Digital Communication

Twitter Basics

Several weeks ago we shared with you that we've done a "social media audit" of our NTPDA members. Just to see what social media platforms they are using and what we might do to better help our members communicate with their customers. We've already looked at Facebook now a peek at Twitter. Twitter Logo 2019

We found a minority of our members on the Twitter Platform. Most likely that's because they may not be aware of how many people in agriculture are already there and think it's not worthwhile. Nothing could be further from the  truth. If you go to Twitter and search for #Farming #Agriculture #Harvest19 you'll find a host of farmers and ranchers there talking about their experiences. You'll also find some of the major equipment retail centers using Twitter to inform folks about their offerings, pricings, etc.

In other words: Twitter is a happening place.

So, let's set out some basics for Twitter use...ready?

  • Have a Plan - Just like with Facebook you need to have a plan for Twitter. What you want is to share information that farmers and ranchers find useful. That is a BUNCH better than using the platform simply for selling stuff. So, think about what you know about parts and agriculture that others might find useful and then create a calendar of what to talk about;
  • Your Business Blog - We've said for YEARS that every business should have a business blog that is attached to your website. That gives you more power from search engines AND you get to tell YOUR story in your own words. But then...what do you do with your blog?  Share it on Twitter. Again if you are sharing information farmers and ranchers find valuable...you win;
  • When to Tweet - We've always thought that the best times to Tweet is when your customers are active on their computers...makes sense right? However with so many farmers and ranchers using their phones to interact that means your customer isn't tied down to a computer screen. He or she might be waiting at the grain elevator or on the combine scrolling through social media and making comments.  Bottom line is that if you are active so too is your customer;
  • How to Tweet - You can jump on Twitter and create an account for FREE. However we think it's wise to purchase a subscription to a system that will allow you to manage your Twitter stream more effectively. There are several out there. We've used Hootsuite for years. It gives you the flexibility to follow others, schedule your Tweets and see what is going on at a glance;
  • Use Images - People respond to images more than just words. Make sure your Tweets have images most of the time; 
  • Tweet Often - Twitter is like a message board that constantly is moving. If you Tweet, say at 6:00AM but not again until Noon you've lost six hours of "eyeballs". We recommend tweeting at least eight to twelve times a day. By using your automated system that's pretty easy to do;
  • Don't Link to Facebook - OK...we know some of you do but your Tweet shows up like this: "facebook.com7476982" or something like that. The reader has NO idea what you've posted. Facebook and Twitter are two very different animals. If you are going to link to Facebook make sure you post what it's about;
  • Re-Tweeting - One of the best ways to engage is by retweeting posts you think are interesting and/or valuable. And, as a favor, always RT our Tweets...please;
  • Using the Hashtag - Once you've been on Twitter for a bit you'll get the hang of Hashtags. It's how to search for something or to keep a topic fresh. You can even set your search for a # Hashtag. For example, like in the opening of this post... #Agriculture put that into Twitter and see what people are talking about when it comes to topics.  This is really handy when you are at a trade show and there is a Hashtag for the event. NTPDA uses #NTPDA20 as the Hashtag for our upcoming annual meeting in Phoenix.

There you have it...some very basic thoughts about Tweeting for Business. As always let us know if you've got questions or comments. You can leave those here on this post!  Thanks for reading and being an NTPDA Member! 


Social Media & Business - Facebook

Welcome back to our ongoing series of posts regarding social media and business. Recently we conducted an audit of our members and what social media Facebook Thumbs Up tools they seem to prefer when attempting to reach their target audience. That led us to this attempt to help our members, and really anybody else reading, to learn some best practices and "how to" engage consumers with social media. Our first piece on this was "The Business Blog" and you can read that here.

When we looked at our membership the social media platform of choice seems to be Facebook. That's no surprise because the social media giant had, as of
the second quarter of 2019 a bit over 2.4 billion active users!

Oh But The Changes

Perhaps you've noticed that, over the past couple of years, your Facebook posts haven't been getting the traction they once received. Three years ago you could post something about your business and you might get hundreds of impressions and interactions. Today that number has shrunk. Why? Because Facebook wants you to pay for your content to be seen. It's a smart business decision and one of the reasons that Facebook stock is, today, trading at $183.70 a share. So, what can you do to make sure your content stands out on Facebook?  

Video singleVideo and Facebook

In a recent study of over 777 million Facebook posts it was found that video remains the number one driver of consumer engagement. On average video posts on Facebook rack up at least 59% more engagement than other types. Looking at the content of the top 500 Facebook posts of 2018 we find that 81% of them were backed by video. Only 18% were backed by static images.

So, it's a clear indication that you should be spending some time posting short video clips about your business. And, because video is so easy to shoot...why not. Plus you don't need all kinds of fancy gear to make this happen. You can start with your cell  phone video. (We'll have an entire blog about that coming up.)

Reactions to Facebook Posts

The same study looked at reactions to Facebook posts and found that emotion rules. People interact with content they find funny or inspirational. That doesn't mean that everybody loves funny or inspirational content and you have to be careful, given the social climate we find ourselves in, what you post. Remember the goal is to polish your brand. It's always best to know what your target demographic finds engaging...which really is rule number one when it comes to social media marketing.

Prime Example of Engaging Content Norfolk Police Lip Sync

Last year the Norfolk Police Department received more than 3.2 million engagements and grew their audience to well-over 180,000 fans. How? The Lip Sync Challenge. Here is a link to their video. But, promise to come back!

OK, that's pretty cool and I'm not suggesting that you get your crew together for a lip sync challenge but what consumers want to see is the human side of your business. Sure you might be selling an axle but what else goes on in your company that is engaging and fun?

How Too - It's Big

We've got a couple of members that do some excellent "How to" videos. And, according to the study this stuff works well too. When you are helping your customers find ways to fix something not only do you get the credit but it's likely that post will be shared with others. I know you have some "fixes" that could benefit others.  It's not always about "selling" but it is about connecting.

Behind the Scenes

Engage your customers in the "behind the scenes" of what goes on in your business. People buy from people they know, like and trust. You've got to have some great stories that you can record and then share. Right?  It takes work but it really does work.

This post has already gotten a bit long...so let's break it off here and next time some suggestions as to how you can take some great video with excellent sound on a budget you can live with.  

Thanks for reading!

Michael Libbie, a long time member of the National Tractor Parts Dealership Association, creates content for our association. If you wish to comment, feel free. And, here is a link to that 2019 Study of Facebook in case you want a deeper dive. 


Social Media and Business - The Business Blog

In an earlier post for the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association I wrote about doing an "audit" of our member sites and their use of social media for business. This is a continuing series that I hope will help our membership fully understand, appreciate and utilize the power of social media to promote their Blog Image
business and sell more products and services. Each post will cover a social media example that you may wish to incorporate into your marketing efforts. Let's go!

The Business Blog

This can be the building block and cornerstone of everything you do regarding social media content. Creating a blog for your business allows you to do a number of things like:

  • Telling Your Story - Nobody knows your business like you. Writing a blog about your business allows you to share your story with customers old and new. The best thing is that you have control over the story line and that is important.
  • Improving Search Engine Finds - If you have a static website, something that doesn't often change, your site will be overlooked by the search engine algorithms that are constantly seeking new content. If your site doesn't change search engines will pass it by and if you can't be found you can't do business.
  • Giving the "Back-Story" of Business - Look, your customers know what you do but so many are interested in how you do...what you do. With a business blog you can tell real stories about how you've impacted customer needs. You can even use the words of your customers to polish your brand.
  • Creating Content for Other Platforms - By writing short blogs and then using other social media tools to point customers back to your website becomes a win for connecting those tools back to your business.

OK...but "How do I go about getting this done?" I hear your pain and frustration. Let's start with the basics:

  • Find A Blog Host - This might involve getting your IT people involved. NTPDA uses Typepad as our source but there are many more. If you are using a WordPress design they have a blog "plug in". Costs for blog hosting range from free to $20 a month. It's an investment if you use it.
  • Incorporate the Blog - Once you've found a comfortable format have your IT professional or "webmaster" incorporate it onto the homepage of your website. That way the first few lines are always seen and you are always updating your site. You can see how that is done on our NTPDA.com site.
  • Know Your Audience - You know who your customers are and who you want to reach. Keep your blog posts directed to your target. And, remember this isn't always about "selling" it's about telling a story that meets the interests of those you want to reach.
  • Create a Calendar - This is the strategic part of blogging. If you write it down, it gets done. Let's say you want to write one blog post a week. Set aside that time on your calendar and write a draft in a word document. Keep it to under 400 words. 
  • Take Notes - I often hear, "But, I don't know what to write about!" That's why you should be taking notes between blog posts. What happened over the  past week that folks might find interesting? Jot it down and then go back to it during the time you've set aside for writing.
  • Use Photos - People respond to images. Incorporate photos into your post. Once you get it going you might be able to embed video. The creative side of this doesn't have many limits.

I know it sounds like work...and it is...but if you want to expand your sales and polish your brand the Business Blog can go a long way to that goal.

Thanks for reading and if you've got comments or questions feel free to drop them into our comment section.

Michael

 

Michael P. Libbie is a marketing professional who has been a member of NTPDA for nearly 20 years and has been the author of many of our blog posts.

 

 

 


Social Media and Business

Over the years, according to our count, we've done maybe six or seven seminars about business and social media. We've had our NTPDA members speak to the Speaker Seminarissue and brought in some social media experts. It was all meant help our members better engage with their customers and, in the end, sell more product.

Last week we thought it might be interesting to do a social media assessment of our regular members. You know, see what social media channels they are on, what they are doing with social media and get an idea of the utilization. It was very informative. We looked at blogging, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The results were mixed.

We didn't find many of our regular members who blogged. There were some that use YouTube and fewer who used Twitter or Instagram. It seems the social media platform of choice is Facebook with over 60% of our members engaged there.

We next looked at how often our members posted and what they posted about. We found, not surprisingly, that most were featuring products for sale and some special sales they were having. Very few members who posted on Facebook posted much else. The YouTube users, and there were a couple, did a Social Media Images July 2019mixture of "behind the scenes" and "how to" videos and many of those were done well.

We did find lots of Twitter accounts that were started a couple of years ago but then abandoned after only a few dozen tweets. Some members link their Facebook posts to Twitter so when they post on Facebook those posts automatically go right to their Twitter feed.

It was enough data to get us to thinking that maybe it's time to do a refresher, here on our Blog, about best social media practices. What each platform is good at and what they should be used for. You see, each really has a different audience.  

So, that's what we're going to do.  Over the next several weeks we'll post some helpful thoughts about each platform and offer up some best practices. We're hoping it will help and we promise not to go too deep into the weeds.

In the meantime if you've got thoughts about the use of social media for business let us know with a comment here. Just go to the comment section and post your thoughts about social media. We'll not make those public because, well not everybody wants to air their laundry. Right?

Thank you for being a member of NTPDA. We hope you'll find this information valuable. 


Wish You Were Here!

We are in Mobile for the 2019 NTPDA Annual Meeting and Trade Show and if you didn't make it...well, we wish you were here. We have so much coming up Mobile AL Night Shot that we know will help move your business and our industry forward. And, yes, we'll have time to get together with friends and actually do business.

For those of us who are here, and on the ground, the next few days will fly by. Our Early Bird Gathering is Thursday evening and, if you've ever been with us, you know it will be great.

On Friday we'll launch into "Going Beyond the Brand" which has everything to do with employee and customer engagement. How can we get our employees to become more engaged in what our customers want and need. Karen Video Grab 5 Oct 2018And, know what?  Most of that has to do with listening and being responsive. To get there Karen will talk about transparency and the customer experience. It's not always price but it is about winning.

Also on Friday we'll dive into your online presence with "Online Excellence - Redesigning Your Website From THe Ground Up".  What is it that consumers want to know and see when they first get to your site?  How can you use technology to create a winning relationship with your customer and how can your website engage? Nicholas will have answers to your questions.

And by the time we get to Thursday evening we'll be in our Trade Show area with dozens of opportunities to do business here in Mobile.

And, that's just Friday!!

We really do miss those of you who can't be here and we're going to do our best to get you to see the value, along with the fun, of being at our Annual Meeting and Trade Show.  Be watching out Facebook Page and our Twitter Stream @NTPDA all week long for updates, video clips and more.  You can also follow us by using the hashtag #NTPDA19!  Easy, no?

And, we haven't even talked about Saturday...yet.

 

 


Planning Ahead for Mobile

Over the past several weeks your NTPDA Board and Staff have been busy putting together our agenda for the 35th Annual Conference and Mobile AL CrowdTrade Show which will take place in Mobile, Alabama between January 17th and 20th of next year. (Plenty of time for you to get your flight arrangements, right?)

Along with our many social events we've got some great training and education planned. Here is a quick rundown:

"Going Beyond the Brand"

Coming back to NTPDA is one of our favorite and fun professionals! For those of you who have been with us for several years you may remember that Karen McCullough spoke to our group while we were in Florida. Gosh, has it been that long? Always entertaining and always enlightening Karen will share her thoughts about "Going Beyond the Brand". What does it really take to create a lasting and positive customer experience and what is the impact of making sure your customer engagement is positive. That is what some call your exterior brand. However, also important is your "interior brand". Making sure the people who work for and with you are able to extend a positive brand message in everything they do. Why? It all matters. 

Mobile AL Night ShotKaren will give you solid tips and ideas of how you can polish both your external and internal brand. Both are critical when considering profit potential.

"Online Excellence"

We all know it...but do we pay attention to our "digital brand"? Joining us in Mobile will be Nicholas Longtin and Sydney Franklin from Arcstone. They will help you understand how to create a website that connects with your target audience and does more than just "sit there". There are many factors that go into web design from the way consumers read the content to the way consumers can now interact with your business. And, when you understand that first impressions matter, it's important that your website sends a positive and clear message the moment a customer makes a connection.

The "how" and "why" of website marketing. Yet another piece of valuable information you can take home and work on right away.

We hope you'll block out the dates and join us for an exciting adventure in January! 


You Should Be Very Afraid!

It is Halloween and the spooks are out...no really! But if you are fearful of ghosts that is nothing compared to missing the National Tractor Parts Dealer Annual Man Shock Meeting and Trade Show. Missing that adventure should really send shivers down your spine!

We'll be headed south to Corpus Christi, Texas in January and there is no time like the present to make plans to attend. We've got some frightfully dynamic events in store including our great headquarters hotel the Omni Corpus Christi. Check it out by clicking on our special page...go ahead and the price won't scare you away!

In addition to a great location we've got a boiling cauldron of great information to help you better run and manage your business! 

  • Richard Flint on Embracing Change - Folks are often scared by change but it's coming any way. Richard will offer up "Six Steps to Embracing Change" in our first session on 18 January.
  • Crystal Washington on Advanced Digital Marketing - She's baaack! Crystal was with us last year and you enjoyed her so much she is back for a second round of training. This time she will be helping you better understand the best methods of using digital (think computers and smart phones) marketing. She will also be presenting on 18 January.
  • Got the Right People? - Richard Flint joins us for an afternoon session that same day and talks to us about hiring smart and retaining well. We all know how difficult it is to find the RIGHT person for the job. Richard will help take the horror out of the effort.
  • Got Skills? - Then on the 19th Richard is back with "Mastering the Five Skills for Effective Leadership". What skills are necessary to be able to get people to their most productive level? He'll have the answers!

Don't miss out on this fantastic training...it ain't at all scary!

One other thing:  "Knock, knock" (Who's there?) "Booo!" (Booo who?) "Don't cry it's Halloween!"

Thanks for reading...see you in Corpus Christi! 

 

 

 


Now Is The TIme!

San-antonio River WalkThe National Tractor Parts Dealer Association Annual Conference and Trade Show may be three months away but NOW is when you can register for the San Antonio Experience! Registration is now open and you can get there by following this link

So, what have we got planned for you besides a great time in the city that boasts the Alamo? Plenty! From our opening reception to our educational seminars your association has put together a valuable and worthwhile event. Sure we'll be seeing old friends, talking business but there is more. We're prepared to offer seminars that will give you solid tools you can take back home and put to work right away. From sales to human resources to a better digital understanding of marketing...we've got the experts on board.

Save money and time and register today while the prices reflect some genuine value.  This is your professional trade association and we look forward to seeing you in San Antonio January 19-21. 

Two other things:  If you use Twitter the hashtag for this year is #NTPDA17 and you can follow along on new announcements and who else is talking about San Antonio. Finally here, once again, is the link for your registration.

See you #NTPDA17 in San Antonio! 


NTPDA and Social Media

Social Media HandsPerhaps you have noticed an uptick in our social media efforts. That's because we've refined some search items and we've been reaching out to more and more members as well as potential members.

Part of the future success for the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association is going to rest with how well we share the value of membership. While it's true that, when we get together, we have a great time it is also true that your association leadership is attempting to help you become more successful. We do that by sharing topical news items, links to new sales ideas, marketing advice and member to member sharing.

So, here is something you can do for us...get social.  

If you are using social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube make sure you hit us up as well.  Let us know what you are doing. Share with us your news. Tag us in your posts and let us use the power of social media to help promote the work you are doing.

Search for us on Facebook: National Tractor Parts Dealer Association

And on Twitter we are @NTPDA

Together we can make an impact and make a difference.


That Communication Thingy

NTPDA SM Images1 WebOver the past several months we've been more active on the NTPDA Facebook Page and other social media outlets.  Yes, we're on Twitter! And, we've been watching what our members have been posting, sharing and communicating. It's really exciting to see the way in which we keep up with each other...members and guests.

Go ahead and click on any of the photos here to catch a larger image.

We've really enjoyed reading the Antique Tractor Blog from Steiner Tractor Parts and watching the videos "Wrenching with Rachel".  Good stuff and they get all kinds of traction.

Southeast Tractor Parts has been posting flowers on their Facebook Page. Different but effective.

The photography coming out of our friends at Combine World has been stunning. Great use of the camera for #Plant15!  Here's a sample from this weekend.  Combine World Photo May 2015

Oh, #Plant15?  That's the Hashtag we've been following and posting to for the 2015 Planting Season.  You just plug #Plant15 into your Twitter Search or Facebook Search and BAM you'll see what folks have been posting. Interesting stuff.

Our friends at Reliable Aftermarket Parts have Beaver Hat Bill and that's always a hoot to read.  Where he gets this stuff is beyond us.

So many of you posted thoughtful images and words for Memorial Day and that meant so much to so many.  Thank you.

Our friends from Mylex International have this "Pirate Thing" down. Every time we Mylex Pirate Photosee a post it makes us want to run out, grab an eye patch and shout "Arrrrrrrrrr!!"

Wengers of Myerstown have been searching through some old photos and it's always fun to see family members from long ago....and not so long ago.

Speaking of photos we can always count on our friends from Fastline to share some worthwhile images on Twitter and on Facebook.  Nice job.

Hoober Inc. is into Throwback Thursday Photos and they are a great addition to their social media efforts.

And, of course there are many, many more.  If you've got a few spare minutes (with all this rain out there no doubt you do) and you've got a Facebook Page or a Twitter Account go ahead and search for some interesting communication pieces from our family of members.

Congratulations for sharing interesting stories, photos and events. Nice work out of you!

It's how so many communicate!