Social Media is the buzz word of the decade! We can’t go for five minutes without someone talking about, or starting a group on some network to talk more about social media. As some wise person once said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” I agree.
When you get down to it, isn’t social media, just being nice to your neighbors and communicating in a friendly, straight forward way? It’s just that today instead of us walking the neighborhood and chatting with business prospects face to face we do it online. Is it the advancement of technology or are we just getting lazy?
In auto retailing building a presence at social media sites is a bit more of a challenge because of the baggage we bring along with us. Until dealerships find a way to offer a streamlined, friction-free buying process, their online social media efforts including posts and Tweets, will have minimal impact and too often their words will ring hollow with consumers.
Retailers need to let their prospects know they can be trusted when they shop at their stores and that doesn’t mean just posting a page on Facebook or Twitter. Let’s ask ourselves: Do our customers really want to be our “friends”? Are you friends with the guy who sold you your washing machine at Best Buy? Are you friends with the lady at the cosmetics counter at your local department store? Are you friends with the local barista who prepares your morning coffee? Hmmm. Didn’t think so.
Let’s not fool ourselves and think our customers really want to be our friends or fans on Facebook. It all comes down to being a good neighbor and doing things right! Then market the fact that you are doing things right. That will make the difference.
You would be hard pressed to find an auto shopper today who isn’t on the internet looking for information. The key here is transparency. They are not only looking at vehicles and prices, but what’s being said about dealerships and their sales people online. One negative posting on Facebook, RipOffReport.com, or Yelp could damage your sales potential very quickly.
The internet has truly leveled the playing field when it comes to car buying and price shopping. Now throw social media and review sites into the mix and you have powerful resources that can benefit consumers and either reward or punish dealerships’ behavior. Everyday more tools are available to build your personal brand and let folks know you are the “good guys” and that they will not regret buying from you. Resources like Dealermouth.com, Carfolks.com, DealerRater.com and Exteresauto.com are all working to help dealers put their best foot forward.
A quote from Zig Ziglar keeps popping into my head. “Help people get what they want and you will get what you want.” That means help your customers to buy what they want, need, and can afford, and you will get what you want…a nice commission check.
Mark R. Dubis is an executive with CF Media Group and works with dealers to maintain a good reputation online. Call 216-712-6712 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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