strategies that has been botched by most over the years. It’s hard to get real followers. It’s harder to get real engagement.

It can, however, prove to be extremely useful if you put the effort into it. Again, and I cannot stress this enough, the effort that’s required to take a Twitter account from decent to great really isn’t that much. It’s for this reason that if you have a little extra time every day, Twitter is a good investment of it.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Twitter Cards Make Video Marketing Easy as 1-2-3 Tweet! – Automotive Social Media Professionals

Twitter Cards Make Video Marketing Easy as 1-2-3 Tweet!

Joe Schwartz

Joe Schwartz Describes How “Twitter Cards” Are Making Video Marketing Much Easier for Car Dealers

Twitter Video Cards

Twitter Video Cards

When marketers think of social media as a promotional channel, Facebook continues to be the network of choice. Of course, this trend may be the result of people sticking to a platform that feels safe. After all, Facebook remains the largest and most influential social platform on the web today, so much so that it claimed the most-searched term award for the fourth year in a row.

Twitter Users
Twitter Users

But other social networks shouldn’t be ignored, especially with sites like Twitter implementing new features regularly. According to eMarketer’s “US Digital Media Usage: A Snapshot of 2013,” Twitter user-ship grew significantly in 2012, but only 15 percent of the U.S. online population will engage on Twitter next year. Therefore, brands that want to drive traffic from a variety of social channels must learn how to engage users on whatever network they prefer. For many people, Twitter remains the most influential social hub, and brands may discover that video content thrives on this platform. 

According to the source, Twitter’s user base increased by 14.2 percent in 2012 to reach 36.3 million monthly active members. To reach those prospective and current customers, brands must develop social media marketing campaigns that make branded content enjoyable and simple. With Twitter Cards, video marketing may be the easy solution.

Online Video Viewers
Online Video Viewers

According to eMarketer, online view viewers reached 178.7 million people in 2012 to make up 56 percent of the nation’s population, and 73 percent of American internet users. As for mobile video viewers, 73.3 million people watched video content via their mobile devices in 2012, reaching 22.9 percent of the country’s population and 29.6 percent of mobile phone users. Thirty-one percent of the U.S. population and 40.4 percent of U.S. internet users viewed visual media from their tablet devices this year, making video content marketing a necessary practice for many brands.

With Americans using Twitter more often this year and video media becoming a prominent marketing material, businesses that want to build brand exposure and grab consumers’ attention must produce consistent visual content, and publish output on the microblogging site. Together, video marketing and social media marketing may drive higher conversions in the new year, and help marketers reach new audience segments online.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Twitter Compliment Card

Twitter Compliment Card (Photo credit: 13stock)

Official Facebook Best Practices Guide for Car Dealers – Automotive Social Marketing Professionals

Official Facebook Best Practices Guide for Car Dealers

Facebook Best Practices Guide for Car Dealerships
 
Increasingly, social media influences how we buy and own cars. On Facebook, car dealerships can reach in-market consumers through their news feeds and friends.

 
Download the official Facebook best practices guide and learn how to:

  • Create a Facebook page for your car dealership
  • Get more fans to like your business on Facebook
  • Engage Your audience with high quality content
  • Drive more car sales with our most recent solutions
Are you an automotive professional who is new to Facebook?
 
ADM Professional Community Members can download the PDF file of the Facebook Best Practices Guide for Car Dealers by “right clicking” and choosing your browser’s equivalent of “Save As” here:

Source: Facebook recently created a “Facebook Best Practice Guide” for Car Dealerships that Patrick Workman wanted to share with the ADM Professional Community:

Feel free to share this with dealers and if you are a dealership supplier, with any of your clients, or include it in any newsletter or blog post…

Facebook for Automotive Retailers

How do I customize my Facebook timeline or Page URL address?
Where can I claim a Facebook username?

Customize the address for your timeline or Facebook Page by choosing a username. You can get one at: http://www.facebook.com/username.You can choose a username that Facebook suggests or create your own. Select Check availability to see if the username you want is available. If it is, click Confirm to confirm your choice.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

 

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