Learn how social media can help you sell more parts.
Episode 152: How do you sell more heavy-duty parts in a digital world? Social media is becoming more readily used in business and is becoming a huge topic of conversation among many companies. The way we sell and buy parts is changing.
In this episode, we talk about social media, the role it can play in selling more heavy-duty parts, and the steps to take to become successful.
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Sponsors of this Episode:
- Having issues with your commercial equipment? You need ATA’s Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC). Check out TMC at tmc.trucking.org
- Want to look up parts but don’t have a part number or the VIN? Download Diesel Parts for free on Desktop or on your Apple or Android device.
- Looking for high-quality fuel injection for heavy-duty applications? Visit AMBACInternational.com/Aftermarket
Are you looking to purchase heavy-duty parts and get your commercial vehicle repaired? Get access to one of HDA Truck Pride’s 750 locations across the United States and Canada. Visit HeavyDutyPartsReport.com/BuyParts.
Transcript of Episode:
You are listening to The Heavy-Duty Parts Report. I’m your host, Jamie Irvine. And this is the show where you get expert advice about heavy-duty parts that keeps trucks and trailers on the road longer while lowering cost-per-mile.
How do you sell heavy-duty parts in a digital world? Today we’re gonna talk about social media. You know, when I work with my clients, social media, of course, is a big topic of discussion. Traditional marketing, there was nothing like it before in the past, when you sold heavy-duty parts, the marketing department was primarily producing print marketing, right? They made catalogs made flyers, brochures, specials, business cards, maybe some materials that were going to be promotional in nature to give away, things that you would bring to a trade show and, and give to people, things like that. That was traditional marketing in heavy-duty parts. And really it was dependent on the salesperson to go and make sales calls. And oftentimes they had something that was printed that they could leave behind. And that was pretty much the extent of marketing for your heavy-duty parts company.
If you were in the independent service channel, or if you were local parts store, you know, the other kind of marketing that you often would do is local directories, right? So people could find you, maybe you would even go so far as to do some advertising in newspapers. I mean, this was the traditional way. This is what was marketing for decades in the heavy-duty parts industry. But now of course, all that has changed in the last 15 years. And so as the digital space took over and really disrupted traditional marketing, the emergence of search engine marketing, right, with like things like Google and Yahoo, things like that, social media became more and more prevalent to the point now where social media is impacting the entire world and is part of influencing the politics of our world, the economics of our world, the social movements of our world, and for good or bad, you know, social media is here to stay.
Now for savvy marketers using search and social media to advertise their company really became or provided rather an opportunity for companies to reach an audience in a way that that was never possible before. Always in the past, we had to rely on trade publications, magazines, newspapers, and the distribution was wide. Trade publications was a bit more focused on your industry, but still you weren’t able to target people specifically. And of course, with social media, that all changed. So what I wanna talk about today is first of all, how does a heavy-duty parts company choose which social media channels they should be on? And then how do they decide what content they should make? So first let’s talk about how to choose the social media channel for you or the social media channels, plural. Now one mistake, a lot of people have made over the past few years is they have tried to be on all the platforms while I always recommend to my clients that they capture the handle that goes along with their company. So you want to have the same social media handle across all your social channels. So that might be a business handle, or it might be a personal one for an individual if you’re like a sales professional, but it’s important to go and make sure that you have captured that handle for every social media channel out there.
But that doesn’t mean that you should then start to try to publish content on every social media channel out there. The deciding factor in which social media channels you should focus on first is always connected to who your ideal customer is. Now, if you don’t know who your ideal customer is, or if you have way too many types of customers, this is gonna be really, really difficult for you to make this decision. But really it is important to understand who you are trying to reach because where they are is where you need to be. So for example I’m a brand ambassador for Diesel Parts. Now Diesel Parts is their parent company is Diesel Laptops. Diesel Laptops, by and large built their sales funnel and their rapid growth on the backs of two things, Google search and Facebook groups. And so they found out that their ideal customer, which was in repair technicians spent a lot of time in Facebook groups talking about technical things.
And diagnostics became a big part of the subject in a lot of these Facebook groups. And so Facebook was a natural place for Diesel Laptops who sells diagnostic tools to be. So where are your ideal customers? You know, if you’re selling heavy-duty parts, where do the fleet maintenance managers spend their time online? Where do the independent repair shop owners and technicians who buy parts at an independent repair shop? Where do they spend time online? Where does the owner operators spend their time? Where does the mobile repair technician or mechanic spend their time? That is the guide that you should use to help you decide which social channels you should be on. Now, another thing that I see people do wrong is they try, you know, even if they go through this exercise and they let’s say narrow it down to three different social channels, they try to do all three at once.
That can often be a mistake because you never get good at any one of them. So I always recommend find the one that represents the greatest opportunity where most of your ideal customers are start with that social channel and dominate there first. Then you can expand. I did this with my brand. LinkedIn was the place I started, but recently I have made the decision to incorporate Facebook and Instagram because it is time now for me to expand, but I spent almost two years just focused on LinkedIn to start with. Now, YouTube is something that is kind of weird because it’s sort of a social channel, but it’s also a video hosting place. So I would say that if you’re gonna, let’s say with LinkedIn, I’m not saying that’s what you should do, maybe Facebook is where you should start, but wherever you start, wherever you host your videos, make sure that you’re using YouTube as well.
But again, you can just host them and then put those YouTube videos on your website. And maybe that’s the extent of your use of YouTube for right now. So the trajectory for me was LinkedIn first. I started using YouTube to host the videos, and then I moved to Facebook and Instagram. I have not spent a lot of time and effort if really, any at all on Twitter, on Pinterest or on any of the other social channels out there. Uh, TikTok is one that I get asked about a lot, you know, should we be on TikTok? And I always start with, well, is that where your ideal customers are? And if they are, then yes, you should consider it, but is TikTok the place you should start and focus on first, maybe, maybe not. But this idea of focus is really important. I learned a long time ago, a great acronym.
So the acronym is F.O.C.U.S. and it stands for follow one course until success. So with social media, figure out where your ideal customers spend the most time, pick the top social channel and focus there. First learn how to use that channel. Get really good at being there first. Then you can think about expanding. We’re gonna take a quick break. We’ll be right back. Having issues with your commercial equipment? You need ATA’s Technology and Maintenance Council also known as TMC. TMC develops recommended practices, addressing the most pressing technology and maintenance issues affecting commercial vehicle fleets. You can join TMC for just pennies a day. And when you do, you’ll get access to thousands of pages of technical information, and you can attend events like the upcoming 2022 annual meeting and exhibition March 7th through 10th in Orlando, Florida. For more information, check out TMC at TMCtrucking.org.
Don’t have a heavy-duty part number and need to look up a part? Go to parts.diesellaptops.com or download the app on Apple or Android to create your free account. Looking for high quality fuel injection for heavy-duty applications? Having one supplier for fuel injection allows you to better serve customers by providing them with a complete line, which increases your sales and profitability. Learn more at ambacinternational.com/aftermarket.
The next question logically is, well, what content should I put on my social channels? Well, the content strategy needs to be focused on your ideal customer. And I often recommend to my clients, the best place to start is to look at your customer service department or your sales department who are fielding customer service issues. It isn’t always just problems, but it’s just general questions asked by your ideal customer. That is where the beginnings, the foundation of your content strategy can start.
You can look at all of these common questions that come up. You can address them, make content to answer those questions, put them on social media and also put this kind of content on your website so that people, when they go to your website, they can look at this library of content in one place. And that’s why YouTube is so important. And that’s why blog articles are so important because it allows you to take that YouTube video that you’ve made, embed it in a blog article, right on your website and this content of library answering all of your customers, you know, your best customers, your ideal customers, most common questions. That’s where that content should be.
What other kinds of content should be on social media? Well, I think it’s really important to avoid too many I for me type posts, I see this a lot. Companies will get on LinkedIn, they’ll get on Facebook, they’ll get on other social channels. And every post is like this product, buy this product, buy this product, buy this product, just ask yourself when you’re on social, if you use it at all is that what you would want is that the kind of engaging content that would get you to be interested in a brand. Well there’s room for it from time to time, but it’s certainly not something that should be a dominant feature on your social. Social to me is about being social and engaging in a conversation, two-way conversation with your ideal customers. It’s also about providing a service of some kind, so that can be education. It can be relevant information, it can be entertainment. Some people call it edutainment, which is a combination of education, but put in an engaging way that kind of turns into a little bit of entertainment as well.
So you definitely have to find your voice. You have to find your brand identity. What does your brand sound like? What does it look like on screen? And that has to come through. So it has to be real. It has to be authentic, but you can focus on not only the questions that your ideal customers have, but you can also focus on your big why for being in business. You can focus on issues related to the industry. You can supply people with relevant information that maybe they have a hard time finding. One of the big problems that I see a lot of people get into is they kind of underestimate the value of bringing together information into one central place. Think about it. Everybody’s busy. If I don’t have to go and look at six different websites to get the information I need, I can just go to your site or your social channel.
Don’t you think that’s gonna bring me back more and more and more? And the most important thing to remember with the content is it needs to be content that people want to consume, that your ideal customers enjoy consuming. And that allows you to get to know them and for them to get to know you. When your sales people then go into a prospect or even an existing customer, that you would like them to buy more from you. If you do this consistently over a long enough period of time, you’re going to see that your sales cycle could actually start to shrink and getting in with prospects might happen a little easier and a little faster because people have gotten to know you over time. They started to like, and trust your brand. They started to use your content to help them with their job, to help them with their success.
And when it comes time to have a meeting with you, they’re gonna be much more likely to do so. So by way of review, what social channel should you be on? Wherever your ideal customer is. What kind of content should you make? Content that is considered valuable by your ideal customer. And it should be a variety of content that allows them to get to know you and answers questions, or provides important information to help your ideal customer with their goals. This is where you should start, you know, by way of one last little tip, it is good to look at what other people are doing, because you do want to see what the trends are, but don’t try to copy what someone else is doing. You know, be willing to try new things, be bold in the execution of your strategy and in publishing of your content, because you know that consistency and trying new things and being willing to be real with people, it goes a long way and people will see this arc, this journey that you are on, and it will draw the kinds of people that you wanna do business to you.
And actually it has a way of kind of repelling the kinds of people you don’t wanna do business with. So be bold, be willing to try new things, keep an eye on competition, keep an eye on trends, keep an eye on things that are happening in other industries, but don’t try to be a copycat, just be authentic, stick to who you are as a person, as a company and get that message out there. And I think you’re gonna find that social media is a powerful tool if used correctly. If you would like to get a little bit of help with this, by all means you can message me directly or, and send me an email, [email protected]. That’s the two best ways of getting in touch with me. And I would be happy to sit down with your company and help you with your overall strategy, not just from a perspective of like which social channels you should use, but also from a perspective of how to develop the content. This is one of the areas of expertise for me. And so if this is something that will be beneficial to you, go ahead and reach out to me directly.