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Jared Hamilton
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VJ VJ

VJ VJ eCommerce Director

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What is your New Year’s resolution? “Stop Smoking”, “More Family-Time”, “Losing the 15 pounds you added on your weight since Thanks-Giving”? It doesn’t matter what you try to achieve to get these things done – we are all clear hear. You have to start somewhere and follow the Motto of the Oregon based Sport’s authority – “Just Do It”. So why not as a Dealer Principle, e-Commerce Director, Internet Manager, etc. make your dealership a part of these New Year’s resolutions and tackle what needs to be done – The 3 easy ways to get your dealership start with the Social Media phenomenon. A recent study, compiled by Ad-ology reveiled that small business owners are still very hesitant to invest time, people and money into Social Media. Good things first: Social Media should actually cost not one dime, when getting started and set-up right. The study further conducted a survey of 1,000 Small Business Owners (small businesses defined in the survey as having <100 employees). The results were eye-opening and mind-boggling at once:
  • 31% of the responses did not see Social Media as a High Priority with their argument that their client bases “just are not using Social Media”. [VJ’s thoughts: How do you know? Isn’t it that particular in our automotive industry more than 90% of vehicle buyers going first online and using channels to find out about their desired car, the features, the best prices and who has the best reputation of the car dealers out there?]
  • 29% claimed to have just not enough time or staff to get things started and/or makes a proper entrance into the Social media arena. [VJ’s thoughts: How long do you think you need to show engagement? It takes actually not more than 20 minutes a day to engage, to listen and to respond, when set up right. Build a process around your daily schedule, which will allow you to prioritize and focus on the daily tasks.]
  • 52% of all answers showed that the interest is there and it is in plan to devote more funds into Marketing. [VJ’s thoughts: It appears that there is a clear misperception about cost and spending on Social Media as I’d mention in my entry statement above].
Seeing these figures it appears to me that these 1,000 participating businesses are afraid because of not knowing what Social media is all about. Lacking of time and staff is an understandable reason not to act right away, and as mentioned can be reversed into a call-to-action, when applying new processes and procedures. I am more “disturbed” with the 31% of participants, who “knew that their clients are not online”. Well for these, who want to follow through with their New Year’s resolution and get their dealership started on “Social”, here are 3 easy, first steps to get your name out there.

1. Find out where you are on this Map

Of course look in the search engines Google, Bing, Yahoo if you are getting mentioned anywhere on the first 2 pages of the search results (I am not speaking of your SEO ambitions but most likely from 3rd party posts like reviews or anything similar). Check your company name on dealerrater.com, yelp.com, merchantcircle.com and ripoffreport.com to see if anybody had something to say about your service and sales organization – Good or Bad. Last but not least use the search.twitter.com and Facebook applications to observe any mentioning’s. Also when you are not ready to respond right away on these 3rd party posts, you NEED to know what your customers are saying about you to develop based on the results your next action of reputation management.

2. Don’t get your good name “brand-jacked”

Reserve your brand name! Go to the social sites Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn and set up your accounts. It is okay when you are not immediately start micro-blogging and posting threads, photos and videos on these accounts, but it is important to have them reserved for you and your future Social Media Marketing plans to come. It is almost like the time during the Klondike Gold Rush, when you are first to stack your claim, you own what it is under the surface. At the time I was still an eCommerce Director I was the first in Georgia who “claimed” AtlantaBMW and AtlantaMINI on Twitter, and believe me my competition was not happy to find out later, when they were ready to go “Social”.

3. Work on your profile and show Who, What and Where you are

Okay, okay…I know you are still hesitant to get into the Social media ring to take your first fight, and that is okay, because you need to prepare a little bit more. Take your time to create your complete profile on the mentioned Social sites in point 2. Set up your Hours and Direction to your location (Facebook), Dealer URL link, Photo (of you or your dealership – Tip: People buy from People and not particular from a brand logo), talk about what makes your dealership unique. Example: My BMW, MINI and Acura dealership was offering for its service customers free V.I.P. parking at the Atlanta Airport during the car got serviced. You park the car at the airport, fly to your vacation and /or meeting, come back and find it at the same spot, only this time it is serviced, washed and has a newspaper of the arrival date on the passenger seat. Talk about your uniqueness – see…this could be already your first post or message shouting out into the Social media world. Alright now…get your trainings gear on and start 2010 right and keep in mind “You Just Need To Do It” Good Luck.
This post was first issued at the SocialMediaBuzzer Blog

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