Can Social Media Really Affect My Brand?

SEMA News—June 2015

By Jon Wyly

Can Social Media Really Affect My Brand?

Jon Wyly, CEO of the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC), has assembled a handpicked team of industry veterans to grow and take the co-op in exciting new directions, including the launch of SEMA Search.Think about it. More than 80% of adults use the Internet or e-mail at least occasionally. According to the latest Pew research, 71% of Internet users are on Facebook, and 70% of those engage with the site daily. Any way you slice it, that’s a whole lotta communication going on! Add to that the massive growth that sites such as Instagram (now bigger than Twitter), Snapchat and others continue to show, and it’s a safe bet that they will continue to be favorite ways for users to stay in touch with their ever-growing world.

So what does this have to do with your brand? While a bit dated (2012), the latest stat we could find on the subject says that 71% of social-media users said they are more likely to make a purchase based on social-media referrals. And 78% of users indicated that a company’s social-media posts impact their purchases. What this tells me is that you must, at the very least, be in the pipeline of this conversation that is going on every minute of every day.

So, like it or not, people are using social media to communicate their likes, dislikes, opinions and reviews on all manner of products. The big question is: Who do you want to rely on for information about your products? An unsupervised free-for-all of social chatter with questionable authority and accuracy or effective communication supported by the ready availability of quality, accurate information about your parts and brand?

Obviously, the latter is preferred. But how do you feed the monster? It all begins with setting up a forward-facing presence on Facebook, with some supporting effort in other social platforms as you can develop it. Will it take some time and effort? Yes, anything worthwhile typically does. Do you need special training? Maybe not. While there are numerous qualified social-media practitioners for hire, getting started may be as easy as getting your in-house brain trust together so that you can really understand how to get engaged.

More than 80% of adults use the Internet or e-mail at least occasionally. According to the latest Pew research, 71% of Internet users are on Facebook, and 70% of those engage with the site daily.

   
     

Now don’t rush off to send out a meeting notice to all the vice presidents and directors just yet! Instead, gather some of your sharp 20-somethings and let them show you how they and their peers use social media. Out of that exercise, you might just have a great candidate to spearhead your brand promotion efforts.

The other, less obvious piece of the equation is to make sure that you are publishing rich, complete product information for all of these enthusiastic and sophisticated customers to find everywhere online. Poor product presentations, hard-to-find information, lack of pictures and videos, will all drive users away from your brand and stimulate negative comments in social-media channels.

Your website must have great content, and the resellers of your products must convey lots of consistent detail, images, features, benefits and more. This is the job of your data team, and it’s a great time to get those vice presidents and directors involved!

The importance of well-managed data is a task every leader in your company should be aware of and influencing. It won’t happen by itself, and it won’t happen correctly if left unsupervised. So my advice is simple: Pick a trusted member of your leadership team and make data management a defined responsibility for him or her. Add it to the bonus program and goal setting, and expect great results. I guarantee it will pay off in the long run.

To learn more about how you can take control of your product data and manage it at the lowest possible cost, contact SEMA Data Co-op Director of Membership Jim Graven at jimg@SEMAdatacoop.org or 888-958-6698 x4.

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