Social Media

Byron Womack
I have an aggressive IT guy that has convinced my Dealer Principal to allow him to lock down our internet. No personal emails, no websites unless they are manufactures websites. My discussion point is not on the lockdown, but it is my Sales Managers all want thier own Dealership Facebook sites and access to them. So my question is two part. I am told Facebook doesn't sell vehicles and second of all,why is my Sales Managers all of a sudden so interested in Facebook? Autotrader, Cars.com, Carsoup and others are all saying Social Media is not viable to sell units, but merely a place for friends to hang out on. Please help
Eric Miltsch
Byron, Ask your IT Guy if he's also going to lock down the phone system and monitor cell phone activity. Facebook, and any other social platform, won't sell vehicles. At first. There are so many resources just within DrivingSales.com that can illustrate how these type of sites and activities can in fact help your business. Look at the facts - EX: Amount of time people spend on SN sites, amount of traffic being referred form SN sites, amount of time consumers spend on mobile SN sites, etc. Autotrader & other 3rd party sites don't necessarily say they don't sell units - but they do say these sites act as a helpful bridge, or connector. Consider the fact that Yelp is considered both a social networking site as well as a location based service - Autotrader.com now offers the ability to link your store's Yelp page to your dealer profile page. This decision wasn't made on a lark. There are serious benefits for participating within these sites for business purposes, the most important one being the fact that Google now includes items like facebook/twitter/google+ sharing among their ranking factors. At this stage of the game, a tight IT policy that doesn't consider progressive concepts like these is going to hurt a dealership more than it helps.
David Johnson
Very well said Eric, as usual. I want to expand on your second sentence: Facebook, and any other social platform, won't sell vehicles. At first. First of all, Byron, Eric is right. Social media isn't about creating leads... directly. It's about building the kinds of relationships that influence both word-of-mouth and customer loyalty. I don't have to point out any statistics, we all know that the best form of advertising is word-of-mouth, which happens to be best way to use social media, to create and influence the creation of brand ambassadors. Unfortunately, most dealerships don't get that, they are using social networks all wrong and because of that, a lot of people see the use of social marketing as useless, which is a shame really. Or worse yet, as a waste of time, so dealerships are blocking the use of Facebook and other social networks. But, as with most things, if you have the right training in place, social marketing will be a great addition to any dealerships marketing mix.
Eric Miltsch
Thx David - you brought up more valid items as well. @Byron - another point to consider is operating within the social channels merely as a listener rather than a broadcaster. I'd also ask your GM how they intend to monitor & respond to what's being said about your store online. Keep up the fight; you're obviously trying to point the store in the right direction or you wouldn't be posting here...it'll happen.
VJ VJ
@Byron, sorry to hear you have to fight similar to Nicolas Copernikus and trying to convince that the sun is not evolving around the earth... The problem I see (and thanks to @Eric and David) is that Facebook is not the synonym for Social Media alone but clearly is stuck in the head of your IT Guy and your DP. Social Media won't sell cars, yet...but it will drive traffic to your website, when posts written right and awaken curiosity in potential consumers. Just an example from my experience as an eCom Director for 13+ stores and you are welcome to share...Twitter posts I sent out to my followers resulted them to follow a link to our YouTube channel feat. a Lotus Elise we just had traded in. No sales message was exchanged either in Twitter nor in YouTube, but curiosity initialized 5 phone calls, increase in hit on our inventory pages and 7 hours (!!!) later the car was sold to a Gentleman who found the Twitter post with the specific hashtag (#) - a clear indication that social channels are working. You need to make a case that Facebook does not stand alone for Social Media. YouTube is; Twitter of course;, Foursquare and the approximate 3000+ other social communities and networks out there. Last but not least...you know how important SEO is for your dealership exposure. Now there is another player coming into the game. SCO = Social Content Optimization. I found an interesting article on June 27 at http://socialmediatoday.com. It was written by Steve Olenski and had almost 5k readers. "How Social Media Affects Search Marketing" - you'll see the point, and I hope your DP as well.
Glen Garvin
@byron - perfect answer: get him to go to DSES! Or, if not, you got to get him around dealers who are being successful with it and show case studies. As Eric said, keep at it, things will eventually turn around... I know some dealers who originally said the Internet was a fad that eventually saw the light and are leading the industry now

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