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Elicia Tedrow

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Best Social Media Practices for Auto Dealers

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A car purchase is a big deal and in today’s ‘plugged-in’ world, it’s no surprise that people go online to research auto dealerships before visiting one.  Potential buyers today will not only do a basic search on Google, but they are also likely to research your company on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as review sites like DealerRater or Google Places (now Google+).  This is important because in a digital age, what consumers see or don’t see about a dealership online could have a direct impact on if they even set a foot on the car lot.  

Do you get why having an online presence, especially on social media sites, is of key importance to the success of your business?

Potential buyers are interested in not only in what your customers have to say about your business, but also how your business interacts and treats it customers. Not only should a car dealership have a social media presence to validate their business, but it should have a well managed presence.  This means that, like every media channel, social media has its own ‘code of conduct’ or ‘best practices’ that any successfully marketed company can refer to.

Here is a list of best practices that have been compiled by a team of experts, with years of experience marketing and managing social media for auto dealerships::

1. Do use photos of happy customers with their new car purchase.
This shows your customer appreciation.  Not only will it make that customer feel special and appreciated, and therefore, more likely to come back again, but it can also attract potential customers to your dealership. If the photo is shared or tagged on.Facebook or Twitter it becomes an implicit recommendation by the buyer for your dealership.  It’s like that customer just told all of their friends on Facebook, “Hey, I made a happy purchase at this dealership, you can make one too.”

However, before posting any photos in a public space such as Facebook, make sure you have a waiver or release form signed by the customer stating that you have permission to use the photo.

2. If you sponsor a sports team or a charity, share it!
Sharing that you sponsor a local team or charity connects you with your local customer base.  In addition to the perk of free publicity, this practice gives you a more positive image, that will come in handy when it comes to reputation management.  Unfortunately, car dealers have a negative stigma, which makes it even more imperative for you to manage your dealership’s reputation.

3. Put a snapshot of your inventory on Facebook.
People are inherently visual, especially when it comes to shopping for things like shiny new cars.  Having an inventory tab or application on your Facebook page allows users to view what your dealership has to offer without redirecting them off of the social media site.  This makes for a convenient, user-friendly way for you to market your supply to viewers without having to post your inventory on your page.

4.Don’t treat your social media page like the sales floor.
Social media is the place where you establish that connection with the client.  You build trust and a strong customer relationship that will hopefully keep them coming back to your dealership for any future purchase.  Constantly giving followers a sales pitch will not only make them lose interest, but also weaken or eliminate any relationship you may have built.

This isn’t to say don’t share anything about sales and deals.  Everyone knows how much consumers love to hear those two words. It is all about balance.  In fact, you should announce the special deals and sales your dealership is currently offering, however, do it sparingly. Divide how often you share sales d

als among the other relevant information, like local events, news stories, and entertainment.

5. If you are a local dealerships, post more local content.  
Keeping the content local helps you connect to your target audience and fan base.  As a car dealership, most of your customers are local, so it would make sense to post more local content, right?  Local events or news helps add a human touch to a car dealership’s social media presence and establishes a connection with primary buyers, local fans.

6. Visibly manage your reputation on social media sites.  Do treat it like a platform for customer service.  
Use of social media as a channel for customer service is rapidly rising.  Recently a Mashable article stated that approximately 80% of businesses are expected to have used social media as a platform for customer service by the end of the year and 62% are already using it for those purposes.

That percentage is only expected to increase, which makes it essential to know how to use social media as a channel for customer service.  Keep these tips in mind when approaching social media in a customer service situation:

1. Don’t ignore or delete the negative comments, as stated before.  

2. Craft customer friendly responses.

3. Always respond and handle the situation professionally.  It is only after a customer or situation gets extremely out of hand, for instance, with excessive profanity or over-egregious statements of threat that you should delete any comments or block any users.

What are some of your own tips or best practices for using social media for auto dearlerships?

Stephen Carroll Jr
Just curious on what the recommended volume of posting " sales and specials " should be ... Also consider the fact for multi-line new car stores ( we have 3 - Chevy , Nissan, Toyota plus used of course ) does sales volumes affect recommended amounts ? Thanks

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