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The car business is known for it's slow adoption of new ideas and paradigm shifts. I speak with dealers and vendors daily about online automotive marketing. Some of the things I see and hear are comical. Most dealers shun social media, mainly because they do not understand it.
When they think of social media and networking it is mostly myspace and facebook and the problems they have experienced with them. Mainly by employees downloading software that chokes machines so they can add zwinky's to their myspace profiles or spending to much time using these networks and not working or they feel that it has no practical application to business and these types of activities are for children.
Online social interactions go way deeper than that even though both of the sites mentioned can be used to generate business and stay in touch with past customers. As part of my affiliation with DrivingSales I try to stay on the cutting edge of how dealers can benefit by using social media.
The main goal at Drivingsales.com is for dealers and vendors to interact with each other, share best practices and discuss and rate strategies. Through this process the cream is rising to the top and dealers are becoming more aware of the valid uses of social interactions.
One of the best examples is Eric Miltsch of Auction Direct USA. He is an avid user of many of the social media platforms, most notably his used car blog, twitter and a site he built called TweetandGreet. Through his social media presence for him and the company he works for he was featured on the Dell.com blog. It is this type of publicity and free exposure you cannot buy at any price.
It provides more benefits than can possibly be expressed in a simple post here. The main ones are immediate traffic and exposure, long term SEO benefit and possibly a level of search engine reputation management, chances are these guys will never need it they are getting it right.
While the core of what we do at drivingsales is strictly automotive but other one of our member who works for Carter West Public Relations had one of her blog post picked up by a reporter with US News and World Report. Imagine how much cred she can display when dealing with future PR clients when she can show them she was quoted there.
The industry is finally starting to grasp how important the benefits of these little things are. Dealers and their employees can leverage this if they will take the time to get involved. It may be as simple as setting up their dealership blog and profiles and the different sites and continually chipping away at their online engagement until they figure out what works and what does not for their organizations.