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Does this conversation sound familiar?
Bob: “Hey Joe, it’s GREAT to talk to you. How are you on this OUTSTANDING day? How is the weather where you are, old buddy?”
Joe: “It’s hot and humid here, thanks for asking. How is the weather in Kansas?”
Six months later.
Bob: Also hot.
Of course, this conversation doesn’t sound at all familiar. It’s absurd.
Unfortunately, the scenario I’ve just described paints an exact picture of a common social media problem. It’s what I like to call the “popcorn approach” to social media, and its killing many dealership social media programs in their tracks.
The popcorn approach goes something like this: The social media program is announced. Accounts are created. Everyone starts off hot and heavy, posting up a storm to all their new best friends for life. Two months, two weeks, even two days pass. The real world intrudes. Daily duties pile up. The interest wanes. The posting stops. The program fizzles out, rendering all that initial effort worthless.
Sound familiar? It may seem funny, but as a social media professional, it honestly makes me want to cry. The reason why is because if you’re doing social media like this, you’re wasting your time.
I know what you’re thinking: “What is this guy’s problem? I am not wasting my time. I totally have a social media program. I have a Facebook account with 231 friends, a WWF wrestler as my Twitter avatar, and a blog with a name and everything! What else do you want from me?”
What I want from you is the one thing that sets a successful social media program apart: consistency. Consistency is defined as a regular cadence between your business and your target audience. It means regularly posting on Facebook, blogs, Twitter or whatever other social media channels you’ve identified as valuable to your business. It means when someone asks you a question on Twitter, you don’t take six months to respond. It means when someone leaves you a glowing review on Yelp, you don’t thank them three years from now. You respond exactly the way you would in a real conversation, because at the end of the day, that’s what social media is: a conversation. Not a checklist of accounts to create. Not a marketing campaign you can set and forget. It’s a real, genuine conversation-meaning it depends on regular back-and-forth repartee to work.
In social media, consistency is currency. With consistent social media efforts, a customer rapport is built. With consistent social media efforts, that customer rapport blossoms into a changed perception of your business. With consistent social media efforts, that changed perception inspires customers to refer you to friends, to write nice reviews about you, to buy something from your company, or whatever else your business goal may be. It works, and it’s the only that works.
Consistency is the key to social media that meets business goals. Don’t end up like Bob and Joe. Meet your business goals, keep the popcorn in the bowl, and remember; no one likes awkward silences, online or off.
P.S. Lest you think I’m too much of a buzzkill, stay tuned for my follow-up series on tips for creating a consistent social media program in your dealership. You can do it!
Matt Muilenburg is Vice President of Social Media for ADP Digital Marketing (formerly The Cobalt Group), where he has been working closely with dealers and OEMs to identify new ways to improve automotive retailing and marketing effectiveness. When not sitting in front of a gadget, you’ll find Matt volunteering at the YMCA, attending his kids academic, musical and athletic events, or releasing stress by working in his yard and garden. You can reach Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 206-219-8259.
The Cobalt Group