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Chris Costner

Chris Costner Account Executive

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Do You Have Bad Social Habits?

As "Social Dealers", we work everyday to engage, inform and hopefully entice prospective customers to buy our vehicles or use our service and parts departments at some point. I would think we are working to have them become not only brand advocates of our manufacturer’s brand but also advocates of our personal brand as a dealership in the community.

By now, many of us are using Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Foursquare, LinkedIn and Blogs to help make ourselves known and gain attention in the community.  Hopefully there is a plan in place on the content you are posting and when you are posting.  We definitely do not want to turn off those who have taken the time to be a part of our social community. There are few common mistakes a dealership can make that will lead to customers signing off and never to be seen again. They could also tell their friends or family about their negative feelings which as we all know will go much further than any message we could ever post.

Social Media is rapidly changing every day and many ideas that we use today may not be around next year. There is so much potential that many of us are constantly discovering everyday. Listed below are a few annoying things dealerships could find themselves doing which are mistakes we all want to avoid:

 

No Presence

These days it is unacceptable for a dealership not to have a presence online. Most consumers now will research a vehicle or dealership online before deciding which vehicle to purchase and from what dealership. If you don’t have your dealership(s) on the Internet, consumers will likely not pay any attention to you. I find it very frustrating when searching for a business, even just a phone number or address, and being unable to find anything. Keep in mind, if a prospective purchaser can’t find you online, their level of trust in your dealership will diminish and they will move on to your competitor’s sites.

 

Keep Focused

This is an easy mistake to make especially if you are using multiple channels or have several people posting content. With social media, us as dealers should want to be known as experts in our industry.  With that being said, what would our followers want to see from us? While you can inject some fun into it by tweeting about dealership activities or sharing photos of something funny, make the majority of your updates, tweets or posts about our industry.  It certainly is good to mix it up some but let’s not change who we are and what we are here for. Keep the conversation going and occasionally have a converting message in there. If you have more than one person running your social media accounts, be sure they all know what content has already been posted to avoid being repetitive and confusing your followers.

 

Don’t Make It Complicated

We all love a clever marketing idea, but there is a difference between being clever and being complicated. If you try and trick your prospective customers, like I have seen many times in the “newspaper days”, you will lose their interest. We are all striving to be transparent dealers, let’s be transparent with our promotions too. Our prospective customers are looking for an easy and hassle free way of doing business with us. If we don’t do it, I promise the dealership down the street will.

 

Stop Trying To Convert Everyone

Us as dealers should know that it takes the building of rapport and some sort of a relationship before a prospective customer will sign on the dotted line. Social Media isn’t any different and it too is about building a relationship based on trust.  We can’t build that trust by sending out constant promotional messages, coupons, and inventory links.  This road has been hard enough to get where we are today.  Let’s not push them away. What value can we as dealers add to our follower’s lives? Be conversational and very careful when trying to convert.

 

Inconsistent

Once you start a Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Foursquare, LinkedIn or Blog page, be sure to keep it going every day. There is nothing worse than a stale site. In my opinion it looks unprofessional and shows a lack of pride for your dealership and brand. If a dealership couldn’t be bothered to update their sites at least once a week, I would think they wouldn’t want to be bothered to give great customer service even if they had a great product to sell. The key is to post or update regularly and a little more often for those on Twitter.

 

Now many of you may be saying this is all common sense and for the most part I agree. It is still amazing though on how many dealerships do and will get this wrong. We have some super effective tools to spread our messages through social media. Don’t take it lightly and be consistent by all means. Results will come. 

Jim Bell
Great post Chris and great points. I like the keep it focused part and not complicated. Dealers have to have a plan in place when taking on social and a lot just like to 'wing it' and that just doesn't seem to work too well.
Chris Costner
Thanks Jim, I agree with your comment on "winging it" which I truly believe many are still doing today in their stores. I think of you every time the word "content" comes to mind. It is KING just like you say.
Daniel Fontaine
On point Chris. Nice Work. Social is not something that can simply added onto the already hectic to do list of an internet manager or BDC team member. To effectively manage, engage and work the social media landscape it is vital to have someone that is dedicated that can respond and engage in a timely, relevant manner. Nice job. +1
Chris Costner
Appreciate the feedback Daniel. Well said regarding the management of social media.
Bryan Armstrong
Great post Chris and you know I agree. Devil's advocate here: How do you keep SM activities, which have a traditionally will have a slower though higher conversion rate, from taking a backseat to the "here and now" mentality that pervades the common Dealership? Updating a blog is important, but not having any appts. to show for the day will always take priority. There are VERY few Dealer's out there who employ a true e-Commerce Director (GSM of the on-line Store)and most people are trying to fit all these tasks in while being paid a pittance if anything outside their commissions from sales.

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