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The most amazing part about the internet and social media is that it has opened up communication between people and businesses that was never possible before. We now have the ability to talk to our customers and for them to talk to us in an interactive fashion, allowing for clear lines of engagement that can be both public and private.
For car dealers, this has translated into an incredible way for them to broadcast their messages and get feedback in real time. On Facebook, people can like, comment on, or share their posts when they appreciate them... and even when they do not. The world is completely different than it was a decade ago when the most powerful method of online communication, the email, was still relegated to being private.
This all means that dealers can receive interaction, but it also means that they're required to deliver interaction right back at their customers. Every day, we see dealers who are not taking advantage of this. People will comment on their Facebook posts, talk about them on Twitter, or respond to their blog posts and YouTube videos, but we then see many of the interactions going one way. The people are talking to the dealers but the dealers aren't always replying.
This is a big mistake because proper two-way communication breeds more communication. When people see your posts and also see that you're replying to the people that are commenting, it makes it more likely that they'll want to comment even more.
It also creates a proper feedback mechanism. A lot of dealers are doing this best practice on review sites, but then the same dealers are failing to engage on social media. When you allow social media to be a way for people to engage in a proper discussion on automotive topics, you're allowing them to help you get more reach for your messages.
The more you comment back, the more new comments you'll get. The more new comments you get, the more people will see the posts that are getting the comments. It's a great way to increase your message exposure.
Perhaps the most important reason to reply to everyone who comments on your posts is that it's simply proper manners. If someone says "hi" to you in the grocery store, you'll usually say "hi" right back at them even if you don't know them. It's good form to reply to those who talk to you and that carries over to your social media interactions.
Dealers that are doing this well can take it to the next level. They can get involved with other conversations of a general interest to the local community and start to really express the dealership's personality. This is key on social media. After all, part of being "social" is interacting with as many people as possible.
The streets in the social media world run in both directions. Savvy dealers are making sure that they're not just seeking engagement from others but that they're being engaging as well.