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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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JD Rucker

JD Rucker Founder

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Are Hand-Me-Downs Acceptable at Your Dealership?

Are your posts fresh or recycled

Look, I get it. I understand that it’s hard for vendors and OEMs to produce a social media solution for their dealers that scales properly while still bringing in good content. I do not, however, understand the concept of not even trying to mix things up. There’s an easy road and a hard road for automotive social media, but there’s also the right road, the one that scales properly while still maintaining individuality and creativity at the core of the service.

I know this for a fact. I’ve developed it.

It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t hard, either. It took some time, plenty of planning, a ton of testing, and an unyielding principle to do for clients what I would want done if I were at a dealership, but the results have been astounding (beyond my own expectations) and the effort is exactly as it should be – enough to make a strategy that helps dealers sell more cars but not so much that it become cost prohibitive. Every dealer and vendor should examine what they’re doing in social media and decide whether or not it’s worth risking your dealership’s reputation by reposting content from someone else.

Keep in mind, sharing is perfectly acceptable. If you see something on a different Facebook page that your audience will enjoy, share it! Don’t do it too often – it’s not algorithmically viable to have shared content filling your page – but it’s better than grabbing it and reposting it. What’s worse is to grab it and repost it on a bunch of other dealers’ pages as well.

I first noticed this during the Toyota Corolla launch a couple of weeks ago. We posted an image of the new Corolla and it did very well for our client. Minutes later, it was posted again. And again. And again. There’s no telling how many Toyota dealers had the same content posted almost simultaneously, but it wasn’t a case of imitation being the best for of flattery. It was ridiculous, but I let it go. Maybe someone was in a hurry. Maybe our post was just that compelling and needed to be shared. I didn’t think it was a standard practice, but now I know differently.

You deserve better. Your content should be unique regardless of how widespread your marketing company is. Again, and I cannot stress this enough, it’s scalable and extremely effective to post 100% unique content on Facebook for hundreds, even thousands of clients. It’s not acceptable to take shortcuts for the sake of a vendor’s bottom line. It shouldn’t be this way. There’s way too much potential with social media done the right way to allow laziness or cost savings to supersede a client’s needs.

That’s it. Sorry for the rant. This stuff gets me riled up.

Gary May
Awesome, awesome, awesome. More people need to get where JD is, at least in mindset. Dealers and (mostly) OEMs are still not even close to being aware of their digital presence, let alone social footprint, so this 'reality' is not going away. Social 'done right' is no different and requires the same knowledge, attention and care as fixed or variable ops in your dealerships! It requires the same consideration as sales process. OK, that may be just a slight overstatement but the thought must be there. Let's face it: business still come up with cost, resource and attention excuses. If we can't get leads contacted, tracked and communicated with properly, how much attention should we give social networks and the content we post? Nope, turn it over to an OEM endorsed provider (there's only a few of them so think hard) and you've got social media covered', right? WRONG! The reality is the top-endorsed providers actually damage your social media presence. Yes, read that again. And again. Well, why would an approved, well-known provider give you crap service? Simple: they can. Back in February, my flight heading to NADA ended up being fortuitous. Next to me was a top level staffer from Google. We ended up talking, quite a bit, about the state of social in the industry, fully aware that their G+ product was going to part of our chat. His top question ended up being telling: "what does (fill in company starting with "D") actually do and why do they provide such a poor service? They mess up Google Places locations for dealers all the time". No matter how many posts are shared about the pitiful state of social content for dealers, it still doesn't change much: your business can't get real posting redundant content and both your customers and the search engines will ignore you until you start really investing, posting, listening, using best practices, measuring, validating and asking tough questions from your vendors. Look, this is no different than anything else that's been done in the automotive Internet in its now 18-year existence. Dealers today still buy $800 websites, $1,000 pay-per-click, $900 co-oped social media and $10,000 in leads monthly and think they've got their business right. Pitiful. It's a slow digital death with the above mindset. JD has shown again, as only a few honest few of us have for the past 5-6 years, in beautiful color images, that what dealers buy, for the most part, is embarrassing. Stop sticking your head under a rock, not believing that social content (read: SHARING) is one of the most critical parts of your off-site/SEO experience and under-committing to something so critical. STOP HIRING 'SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES' UNTIL YOU GET THE FACTS. It's an investment! Heck it's a marathon (my apologies for the cliche), not a blind sprint. And if the OEMs would learn, really learn, and stop approving eCommerce and social media vendors that are pulling the wool over their eyes, we'd ALL be better for it. Stop hiring solutions based on problems or deficiencies and start really looking at companies that know that they're talking about. The brain damage that OEMs and dealers will save translates into 10's if not 100's of thousands of dollars annually and.......wait for it..........car sales! JD, great job and thank you once again for showing (in great detail) more of the garbage that dealers get from the most pervasive companies that are hired in the industry...that shouldn't be.

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