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1.7 million fans and counting

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1.7 million fans and counting

One year ago, Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc. was the top tire manufacturer on Facebook, based on the number of “likes” to The count is now up to 1.7 million! Not surprisingly, Nitto is still number one in the tire industry, and has outshone global automotive companies such as Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Co. in the process.

Nitto President Tomo Mizutani credits the company’s change of marketing focus for the popularity of Nitto’s Facebook page and Web page, “Nitto Tire — Fueled by Enthusiasts.”

“We like digital. It is very effective,” he says. “We have shifted our marketing focus from traditional to digital media outlets.”

Mizutani says Nitto’s job is to:

1. Make the right product.

2. Penetrate the market effectively.

3. Help Nitto tire dealers make a decent profit.

One of the keys to fulfilling those goals has been turning what is traditionally “a negative purchase” into a positive experience, according to Mizutani. For example, Nitto plays up the safety benefits of its tires to its audience.

“We focus on the emotional side. We call our customers fans. We like our fans. We want them to love buying our products.

“With these three goals in mind, it is important to understand how digital marketing has changed the competition in the marketplace,” he says. “In the past, smaller brands had difficulty competing with larger brands. Budget, resources and time all factor into the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

“In today’s market, smaller brands can be more competitive by utilizing smarter and innovative strategies and still be well received by customers. In Nitto’s case, we utilized tools in our social media pages that were different and specially catered to our ‘fans’ to build our brand reputation and presence.”

Mizutani says Facebook is a priceless asset. “In a world where social media is dominant, it is ever important how the market receives a brand. With peer-to-peer communication being the strongest advocate for a brand, we needed to ensure we are hearing the voice of the customers.”

Nitto’s most recent social media marketing campaign features electro house musician and producer Steve Aoki. The collaboration will encompass a comprehensive promotional campaign featuring various creative programs centered on Facebook, such as the streaming of an exclusive track this month, Aoki’s “Birthday Bash” concert in November, and a “Drift with Steve Aoki” contest.

“Nitto’s philosophy is grounded in passion and innovation, to push borders beyond traditional marketing,” says Mizutani. “Aoki’s music reflects his unabashed personality to innovate in his field. That’s the kind of energy we want to bring to the market.”

Gloria Miyamoto, Nitto’s marketing manager says, the Facebook page averages close to 400,000 hits a day. “We are able to achieve high engagement levels by providing compelling content and two-way communication between Nitto and our customers.”

With the help of Facebook, Nitto has given away a free set of tires, a bicycle rack and a Nissan 370Z. How can 1.7 million followers be wrong?    ■

Focus on Facebook: No tire company is more savvy than Nitto

Nitto Tire U.S.A. Inc.’s success on Facebook has yet to start a revolution in the tire industry. Nitto has three times the number of likes than the number two tire company on Facebook, Falken Tire Corp., and is more than five times larger than Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC.

Here are the top 10 most liked tire brands on Facebook, based on their company’s most successful consumer tire page.

            1. Nitto: 1,712,047                      

            2. Falken: 581,607       

            3. Bridgestone: 327,199

            4. Kumho: 168,379

            5. Toyo: 139,094

            6. Firestone: 73,359                 

            7. Cooper: 72,142               

            8. BFGoodrich: 69,706           

            9. Continental: 42,189

            10. General: 40,437

            11. Michelin: 36,859                   

The “Official Michelin Man Page” was 11th with 36,859 likes (although the Michelin India page had more than 116,000 likes), followed by Hankook (31,617), Sumitomo (26,369) and Yokohama (24,118).

Pirelli & Cie SpA’s motorcycle page had 139,600 likes, while its calendar page had 6,380.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s most popular Facebook page features the Goodyear blimp (15,097 likes).

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