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Kathi Kruse

Kathi Kruse President

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Poof! Your Last Excuse Against Blogging Just Vanished

Poof! Your Last Excuse Against Blogging Just VanishedI suspect you’ve heard it’s a good idea to blog for your store.  Your SEO guy is bugging you.  People like me, Social Media coaches, tell you how valuable it is to become the “likable expert”.  Nearly every customer service evangelist preaches the value of blogging.  You see others blogging about their business and generating leads. So what’s stopping you?

The #1 excuse I hear dealers and their staff say is, “We don’t know what to write about.” Of course not, this is all new and writing witty content has never been in the job descriptions of any dealership personnel.  Grab a cup of coffee.  Let’s talk about changing that.

You have, at your fingertips, a gold mine.  An untapped reservoir of not only outstanding stories and content but people to do it for you!  It’s your own employees.  They’ve been right under your nose all along and it’s time to unleash the Kraken!

Almost no dealership has a shortage of raw material for blogs.  It’s channeling the material that’s the hurdle.  In the dealerships of the future (read: 2013), every front line employee will be trained and be regularly submitting blog content.

In this post from Marcus Sheridan, he spotlights US Waterproofing and their team of bloggers, otherwise known as their salespeople.  You think blog content is tough for a car dealership? It seems like a walk in the park compared to a waterproofing company!

In just a short few months, US Waterproofing, by using their sales staff, has produced more blog posts than most companies will produce in a year. Furthermore, their web traffic is spiking, leads and sales are up, and the blog has already become the most trafficked page of the website.  It’s hard to argue with that.

For automotive Social Media marketing to reach its full potential, there are 4 success factors (in this order) that must be present:

  • Culture
  • People
  • Process
  • Technology

In the dealerships of the future (read: 2013), I see every employee being trained on how to use Social Media, produce content and the importance of the two within the daily dealership operation.

Changing culture is hard work.  This shift began with the customer and we must adapt.  Some of your salespeople will love the idea of creating content and you’ll get major push-back from others. Many will say, “I can’t write.” but writing is actually just writing down what’s in your head.  Start with customer FAQs–each one is a blog post.

Help your people remain aware of content opportunities.  Stories happen on the front lines where the customers are–in your showroom and service drive.  Education and training are in integral part of creating awareness.  Knowledge helps your people recognize an opportunity and not be afraid to use the tools to publish it.

Capture content in their format of choice. Make it easy for your people to be inspired.  Some prefer writing, some prefer video.  Some might just want to write you a long email.  Along the way, they’ll get accustomed to searching for content and with so many of them doing it, your blog will soon be generating traffic and leads in ways you never imagined.

Your Turn: What’s preventing you from shifting to this “all in” culture and getting more participation and results from employees?

Kathi Kruse
Social Media Coaching & Training

Chris Costner
Way to go Kathi, thank you. It's time every employee becomes more "authentic" and stop hiding behind their businesses. After all in our industry, it's our brains, thoughts, perspectives and expertise the consumer engages with. Not the flashing marquee sign distracting drivers.
Jim Bell
Great post as always Kathi. I think you hit it on the head. A lot of people just don't know where to start and this is a good start and idea starter for the beginners out there.
Kathi Kruse
Totally Chris! I know it's a huge change in mindset but once they get past it, blogging is so fun meet so many cool peeps (customers included!).
Kathi Kruse
Thanks Jim! Everyone has something important to say, to contribute to the conversation. Everyone wants to be known in this world for something. I hope my post inspires one person to say, "Yeah, I'm goin' for it!"
Jeff Kershner
Kathi, I'm a advocate of your writing and it's rare for me to not link to one of your shared articles in my twitter stream. This article is another example of your passion and forward thinking (maybe too forward). With 15 years of dealership experience, I feel confident in saying that asking a dealer's sales and service staff to contribute to a blog (long or short copy) is living in the world of rainbows and unicorns. Please note - I speak from experience. I, too, thought this would be an easy and effective strategy. It failed, miserably, and for many reasons. Let's think about this for a minute. How many people are truly committed enough to write content for a blog? An individual that understands consistency, engaging copy, keyword optimization, and the audience. I'll guarantee it's a small percentage. Yet, here we are thinking the typical dealership has a sales floor or service lane full of these unique individuals. I'm sorry, but NO. Instead of dealerships wasting time trying to involve their sales or service teams, I'd like to suggest a couple, more effective, approaches. 1. Outsource 2. Hire "that" individual Outsource: Find yourself an Ad or PR Agency that offers content writing. Ideally, one that would have the opportunity to visit the dealership on a frequent basis and build relationships with key individuals. This provides the agency with a feel for the dealer's brand, access to content, dealer highlights, local news, etc. Hire "that" individual: Possibly the better choice here. Maybe, just maybe, this one individual already exists at the dealership. If that's the case, good luck getting this individual to contribute consistent content to the dealership's blog. Eventually, they'll tune into WIIFM and want compensation for their writing (rightfully so). If you're a dealer that understands the value of social and content marketing, build a solid job description for this position (full-time or part-time depending on your goals and needs) and hire the right person. Choose someone that understands content writing and leverages local, industry and dealer news in order to build optimized content for your blog and other social media outlets. A full-time content writer could hold other marketing responsibilities for the dealership as well: video blogging, reputation management, website content, social media, etc. Both of these approaches will yield the dealer a much higher success rate for their content / blogging strategy. With all that being said, I'm in no way totally excluding the sales and service department from contributing to the store's social and content strategy. But let's keep it simple. Not to completely hijack this article and thread of comments but I continued my thoughts around this subject over on DealerRefresh.

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