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Kathi Kruse

Kathi Kruse President

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You're Not Befriending on Facebook...You're Marketing!

automotive social media kathi kruseWe buy from brands when they align with our values and share our perspectives. We’re much more inclined to buy when we have a relationship with the seller, whether it’s the corner bike shop, local car dealer or an enterprise brand.  It’s simple: if we’ve had a good experience with them before or through their marketing, we feel they’re someone we “like” and we buy from them.  This alignment is what drives the Social customer and dealers should capitalize on it immediately.

Huffington Post Tech Blogger Bianca Bosker published a post recently saying, “We buy from brands, we don’t befriend them!”.  For dealers and their community managers, the “befriending” is a social way of communicating what’s unique about the store so that potential customers will find a connection with them.  With today’s Social customer, the “buy” only happens after that connection is established.  We buy from brands only after we “befriend” them!

Some may argue this point but when the GoDaddy CEO shot and killed the elephant last year just for sport, it changed my mind forever about where I register my domains.  When a local restaurant reached out to me to see how my meal was just because I checked-in on Foursquare, I was impressed and I’ll think of them next time I want vegetarian.  So whether we’re aware of it or not, we do make choices about the brands we buy from based on who they are.

The big announcements last week from Facebook are game-changers for dealers.  Facebook focused mainly on the big brands in their presentations that day.  I’m not so convinced that big brands who market to me are doing it to develop a relationship.  (Sorry, huge corporation, you just aren’t there for me when I need a friend).  The value for dealers and other small businesses is that Facebook is the ideal medium to “befriend”– to let your fans get to know the real you.  Post engaging content and interact with your fans, just like in real life, and people will want to connect with you on a personal level.

Facebook is the perfect platform for dealers to deliver info about who they are and why they do what they do.

This is the value of content marketing and the level and ease of our connectedness has never been greater.  Dealers can truly make their Facebook page reflect what’s happening in their real-life community.  Once someone likes your page, they’ve given you permission to market to them!  They’ve “opted-in” to see what you’re all about.  It’s a longer process than the “advertise/sell” routine that some stores are still trying to make work for them.

Social Media has changed the way people buy.

They fast-forward through commercials but they give brands a chance to earn the right to market to them.  You can’t retreat and go back to the fort.  You can only go forward.  Attract, Engage, Convert, Engage.  You can’t be short-sighted about it.  There is no quick sale anymore.  Customers are shopping and researching and deciding way before they contact you.  Social Media allows you to be part of that conversation, to provide great information that brings your store attention and compels the customer to think of you first!

I’ve mentioned ’70′s car dealer Cal Worthington here on this blog many times and once again, I have to point out his genius.  His commercials said, “Come see me first! Don’t drive around using your own gas. I’ll give you 10 gallons of gas, just see me first!”.  He broadcasted his message on TV (the go-to media of that time) and stayed connected.  Check out his commercial here.

Today is no different: posting and sharing valuable, interesting content is today’s 10 gallons of gas.  When it’s time to buy, you’ve stayed in constant contact (just like Cal did) through Social Media and your marketing messages resonate with your audience.  They will see you first!

Your turn: What content have you been sharing that’s causing buyers to see you first?

Kathi Kruse
Social Media Coaching & Training


Jeremy Alicandri
Excellet points. Facebook content must be real and relevant.
Bryan Armstrong
"Post engaging content and interact with your fans, just like in real life, and people will want to connect with you on a personal level." Exactly! Remember at the end of the day, it is about SOCIAL with an END GOAL of a transaction.

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