With all this social networking, when do we have time to actullay sell

Kevin Leigh
I get it, social networking IS a big deal. It certainly has taken the world by storm and I agree there is a place for it in the corporate selling world. But should it consume so much of our time? This almost reminds me of the opening days of the internet, where everyone believed that brick and mortar dealers where done for. But the ones that stuck to the basics of relationship selling and appointment based contacts, have dominated. All I am asking is, how much time should we devote to “The Social”? Are we making too much of a big deal of it?
Jared Hamilton
Kevin, Ive believe some people are putting too much into to. What I mean by this is if you have to let your current foundation crumble in order to make time for social media marketing, than you are putting too much into it. Social media is a great avenue to grow your business and something you NEED to do. However dont do it at the expense at breaking what you currenlty have. Social Media should build your business, not hurt it. If you do not have time for all these things pull time from another activity that does not yield as good of results... or hire someone. The good news is that hiring to get more business is a good thing. Does that help?
Kevin Leigh
Thanks Jared and Carm. it was more of a rant than a question...
Rafi Hamid AutoExecutive
Kevin, handling this social networking and marketing difficulties are a common issue in our industry. Most people do feel overwhelmed yet it certainly has “NOT YET” taken the automotive world by storm! The explosion is coming in 2010. And certainly you can grab a hold of this bull by horns and ride the wave. As the technology is evolving and new tools are available to you and the industry you can do all of this without having to spend enormous time, money or even having to hire staff for this phenomenon. I have been reading so many great articles right here at Driving Sales business strategies, Jared is an expert on this subject and he hit the nail on the head. Planing is the key to your success, also if you are on my subscriber’s list I have those go out on a biweekly basis to share these techniques. Wish you and your family all the best in 2010.
Brian Pasch
@Kevin I have two perspectives on social media. The first is from a pure SEO standpoint. Now that I see Twitter and Facebook data on Google Page One (GPO) for searches on a dealer's name or cars that they sell, it becomes another tool in my recommended marketing toolbox. Secondly, if you believe that push marketing like email is diminishing in ROI and dealers should be thinking of how to place your message is in the path of the consumer, then social media is one of the more popular methods. I know when I post of Facebook only a few people in my overall list responds/comments to any one post. A larger group will see the message without disturbing their private space but the message is delivered. This is confirmed when I run into friends or clients who tell me, "Oh, I see you were in xxx city this week..." and I laugh because our lives are becoming as transparent as we desire. For car dealers, having your brand in the minds of consumers will be key to when they are ready to buy or engage. If your social media efforts provide good information, tips, customer testimonial videos, scam warnings, or educational materials then I believe will be rewarded. So, if you believe that good content will be watched or followed, and when people want to act or engage, they will, then you have to be engaged in social media. Overall, it's just a part of the monthly Internet Marketing package that we offer car dealers; important yes but it should be placed with the right prioritization. For example, if a car dealer's website content is outdated or has little useful information posted for local consumers to utilize, I would surely work on that FIRST based on the number of hits a car dealer gets a month. Everything in balance.
It appears to me that the perception of "dealing with Social Media" is quite off, when I see, hear and listen to arguments "When do we have time to sell cars". As I had mentioned earlier at the Digital Dealer Conference in Nashville, get first your ducks in the row - DUCKS a.k.a. known as PROCESSES. If you don't have your digital footprint set-up and you are at this point NOT in control on your Sales processes, website-metrics, SEO, SEM, E-Mail Marketing, etc...PLEASE DO NOT START your Social Media endeavor. See it as the simple exercise an Infant has to go through with – the Little One needs to CRAWL first, before she can start WALKING. The same applies to a dealership…get the basics first (CRAWL - processes in sales and digital marketing), and then when everything runs smoothly here, get up and take your first “social” steps. Get your Social Media Processes in place and on a fixed schedule at the beginning. Make sure your RSS feeds are set up for news and information, which will help you with your ambitions to create a Blog (which does not really be maintained daily but at least a couple times/week - SECRET IS CONCISTENCE). Set Google Alerts up for your Reputation Management (in case you do not have outsourced this to a 3rd party), and last but not least - when a desire exists to post in Facebook and/or Twitter, do it daily with 1 to 4 postings. If you were able to have done an initial set-up with Alerts, RSS, FB-page and Twitter-page, then you just spend from this point on approx. 30 minutes/day on your micro-blogging posts (Twitter/FB) and a possible 25 minutes/twice a week on your blog. I am confident that everybody can tackle these tasks and will be still able to sell cars. Social Engagement is and will be a necessity for every business for the years to come. As Rafi and Jared mentioned correctly, we can't just ignore it but instead need to deal with it.

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