Most dealerships use a CRM application in one form or another (some better than others). Everyone is trying to track their prospects and customers a little more closely because honestly, there are currently fewer of them. I think most dealerships are now looking into their DMS to mine previous shoppers in hopes of future business. This is a good thing, and I can say without a doubt that the last 14 months have been the most gut wrenching I have experienced in the last 18 years in the automotive industry. But I know that the dealerships that are left standing will be stronger, smarter and more equipped to deal with a marketplace that hasn't yet been fully defined.
Today, I want to focus on an emerging marketplace that I believe dealerships can leverage to gain a stronger local consumer influence, and secure their future in the automotive franchise business. The marketplace that I am referring to is Social Media. This dynamic and fluid channel is where over 250 million people are on FaceBook alone, gathering and sharing ideas, pictures, likes, dislikes and (Lil) green patch garden plants. Then there is Twitter, the fastest growing Social Media platform on the planet. I want to focus on these two platforms, but as you can see from this chart, the universe is large and so is the Social Media landscape.
So the question becomes: how does a dealership harness the power of these platforms to create a Social CRM program and build their own online community? Here are the steps I think are necessary to be successful on the Social Wide Web. First, here are some Do's & Don'ts.
Believe it or not, a lot of what you will have to do with Social Media is similar to successfully managing your dealership's prospect and customer database in your CRM. Except, Social Media is much more transparent and it moves quickly. The good part is that staying connected and engaged can help you grow an active database of people, much larger than a typical CRM, with just as much power-- if not more. This new frontier of Social Media can be one of the most profitable investments you make in your business over the next couple of years. The best part is that is doesn't require the marketing budgets we are use to in the automotive industry. It takes time, persistence and a desire to connect, but not much money. Are you ready, or you are still dipping your toe in the pool? We are at the precipice of the greatest customer land grab in history. This is the time to put your stake in the ground and claim your spot for your dealership's future. Go Social or Go Home.