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Kathi Kruse

Kathi Kruse President

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6 Smart Moves to Engage Employees in Social Media

6 Smart Moves to Engage Employees in Social MediaHave you recently come ’round to the idea that Social Media is an integral part of your overall marketing?  You’ve discovered how valuable it is at creating genuine interest in your store to generate leads?  Congratulations! Now let’s get to work.

It takes a village to search, locate, curate and publish content on Social Media. In the world of auto retail, this is not easily achieved.  Everyone in the store is busy selling or supporting those that sell cars, parts or service.  Where do you find the time?  This is truly the case where the sum of the parts is more valuable than each part on its own.  It’s time to leverage the power you have in your staff.

Involving your employees in Social Media is the key that unlocks your Social network and fosters high engagement with your fans/followers.  Here are 6 smart moves to engage employees in Social Media:

1.  Provide Education & Training.  Social Media (and online reputation management) are the new forms of marketing.  Just because someone has a personal profile or dabbles in the Social space, it doesn’t make them a marketing expert.  It takes a Social Media strategist to map out how you want to be known, who your customer is, why people should like or follow you and design content around all that.  Social Media changes every day.  Make room in your budget for education. It’s cost effective and faster than wading through the maze.

2.  Provide Access to Social Media.  Let’s be honest here: your employees are already on Social Media at work. If you block these sites, you’re only cutting off a very lucrative source going directly to your customer.  Blocking Social Media sites is similar to shutting off your phones or taking down email.  Employees have smartphones and laptops at work so embrace that fact and leverage it.  Listen to them.  Let them bring you their ideas on how to engage Social customers.

3.  Establish a Social Media Policy.  Social media is a new communication channel, but it doesn’t change the basic rules of honesty, courtesy and respect that your store promotes and each employee represents in their day-to-day work lives.  You recognize the importance of participating in these online conversations so you want to provide a clear and purposeful Social Media policy for all your staff to follow to help protect both the staff and the business.

  • Outline descriptions of the Social networks and demonstrate how they benefit the company.
  • Provide acceptable employee uses of Social Media and guidelines for Social Media use.

4.  Give Them a Reason to Engage.  Any Social Media campaign will have a rough road without grassroots employee buy-in.  Some employees will be active on Facebook, others on Twitter or LinkedIn, and some will hardly know what Social Media is.  Adjust your expectations for specific employees and know that every single person has a contribution to make.

  • Do you have a Master Tech who loves interacting with the customers?  Let him do some simple “How To” videos.
  • Do you have a Service Advisor who is loved by her customers?  Help her engage with customers on Social Media and submit feedback.
  • Do you have a Salesperson who likes to write or do video blogs?  Let them submit content.
  • Persuade, Motivate, Recognize, and Reward.  You’re building a team of “brand evangelists”. It pays to construct a good foundation.

5.  Be a User of Social Media.  Most dealers and managers I work with start out with an aversion to Social Media.  By becoming a user, by participating in the medium, every one has found it to be fun, interesting and valuable.  Lead by example.  Social Media spreads awareness about you as the person behind the brand.  Tracy Myers of Frank Myers Auto Maxx embodies this concept.  His customers and his community feel they know him through his presence on Social Media and they trust him.  You have the ability to communicate in the same way.  The added benefit of being participatin is that you’ll know exactly what your spending your money on and how it’s working for or against you.

6.  Be Creative & Open about Content.   Devote a few hours a week to brainstorming sessions with your staff.  Your community manager is the kingpin to your content but it cannot be done alone.  Input from every person in your store is critical.  Here are some launch pad ideas:

  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Causes
  • Internal contests to engage “Raving Fans”
  • Events
  • Photos (eye candy counts!)

Your Turn: How have you leveraged the power of your team to create relevant content for your fans/followers?

Kathi Kruse
Social Media Coaching & Training

Jim Bell
Great points Kathi. The one that always baffles me is the blocking of facebook at work. When it first came out, there was a lot of gaming going on with the farmville and like games. Now that the dust has settled, it is a great way for the salespeople to engage with their customers on a different level.
Chris Costner
Thanks for sharing such a great game plan Kathi. I too agree with Jim on the blocking of social sites. Dealership staff are encouraged to engage with current and prospective customers on the lot, at the gas station, public functions, places of worship or any other place other than social networks? Really? It seems to me that the consumer will never get to experience true transparency of a dealership unless this changes. It reminds me of the movie "Daddy Daycare" when Eddie Murphy and his wife were forced to look at more affordable child care facilities. One they visited, the daycare owners came out of the house and motioned to follow around to the side of the house to a storm cellar saying, "We keep the children right around here." It raises a question for me which is why are dealer's "hiding their children?"
Kathi Kruse
Thanks Jim. Are you finding that some salespeople have taken to Social Media on their own? I've see a few. They've started their own blogs and developed their personal brand. I love it!
Kathi Kruse
Oh what a great analogy, Chris! LoL. I totally agree with you too about true transparency. Why not let your staff sing your praises...or help create content? Head off trouble with a good Social Media Policy and let the creativity fly. I know it's a hugely different way of thinking but one foot in front of the other and next thing you know, you're there.
Jim Bell
We have a few that are starting to dabble in it and are setting it up separate from their personal facebook pages. Guess we will see how it goes.

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