Marketing

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. 


What YOU Can Expect in Mobile!

Recently one of our speakers at our upcoming NTPDA Annual Conference and Trade Show appeared on the Insight on Business broadcast Karen McCullough One
talking about her presentation in Mobile. Karen McCullough was with us several years ago and we're grateful she is coming back to share some valuable lessons with our members. Click in and listen as she talks about branding, employees and customers. She'll also share with you exactly what you can expect in her two-part session called "Going Beyond the Brand". Join us in Mobile and take away some valuable lessons!

If you have not yet registered for our Mobile, Alabama Adventure here is a link to the registration page. Take some time and commit to working ON your business rather that working in it...you will see a difference. Join us in Mobile! 

 


Look Who Says "Hi!" - Meet Karen McCullough

Our Annual Meeting and Trade Show is quickly approaching and we figure you want to know more about our speakers....right? Presto! Meet Karen McCullough who will be in Mobile to talk to us about BRANDING. What is it? How do you sustain it? How does business live it? Who creates it? How does it work?  Yes, lots of questions and Karen will be with us to explain it all!  And, she's fun!  Save the date, registration will be opening soon!

 


See you at the Spa!


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! 


Membership Committee Update

Last month the reconstituted Membership Committee of NTPDA held a telephone meeting and lots of ideas were floated. The first being the decision to let our membership know that YOU are welcome to attend Summer Smash, the meeting formally known as the Summer Board Meeting. Summer Smash

Here’s the deal: For years the Summer Board Meeting has been open to any member of NTPDA but…the name alone…suggested it was only for leadership. We want to turn the event into a fun and educational effort open to everyone.

Currently the Committee and President Scott are working on the details and the agenda but please…mark down the dates: July 11 – 14 at the Embassy Suites in Minneapolis, MN. We’ll be sending out more details in the coming weeks so watch for it!

Other suggestions from the group:

· Enhance Benefits Package

· Include a Trial Membership Program

· Reactivate “concierge” (welcome wagon) program

· Incorporate Networking Exercises

· Build Up the Education Tracks for the Annual Meeting

· Develop New Member Outreach and Orientation Programs

And there were many more.

Our goal is to listen to the Membership and be proactive in presenting real value for your membership dollars. We think we can do that with what we already have as well as building in new programs that are a true positive return on your investment. The Summer Smash is just the start.

Hope to see you there!


NTPDA Membership - Kick Start

This week NTPDA (National Tractor Parts Dealer Association) president Scott Schelling called together a group of members to reignite the NTPDA MembershipMembership Committee. The group is tasked with working on new and innovative ways to improve our membership numbers while offering real value in, not only, our Annual Meeting and Trade Show but also our summer gathering.

The Membership Committee is made up of:

The meeting looked at various ways in which to offer increase value to our members, which assists in retention, and the active recruitment of new members.

While we'll detail changes and plans here one of the first things the group decided to accomplish was to re-name the Summer Board Meeting. The reason is that many members figure the meeting is only for the Board of Directors. That's not the case. So, we're rebranding the event as The Summer Smash. Our goal is to invite the Board and our Regular and Associate Members to an event that is packed with information, planning and fun...as the name suggests.  As soon as our plans are more clear we'll be sending out some schedule information.

Please know that this Membership Committee is committed to creating and building a better National Tractor Parts Dealer Association and we look forward to this future.

Thanks for reading and more to come! 

 

 


The Power of Repeating Stuff

Who doesn't like repeat customers? Who doesn't like being told...a couple of times...that you've got a great logo or uniform or...heck a Man hay bale microphonehaircut? Just as much as we enjoy repeat customers and repeated complements so too should we learn that when we repeat something over and over it has real power.

In marketing and advertising it is what is called "Top of Mind Awareness". Making sure your product or service is at the top of mind when it comes to buying what you are selling. "One and DONE" doesn't cut it. It takes an effort to make sure you repeat your message over and over.

Here are a couple of examples and while they are for national brands we think you'll get the message:

" Winston Tastes Good Like a Cigarette Should" - Winston has been of television and radio for decades...yet we remember the tag line;

"The Campaign of Bottled Beer" - Miller used this slogan for years and years abandoned it and this year brought it back...for good reason;

"A Diamond is Forever" - DeBeers debuted this way back in 1948 and they are still using it because...it works;

"Breakfast of Champions" - Who doesn't know this 1930's Wheaties slogan;

"It's the Real Thing" - CocaCola hit it out of the park with this from 1970;

"Say it With Flowers" - This will surprise you, the slogan dates back to 1917!

You get the idea... True, each one of these slogans had real dollars behind them to push the idea and the brand. Maybe your business doesn't have that sort of advertising budget but maybe you don't need all that cash to accomplish much the same thing.

Think of your value proposition and what you bring to your customers and then put that in words. Not a bunch of words but short and sweet. We know of a law firm that has the tag line, "We get things done!" because the number one complaint complaint among legal clients is that far too often law firms don't get things done and clients have to wait...and wait. The firm went so far as to register the slogan and they use it...everywhere.

Find your value proposition and then repeat it...often and everywhere. The goal is to have your customers hear or see those words and identify you and your unique value. 

It very well could bring you...repeat customers.


Doubling Our Membership

Over the weekend several of us were talking about membership, the life-blood of any organization including the National Tractor Parts Dealer Association. It Join us imagecame to us that there are three things any organization must do to recruit and retain members:

  • Let Perspective Members Know You Exist
  • Provide Value for Membership
  • Ask 

Of the three NTPDA does a bang up job of providing members with value. Our website lists nearly two-dozen benefits. We also are pretty good at providing an opportunity to network, sell and learn during our Annual Conference and Trade Show. And, we're always here to help boost our members through our social media efforts.

Where we fall down a bit is in letting perspective members know we exist, sharing the benefits and making the ask. Sure we share information among our existing members through a wide variety of means from blogging to emails the quarterly NTPDA Bulletin. But, that is sort of like an echo chamber...we're talking among ourselves. For retention that is important but what about...growth?

The former Membership Committee had some ideas including outreach efforts, inviting potential members to our Annual Conference and reducing first year dues. Maybe it's time to ramp up the "Idea Machine" again...

Or what if each of us asked another supplier or a competitor to join our ranks. If we all committed to asking one additional person or company to join us and clearly laid out the case for value we could double our membership by January.

Perhaps it's something to ponder but more importantly just...do.

We'd love to hear your thoughts. Shoot us an email or comment here on the blog.

Thanks for reading and thank you for your membership!