Social Media Works—If You Have a Plan

Quite frankly, to do social media for the sake of being “in the game” is not worth the effort. You will just be disappointed with the results, get frustrated, and eventually give up. If you don’t commit the time, resources, and money it takes to effectively implement and stay on top of a social media plan, then you might as well keep your money parked in traditional media.


Most dealers are now spending 30-40 percent of their overall budget on some type of social media. This includes Facebook, YouTube videos, blogging, tweeting, live chats, SEM, SEO and the like. With that level of spending, you must commit the same level of resources to implement and monitor your activities—both internal and external.


Planning, execution, and monitoring are more critical with social media than they are in traditional media. Knowing what you are doing and why you are doing it will dramatically increase your success rate. Just throwing up videos on YouTube will not get the results you are looking for. If you want social media to work for your dealership, then you need to dedicate the internal resources or bring in professional outside help.


There is no ‘one-size’ fits all


Do not buy ‘off-the-shelf’ or ‘one-size-fits-all’ social campaigns. What works best for one dealer does not necessarily work for his competitor; I know that from experience. Your dealerships culture, customer base, consumer proposition, product line, location, and traditional advertising message all play apart in planning your social media strategy.


Evaluate the needs and opportunities that best connect with customers on the internet by using relevant social tactics and creative dialog. Build bridges that link your videos, blogs, tweets, and online promotions back to your website. Use a consistent tone-of-voice, graphics, and/or writing style in all your social communications to build brand trust and consumer recall. Don’t forget that all this must fit your dealerships culture and personality.


Doctor/patient consultation


If you go to your doctor, he will ask you a lot of questions. You should be having a similar conversation with your management team and agency. This is serious business and it is your money. Then, and only then, should your team bring you the opportunities and plan to achieve the objectives set for social media. Have a doctor-patient consultation first then set your objectives, build a plan, and manage the process. Just like the path you take to sell a car.


I recently received an email from a big dealer group and all it said was “I need social media help.” I wrote back and said, “Fantastic, when can we meet?” They just responded, “I prefer to email, just sell me something.” To me, that is like emailing your doctor and telling him you have cancer and to email you back a cure—just crazy.


Thomas Hensey is the managing partner at Rhino Marketing, a full service automotive advertising agency. He can be reached at 713-681-6711 or  





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