With the new year upon us, it is time we sit down and determine the ROI of our past (and recent) online marketing initiatives. What has worked for you? What hasn’t? What is your social networking resolution?
Are you going to dedicate your financial resources (ad budget) to the failed or fledgling programs of yesteryear or try your hand at all of the digital marketing tactics you read so much about daily? If it isn’t working, at what point do you cut ties, end your relationship with the old school vendors, and spend time on a more worthy venture such as social media?
If you want to succeed on a social networking landscape, you must first put yourself in your customer’s shoes. You must share their mindset. “What is in it for them?” you have to ask yourself. You need to show a benefit to the consumer for joining you on these networking sites. Stop worrying about what is important to you and start realizing what is important to your audience. This is the greatest obstacle for almost every dealer with a Twitter and Facebook account right now. So few have any idea what the hell to do with them! Remember, your customers are likely on these sites for personal reasons so recognize that it is called SOCIAL networking, not “business” networking.
I’ll tell you – to do it right, you must learn how to educate, engage, and entertain your audience with multiple forms of media and user-generated content to increase customer retention, brand awareness, and positive consumer reviews all while creating interactive, VIP-styled discount/deal/contest programs to elicit referrals, responses, and business. By the way, you can’t be too intrusive, pushy, overwhelming, or generic. Let me tell you… easier said than done. The “doing” takes time, knowledge, dedication, and commitment. More than most dealers are willing to dedicate.
A year ago and a half ago, you could say that social media is still early in its evolution and could have spent time figuring out the best practices on your own. Today, it is too late to experiment. You are losing market share every single time another one of your competitors joins the social site community. You no longer have the luxury to play around and wait to find out the best practices of the medium.
If you are behind the social networking times, you have to make a resolution. You’ll need to either rededicate some advertising budget to training – someone who can give you a jump start on the best practices of the platform – or farm out your entire social networking campaigns to a company or group able to control your presence in this online marketplace. Or if you wanted to spend even more money, hire a professional to do it on-site full-time. I don’t know anyone who does the latter, but I can point you in the right direction on the formers.
So I ask you…what is your Social Networking Resolution? Do you have a plan? If not, you better have a budget.