How to Drive the Next Social Media Fad into Your Dealership Lot

Reading this title, you may wonder what I am talking about. After all, social media really began in 2003 with Friendster (which eventually gave birth to MySpace and Facebook), and was not a mainstream platform for business use until early 2009. Having been involved in this nebulous world since the beginning, I can tell you how easy it is to waste time and money monkeying around on social media sites. These days the question I get asked the most is “what’s next?” What is the next ‘Facebook’ or the next ‘Twitter?’ The answer? Location-based social media experiences, or geo-tagging.


Geo-tagging is fast becoming the core of all social media tools. Remember GPS? With geo-tagging your actions are linked to your GPS location at the time of the action. Today, let us stay focused on a few simple things you can do to position yourself to ride the next wave of social media (without sucking up 20 hours a week of your valuable time).


Claim Your Location


Ever heard of Google Maps? For most of us, with a phone produced within the last 12 months, Google Maps came pre-loaded. When I type in ‘Ford’ near my location, I am able to see several Ford dealerships in the area. If I were to do this in your area and for one of the brands you sell, am I going to see your dealership? Is the address and contact information correct? Did you give me any tips on how to get into the location? Check out Google’s Business Dashboard or more information or to set-up your location.


Show People Where You Are


Tools like Foursquare and Gowalla are quickly becoming leaders of the next social media generation. Users input their location and a quick status update (aka ‘check-in’) for friends to see. Businesses also can even advertise here. For example, when I am at the restaurant across the street and ‘check in,’ I can receive an offer to come test drive a car at your dealership. Do you participate or sponsor any local teams or associations? When you attend events, ‘check in’ so other people at the event know you are present. Use these tools to increase your visibility and you also will be increasing the time you spend at the top of your buyer’s mind.


Create a Game, Get People to Play With You


Getting your shoppers to participate in social media programs at your location can make each person that steps onto your lot an online advocate. Recently, a cupcake company made quite the splash when they easily reached 100,000 followers by inviting people to check their Facebook page for a secret word. Whisper this secret word at their location and receive a free cupcake. While we are not in the business of selling cupcakes, similar programs work wonders at the dealership. Do you do any test-drive giveaways? Make it a tweet-by giveaway when you invite consumers to follow your twitter for the word of the day, and then visit your location to win a prize.


I recommend you find simple consistent ways to 1) take advantage of what technologies can do for you right now and 2) keep one eye out to the future in an effort to position yourself ahead of your competition. While I don’t necessarily agree with the famous ‘early bird gets the worm’ axiom, (as in technology the early bird usually gets the buggy software), being the second bird on scene gives you the chance to learn from the best while staying ahead of the rest.


Rebekah King is the consumer communications manager for Kelley Blue Book. Prior to joining Kelley Blue Book, King was the founder and principal of Rebizworks, a digital marketing firm based in Southern California. She can be reached at




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