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Knowing how to navigate social media is similar to navigating your neighborhood streets. Just as you wouldn’t slam on the gas between two stop signs a hundred yards apart, you should be conscientious of the acceptable behaviors and expectations of participating in social media. Here are 8 simple rules for engagement in social media.

1. Social media is meant to be FUN! Inject some personality into your postings, be friendly and be entertaining. But remember to keep it clean! 2. Don’t push…Pull. Ask questions....don’t sell. Especially not right off the bat. Listen and learn from your audience. Build a rapport. Eventually you should be able squeeze some sales messages in without backlash. Promote your dealership in a non-intrusive way. 3. Be authentic. Be you. Be honest about who you are and what your intentions are. 4. Give up control! Let your followers and fans speak and share their experiences. Don’t restrict who can and can’t leave comments. When someone does share, be sure to respect his or her opinions. 5. Be realistic. Don’t expect immediate results. You can spend a half an hour a day on social media but understand that it will likely yield a very unsuccessful result. The more time and effort your dealership is able to dedicate, the better the engagement. Additionally, social media is aimed at building deep, meaningful relationships. And we all know that those don’t happen overnight. It’s been said that social media will never close a deal, but it can certainly create a buzz about your product. The deal must be closed once the prospect enters your dealership. 6. Address any concerns or negative feedback immediately. “When you respond quickly to a customer concern or complaint it lets the customer know what to expect when they do business with you,” according to Lori Vajda Social Media Coordinator for AutoNation. Not only is the timeliness of response important, but also the manner in which you respond. If someone posts a comment on Twitter, respond on Twitter. This ensures that the same people who saw the initial comment will also see your response. 7. Frequently update your profile with meaningful, relevant and timely information. A stagnant profile will scare off customers and prospects alike quicker than a salesperson in a vintage polyester suit. 8. Measure. Just as with other marketing efforts, don’t forget to track your progress. This can be done easily by tracking the number of fans you obtain, the number of Twitter followers, the number of times a tweet is retweeted, the number of blog subscribers or the number of video views. This information can usually be easily obtained. You can also use Google Analytics, a free tool used to track website and blog traffic (provided you don’t have something similar in place and/or you have someone who can set it up for you). Though we’ve outlined the etiquette of social media above, if you need to remember just one rule-of-thumb in social media it’s that you should be yourself.

~ Missy Jensen, Social Media Manager at DMEautomotive.

Bio:

Missy designs, deploys and maintains the social media initiatives for DMEautomotive in an effort to increase brand awareness, distribute company and industry news, provide updates on products and services and promote consumer engagement. Missy enjoys the process of learning; researching and watching projects come to fruition!

Prior to her transformation into a web specialist and work with DMEautomotive, she has 10 years of experience in the marketing and communications industry. Missy served as the Director, Handicapping & Communications for a regional golf association and helped successfully launch and maintain a cutting edge technology-based ticket resale program on behalf of the St. Louis Cardinals

Missy attended St. Lawrence University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Psychology. She also holds a Master’s Degree from Miami University in Oxford, OH. She can be reached at missy.jensen@dmeautomotive.com

LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/missyjensen

Original blog post is located at http://automotivedirectmarketing.blogspot.com/2010/02/8-simple-rules-for-navigating-social.html

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