Don’t Downplay The Knowledge You Have to Share

If you are a brand or you manage one, you establish credibility and authority when you publish, share and amplify good content. So when I was considering a jump into the waters of social media marketing as a business, I struggled with the thought of, “What if what I have to say isn’t important?”

It took me a while, but I realized that in my own moment of doubt that I was downplaying the knowledge I had to share. Sometimes what others share on social really resonates with me and I experience that “A ha!” light bulb moment. At other times I but don’t really absorb the info at all. Not everyone is going to get you and what you have to say – and that’s okay.

Your Experience Can Be Applied to Other Markets

I draw my social media marketing experience from a very niche industry – the automotive aftermarket. It’s about knowing the difference between a gearhead and an enthusiast. Understanding the myriad of ways that people in the industry buy and sell their products. Being able to talk intelligently about the product without insulting the technical minded, but not talking over the head of the casual fan. You can’t bluff someone who is inquiring about your product for something they are an expert in. You simply admit you don’t know, but promise to get them the answer they are looking for.

Does that understanding of the industry and its customers apply to others? Absolutely. The social media marketer who focuses on the fitness industry or real estate knows what is acceptable in the market and know how to speak the language of that particular industry.

Share What You Know

You should never keep what you know to yourself. Challenge yourself and charge your employees and clients to share and teach what they know to others. But someone might take the idea you’ve based your success on and make it better. The fact of the matter is – someone is going to do it anyway. People who come out with new products or programs don’t reinvent the wheel. They take what already exists and make it better.

People who come out with new products or programs – take what already exists and make it better.

Find Opportunities to Share

Last Friday I was notified that I was selected to be a speaker at the Social Media Day Houston 2017 Conference on June 30. I am thrilled because it will be the first time that I will be able to share as an event speaker what was shared with me by Dennis Yu of Blitzmetrics.

Speaking opportunities is just one way to share. Content can come in all shapes and sizes. Consider publishing a book, making a ebook or white paper available on your website or offering a course. What you have to offer IS valuable.


Five Tips to Cover Motorsports Events on Social

When you are covering a motorsports event, social media can be fast, flexible and unforgiving. You need to be prepared for anything to happen on the track during the race. At the same time, you want to look for opportunities to get candid shots of driver and fan interaction.

Little girl autograph
Keep an eye out for fan and driver interaction.

1. Show them what they can’t see on TV

At any given motorsports event, there are a hundred things going on at one time. I approach brand or sponsor social media coverage as the opportunity to take your fans either beyond what they see on TV or to places they wouldn’t normally have access to.

Do a quick video or Boomerang of the drivers practicing their exchange, or the crew going through the pit stop execution. Take a quick tour of the team trailer. Better yet, borrow a golf cart and head out to where the die hard race fans are camping and tailgating. That could equal footage for days, but some might not be shareable to your fans.

IMSA tire inspection
Give the fans a behind the scenes view.

2. Plan an interview list.

Between the practices, warm ups, track walk and meet and greet in the paddock, there will be time to get a quick video.

Don’t limit yourself to the team, race officials, TV personalities and the flag guy are all great one minute videos. To make sure you make good use of everyone’s time, make sure you know ahead of time what one or two questions you want to cover, and be ready to film on the fly.

3. Each social media platform has a purpose

Do not, post the same thing on each platform by hitting the button and cross-posting!

Twitter is used while the race is going on. Be part of and follow the ongoing conversation between fans, the series, track and teams. If you have enough follower engagement, I’ve had Twitter meet ups and hashtag contests while on site.

Facebook has evolved with the Live feature, so some of those interviews could be live as well as post race coverage in the winner’s circle. If you secure an interview ahead of time, promote it before you go live. I also use Facebook for pre-event promotion especially if there will be brand activation on site with a call to action.

For example, I would make a video slideshow using team promo photos and other photos I may have taken at a previous race. Then I would boost that video via a Brand Awareness campaign, targeting an audience who follows the series. Targets are not limited to the type of car that is sponsored by my brand, but should also include others who race in the series. You can also target fans who like other sponsors of the series and teams.

Now that Instagram has introduced the carousel, you’re not limited to posting one picture from the event. Pick your top five and post them and include a video snippet.

kid with front fender
Each sponsor, race series, team and driver should be tagged here.

4. Follow and Hashtag appropriately

Before the motorsports event, make sure you are following the series, teams, drivers, manufacturers and sponsors. Take note of the official hashtags that each are using so when you post you include those to be part of the conversation.

If you’re going to promote your own hashtag, first make sure it isn’t already being used. I like to use Tagboard. Then promote it in your Call to Action and graphics prior to the event. If no one knows it exists, they won’t use it.

5. It’s okay to be a fan, but you’re there for the brand

Whether you’re a lifelong series fan, or it’s your first time covering a motorsports event, it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement of the race.

It might sound obvious, but if you’re posting on brand social media platforms, you are expected to maintain their persona. Before you hit that post button, make double and even triple sure that you are posting as the page and not as yourself.

Regardless of what series you are covering, there is nothing like anticipation and the sound of the engines revving waiting to see the green flag drop. Showcase that energy through your social media coverage. And make the teams and drivers you are sponsoring  part of your brand’s persona through social media.

Follow and Follow Back

Social media is a reciprocal relationship of “Follow and Follow Back”. This applies to anyone who has a presence on social media.

Follow selectively

That doesn’t mean you need to follow every one. In fact, I’m a bit discriminating about who I will follow back. Especially if it seems like all I’m getting is a sales pitch.

What I want to do is build my network. In my opinion, building and maintaining a social media relationship is similar to going to a networking group or being part of a group online.

As I continue to build my personal brand and business, I want to be able to rely on my network for advice, opinion and input. And you never know when that relationship will come in handy!

Where others “miss the boat”

It’s cliche, but I see brands missing the proverbial boat when it comes to the Follow and Follow Back methodology.

If you are an established brand like Coca-Cola or BMW,  following back is not the necessity it is for smaller brands.

Brands who want brand awareness must be proactive in their engagement with others. This happens by being aware of hashtags, and following and tagging relevant brands, media and influencers in the industry.

Get found by others

Case in point. On Instagram, if you post a photo of a 1968 Fastback Mustang, then you should be including every Mustang hashtag that makes sense including #Ford and #FordMustang.

Use hashtags to find content
Include hashtags that allow your content to be found.

Don’t forget to include media tags to your favorite publications like #musclemustangsandfastfords. A saavy social media manager may pick up that you are an enthusiast, and could be a great brand ambassador or contributor.


Surrounded by the Best in the Industry

Last week’s SEMA Show is the crown jewel of the automotive aftermarket industry. The annual four-day event brings thousands of exhibitors and attendees from all over the world to the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The SEMA Show is the largest automotive aftermarket event in the world.
A view of the SEMA Show from the Las Vegas Monorail.

From the moment the show opens its doors, there is a constant flow of people making their way through the halls and adjacent parking lots. Many stop to take photos of unique custom vehicles, or to check out the latest products. Most attendees walk the show with bags full of free swag they pick up. Everything from posters and t-shirts to pens and decals.

The event is a vehicle for exhibitors to introduce new products and announce partnerships. They drive traffic to their booths with celebrity signings and contests or giveaways. The first three days are trade only, and are not open to the public until the last day. However, the grounds surrounding the convention center can be accessed by anyone, so many exhibitors have a second presence outside.

One day at AAPEX

I spent a day at the AAPEX show at the Sands Convention Center. Regarded as the “boring” show, AAPEX is less glitz and glamour, but it’s where business gets done. I was fortunate to have a handful of good meetings, and I capped off my day by attending the Women in Auto Care awards.

Women in Auto Care
My friend Lauren Fix won several awards at the Women in Auto Care awards.

In a predominately male industry, it is great that there is an organization that supports women at all levels within the market. With a strong scholarship program, many members become leaders and mentors to generations who will continue the work of women in the industry. I also was able to catch up with a friend and industry colleague Lauren Fix aka The Car Coach.

 The best place to network in the industry

I’ve blogged about the importance of networking before. SEMA is a once-a-year opportunity to maintain already established connections and make new ones. Everywhere you turn, you are literally surrounded by the best in the industry. Thought leaders, influencers, inventors, owners, marketers and media. There are many official networking events, but the best moments usually happen by chance, and sometimes even in passing. A quick “Hi, how’s it going?” and then you’re off to the next meeting or booth.

I left this year’s SEMA/AAPEX Shows with over 70,000 steps logged and 31.46 miles. Unfortunately I didn’t get to connect with everyone on my list, but I did have a SEMA first. I did not take one photo of a car, truck or anything on wheels this year. Yes I was at the biggest car show of the year, but this time was about seeing people and taking it all in.

A stop at the Centerforce booth in Central Hall to see my buddy Will Baty is a must!