So you know that you should be using social media and if you didn’t then now you do know. Most manufacturers have embraced this new pipeline for getting information out to the public and are increasingly requiring it for their franchises. Infiniti dealers are required to have a certain social media presence and it is closely monitored. Ford even includes a certain level of social media management in their digital marketing packages for their dealers. The question though, still stands, how are you supposed to use it? This is the one area that no manufacturer, that we have found, can clearly answer. The reason for that is that it is still a fairly new way to communicate, interact and engage your customers.
We have identified certain things that a dealer ship should and shouldn’t do so here is a short list:
- Be off topic (don’t send sales messages all the time)
- Ask questions to engage your customer
- Post pictures of things other than vehicles
- Post videos of things other than testimonials and vehicle walk arounds
- Inform your following of weddings, births, birthdays and anniversaries of your dealership employees
- Respond to both good and bad comments and reviews
- Post sales messages everyday
- Post special APR’s every time they come out
- Post rebates from manufacturers all the time
- Get personal with your following
- Bash negative comments or reviews
- Bury your head and think social media doesn’t work for your dealership
There are very specific things you can do and post to further engage your customers and community. We offer a hands on approach to guiding dealerships to success with their social media and reputation management campaigns. Be sure to get an unfair advantage over your competition with our exclusive in-dealership solution.
I recently attended a digital conference in Philadelphia provided by General Motors exclusively for their dealers. The conference was broken down into 3 smaller sections; Leads, Websites, Social Media/Reputation Management. There were about five hundred people in attendance and I chose to view the sections on Social Media and Reputation Management. I thought for sure that those would be the most attended sections of the entire conference because by now, surely all dealerships have figured out how to maximize their websites and leads, right? Well, as it turns out, I was one of about eight total people attending the social media and reputation management sections of the conference. WOW! Really? This is the one they should have all been at. Why was the attendance so low?
My guess is that dealers are still hesitant on how to embrace social media. This is really of no surprise as many of them are still trying to figure out how to calculate their return on investment from it. The better way to view social media though is to use it, at least initially, as an extension of your customer service. Don’t stick your head in the sand and think that every person that comes to your dealership isn’t using social media simply because you don’t. They post before they even leave the lot! Whether it was good, bad or indifferent they are posting.
Four tips to get you started
1. Be part of the Conversation – Join Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Google Places and Yelp! for starters
2. Monitor the conversation – Assign someone the responsibility of monitoring these new places and responding to both GOOD and BAD posts. It’d be wise to set up Google Alerts for your dealership name as well as the website name. (e.g. “My dealership Yelp!”)
3. Be proactive – Start searching for your dealership’s name and other verbs like “bad service” “great service” etc. when you find them, add them to your list or alerts
4.Plan to fail or fail to plan? – Create a daily, weekly and monthly strategy for monitoring and updating these new sites. Start slow, start small but, at least get started
Using social media as an extension of your customer service strategy will get your feet wet with it as well as open your eyes to your reputation that is out on the world wide web. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t find much or if you find a mountain of negative content. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
How are you using social media in your dealership today? Comment below.
The short answer is, yes! Most automotive manufacturers are starting to understand the importance of their dealers to have an active profile on many social media sites. The biggie of course is Facebook. So how do you have a successful Facebook presence and why is it important? Let’s find out.
The “how” part is pretty simple. To create a page on Facebook you first have to have a profile. This can be anyone in the dealership. We would suggest that whomever is in charge of creating the profile adds at least two other people to be administrators of the page so, if needed, someone else can post and moderate comments on the page. The latest updates from Facebook have made getting people to like your page and more importantly to actually see the stuff your posting harder than ever. You used to be able to just make a post a day and get good interaction but, now you’ll have to step it up a bit. Unless people are actively engaged in your page, your posts will most likely not be seen. You should post three to five times a day! It may seem like a lot but, you can also send out repetitive posts. Remember, people are on Facebook at all different times of the day so those that saw your post in the morning, probably won’t see it at night. Just keep posting and promoting your page and the people will follow.
So the big question is ‘why’? Why would an automotive dealer want to have an actively engaged Facebook page? How does it benefit the business? Well, think of Facebook (and all social media sites) as an extension of your customer service. Most people will post negative things immediately after the ‘offense’. They post it on Facebook and other social media sites to vent frustration and get feedback and/or support from their friends and family. You should know when this happens and more importantly be able to react when it does. The flip side to this is that when people are happy, they will do the same but, the impact seems to be much greater. If your customer John Smith is super excited about his new truck, you can surely bet that his friends are gonna ask where he got it, how much he paid, how much horsepower it has and more. The key there is ‘where’d you get it’. People ask this because they want a review of the business they purchased from. Reviews whether on social media or actual review sites are more effective, powerful and relevant than ever before. Get on Facebook, engage and win over your local customer base before your competition does!
They may be out there but, finding them and remembering where they are is a daunting task. RepSo Marketing has changed all of that. We have a great blog that will bring you important updates as they happen and pertain to digital marketing, online reputation management, social media and more concerning automotive dealerships.
Take a minute to check out our learning center which includes this blog and a dealer forum that is open to all. We will continue to add quality content and resources as we uncover them.
Automotive dealerships still seem to be a bit behind the times when it comes to leveraging the massive amounts of free digital marketing assets available to them. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp!, Yahoo! Local, Bing, Google+ Pages, Dealer Rater and many, many more offer a great resource for dealerships to get their message out to their customers completely free of charge.
Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social media websites are an excellent way to introduce new products but, more importantly and more effectively can be used to extend the reach of your customer service. More and more younger and even older shoppers are utilizing social media to find out more about your dealership to decide whether or not they even want to stop by in person. The average consumer is now spending about 3 months online searching for their new vehicle but, more and more people are heavily relying on information they get from friends and family about their experiences at your dealership from social media.
Online Reputation Management is a fairly new concept to automotive dealerships but, one that should not be taken lightly. Take Amazon.com for instance. They have implemented a review structure on every product they offer. Many shoppers there will find the product they want, scroll down to the reviews and see how many five star reviews they have in comparison to four, three, two and one star reviews. The products with an overwhelming number of four and five star reviews sell the best. Now, imagine your dealership is on Edmunds.com or Cars.com or the like. Someone is viewing inventory of you and your closest competitor and notice you have an average of 2 stars while your competitor has an average of 4 stars. Where do you think they will click? This happens all the time, everyday, all day long.
Many dealerships whom have not yet embraced social media, reputation management and the entire idea of digital marketing are really going to come up short in the next few years. You just may want to check out our service which will not only bring you into the twenty first century but, will help you to start understanding digital marketing and how to leverage it to your advantage while also connecting you digitally with your current and potential customers.
We are looking forward to delivering the absolute best online marketing services and consulting that the United States has yet to see. Please be patient as we put our website and social media together but, watch how fast it grows!