Ah yes…Facebook and Twitter. There are so many articles, strategies, and concepts being thrown around our space about how to leverage these new technologies. Weeding out what will work for your dealership is quite a challenge.
Here is what I would do if I was brought into a dealership or dealer group as an internet director and was tasked with getting a social media strategy off the ground.
Step One: Set expectations for the stakeholders involved. If the dealer principal, or general manager, thinks that setting up a Facebook page is the new way to get metal over the curb quickly, they are sorely mistaken. Social media is not a quick fix for an ailing sales department.
A social media strategy is just that…social. It’s like going to a party. When you attend a party, you don’t relentlessly try and sell your products to partygoers. If you did, they wouldn’t like you very much and you’d never be invited back.
Step Two: Set goals. I would postulate that your social media goals should not be based on units sold, but rather on establishing lasting value with your customers for both sales and service. Those relationships will lead to revenue, so be patient!
As part of your overall set of goals, I would think about time management. It’s easy to get caught up with your social media strategy at the expense of other daily work that you may be involved with like specials creation, following up on leads, and selling cars.
So be careful with your time. It’s important that you’re involved with your Facebook page often, but not too often. I’m sure you have personal friends on Facebook now that you have hidden because they are always running their mouths. Don’t be concerned about constant content…think about quality content.
Step Three: Measure your success on your ability to drive users back to your website using some simple best practices. Use giveaways to keep people engaged with you after they become a fan.
For example, a Facebook fan page post might be a ticket giveaway. “We’re giving away two tickets to the Pacers game this weekend and we’ve placed a Pacers logo on our website. The first fan to find the logo and post a link to the page it’s on here will win the tickets.”
Using this example, think about what you have just accomplished. You just reached out to everyone on your Facebook Fan Page and directed them to visit your website, look it over completely, and then post a link to your page on Facebook. That’s good stuff all the way around…increased traffic and great SEO value.
Step Four: Realize that creating engagement now leads to incremental sales and service business down the line. What you can expect to accomplish with a persistent and productive social media strategy is top-of-mind awareness when your followers and fans are considering a new vehicle or service on their existing car.
So, if you’re just getting started with your social media strategy, remember, there are many schools of thought and ideas floating around on how you can leverage this new and exciting media. Remember also that your ability to create long lasting relationships will deliver revenue in the end. That concept is nothing new in automotive.
Mike DeCecco, director of industry relations for Dealer.com. For more information, visit www.dealer.com.