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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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JD Rucker

JD Rucker Founder

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Social is Big, Yes, But...

For over a year, I've worn two hats. As Director of New Media for TK Carsites, it's my job to make sure that our marketing products that support websites for dealers (namely SEO and Social Media) are supercharged and kicking tail. My team is stronger than it's ever been and things have been rocking along for some time now.

As President of Hasai, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of TK Carsites, we've worked with major companies and publications to spread their content virally, sending around 11 million pageviews per month to just under 25 websites.

Hasai hit a "tipping point" recently where it is able to run well without much of my personal bandwidth being spent on it. As a result, I've been focusing nearly all of my time on analyzing and breaking down the automotive industry's needs and "feel the pulse" of dealers as a whole.

A couple of  weeks ago, I came to a conclusion that was (thankfully) wrong.

During October's string of conferences, social media was the message that many were spreading. It's big. It's growing. Dealers need it.

For their own part, most dealers that approached us were asking about Power Social more than our other two core services (SEO and Websites). I came to the conclusion that dealers may be losing sight of the most important parts of their marketing strategy in favor of the "sexy" potential of social media.

Then, Google made their changes. We held an emergency webinar to discuss how dealers can take advantage of these changes, and I was shocked. Rather than have to convince very many that they cannot take their eye off the SEO ball, HUNDREDS of dealers reached out and contacted us about the webinar and actions they needed to take. Despite having less than 24 hours notice (we didn't want to wait for the next scheduled webinar so we announced it the day before), this was our most discussed and attended webinar and the discussion points keep pouring in.

We will be breaking down the webinar (it turned into a 2-hour discussion with questions flying in throughout) and posting the highlights and action points here on Driving Sales. I was so tremendously encouraged that despite all of the hype surround social media, despite all of the vendors pushing social, social, social, that dealers haven't forgotten that SEO is still the meat and potatoes.

I'm a social media guy. As such, I know that it can be a tremendous tool and I've seen dealers do some incredible things with it. Still, SEO is the key to long- and short-term success. SEO is the "must have" and social media is the "should have". The hype from vendors (us included) at October's conferences made me question whether or not that message was still being heard.

Thankfully, dealers answered that question last week.

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Read more about Automotive Digital Marketing

Eric Miltsch
@JD, Nice commentary. Seems that SM is simply perceived as the "fun" section of the business. Sure, it can be. SM is the most visible, People don't see, or hear, about the other 90% of the basics being done behind the scenes - designing, building, creating processes, writing & the endless amount of time supporting our employees. I'm with you when you say it's the "Should have" element. Grab the must have items first and do them extremely well. Focusing on the "Should have" items first is just going to make you say "I should have done that other stuff first."
Jeff Cryder
"Seems that SM is simply perceived as the "fun" section of the business. Sure, it can be. SM is the most visible, People don't see, or hear, about the other 90% of the basics being done behind the scenes designing, building, creating processes, writing & the endless amount of time supporting our employees." 1. Amen, the all-nighter I pulled at my dealership this week validates that point. 2. The space under your desk isn't a very good mattress substitute 3. I equate it to a TV show. Everyone thinks it's all fun and glamor. What they don't see is all the work that goes on behind the scenes to make the show possible. 4. I love it. That being said, I realized this week SEO is just the same as being an accountant just with letters instead of numbers. :/

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