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Gary May

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It's been said that in business, it's not what you know but rather who you know. In social media it's not much different! It's not what you say, it's what everyone else thinks about what you say (and who repeats it that has a significant following). In today's auto industry social landscape, we're ruled by "buy here", "special of the day", "unbelievably cheap oil change", "home of the bla-dee-blah-blah-lease!" and more ranting and ravings about "me me me" than I'd care to acknowledge.

It seems that the opportunity for a bunch of folks to so-called "save" their dealership from "paid advertising" and more importantly "relevant advertising" by getting "free advertising" has horribly skewed the mindset of otherwise savvy people. I can see it now...just imagine with me....(fake clouds of dry ice are filling the stage in your mind)...

"Hey boss, you're not going to believe this! Me, your amazing but otherwise unknown Internet salesperson, just came up with the way to save $20,000 a month or more from your advertising budget! Guess who ran smack dab into Twitter and Facebook!? ME!! If you can manage, I'll take over our social stuff and you can get someone else to close all of the leads that I'll generate FOR FREE!! Ok, ok, ok, get this: I'll put all of our inventory on Facebook, post all of our specials on Twitter, upload videos to YouTube for vee-ess-ee-ohh or something like that, put photos of happy customers on Plaxo and get EVERYONE to do write ups on Yelp, Google and all the industry reputation sites! And guess what else?! I'll respond to every comment, squelch every heater and unwind and steal our competition's customers...all online!! Whatdayathink boss???!!"

Simply put, social media is not for advertisements. Ads do have their place in social media and some sites, but that's not the driver. Create conversations, share unique and exclusive information (being first still 'sells'), point to great videos, old commercials, one-of-a-kind events, validate both satisfied and unsatisfied customers, promote events that you donate or are somehow involved with and THEN take time to put up a special (and make it really special)...I hope this is getting through...

If all you post is "buy here, buy here, buy here", nobody will listen, care or interact. Imagine going to a number of parties over the summer, getting to know the regulars, and one person is promoting their business and trying to get you to buy incessantly. You'd avoid them, almost at any cost for sure.

Now think to yourself: "why would I want to be that person online"?

Kick the "sell, sell, sell" binge and start some great conversations that turn to great relationships that turn into a larger book of business than you'd otherwise have. Go be great in social media and leave the selling to the tweeps that don't get it.

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