After tip-toeing around this subject for most of the year, it's time to take a more direct approach. With more car dealers using "social' media these days, seeing the overwhelming amount of non-conversations are staggering! A quick visit to the majority dealer accounts on Twitter and Facebook reveal the following:
• use of what are supposed to be social sites and services for essentially 'unpaid' advertising
o The home of the $199 lease
o Largest volume dealer in the area
o Amazing inventory
o More models arriving daily
• use of auto-follow and auto-retweet programs to 'simplify' building followers
o 30-day old accounts with 2,000+ followers
o Retweets of Automotive News articles
+ Consumers can't access as it's subscription only, and why share?
• limited contextual links and content
o video links are exclusively to store's site or YouTube inventory/walk-arounds
o Using same links over and over with only slight modifications
Here's the hint that will hopefully get you to use social media for what it's intended for: it's called social for a reason. There is absolutely nothing remotely social about car prices, lease specials, inventory, and 'buy here!'.
Social is about conversation, influence, sharing, participation and ultimately growing your virtual community. And take note: this happens after time. It's organic and you have to learn. It's not about control, rants (although those can be fun in moderation), telling, limitation or virtually throwing the keys on the roof. Nobody cares about 100 tweets telling how much you'll promise to save them, less the fine print.
Share funny stuff, eye-opening stuff, cool videos, first-to-market stuff, did-you-know stuff, share fun events, invite people over to do things for free and ultimately build a relationship around having conversations. You'll be amazed at how many customer service situations you can remedy, how many times you can correct someone's misunderstanding about a capability or spec on a vehicle and ultimately plant some seeds so that, when it's time, you already have a customer that doesn't give a rat's behind that you are giving away gross on "1 car at this price'.
So take some time and learn, understand and start participating instead of just posting. Just participating in social media doesn't give you any passes or kudos. Be real, be original, be compelling and be relevant. If you know you're market, friends, followers and customers, chances are you'll be more successful.
Dealership staff: Don't talk to people. Talk with people. Listen to people. Create a valid, unpaid following that is interested in what you share. Be fun. Be intentionally unintentional.
Go ahead, dare to be unique and different. You might just end up being really social...
Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results