We know that social networking is going to Change the World, but dealers are jumping in without any plan of action. You need to understand the medium and Get Ready before you Walk Out In The Rain or you’ll have a Losing Hand. Listening to one of the greatest musicians of all time, Eric Clapton, can give you advice on how to become successful at social media when he sings:
“It’s in the way that you use it,
It comes and it goes.
It’s in the way that you use it,
Boy don’t you know.
And if you lie you will lose it,
Feelings will show.
So don’t ever abuse it.
Don’t let it go.”
As countless dealers create FB (and G+) pages every day, they need to develop a posting and sharing strategy and it MUST be tied in to what you are doing on the ground within the community. There are six primary ways that I see dealers posting on the social sites:
1) C.R.A.P. – an acronym developed by my friend Eric Miltsch where he believes in posting Coupons, Reviews, And Pictures. This also includes service specials and fixed ops discounts.
2) Celebrating your Customers – this is the posting of customer testimonials, pics of happy customers, and milestone purchases/services/mileage images.
3) Celebrating your Employees – this is the posting of reviews, employee biographies, videos, personal accomplishments, and more to endear your staff to your followers.
4) Celebrating your Community – Sharing your involvement in local events, charities, and organizational activities in and around your primary market area. Your goal is to align yourself with important aspects of local goings-on and act as a valuable, participating member of the nearby community.
5) Trivia – Since your social prowess is determined by the amount of engagement you have on the social pages, many dealers post questions asking the opinions or their fans. (ie – ‘What was the best Christmas gift you ever received?’ Or ‘Where is the best place to eat barbecue?’) Any way to get others to comment or elicit a response.
6) Being an Extension of the OEM – This is where dealers share information about the newest models, concept cars, third-party validating reviews, and OEM-style material that helps further the brand, but not so much the dealership.
So you are at a Crossroads. You don’t have to decide right now. Wait until After Midnight. Whichever way you choose, I urge you to listen to some Eric Clapton and recognize that your success will be based on “the way that you use it”.
If you are only utilizing one of the strategies above (which is what most dealers are doing), you need to Reconsider Baby. Instead create a plan to post using ALL of the tactics above. Tell the Truth, you don’t have as many Lay Down Sally’s walking onto your showroom as before so you need to begin reaching them in a contemporary fashion. My guess is that if you look at your most recent posts on FB, with The Shape You’re In, it’ll take Five Long Years to see any reward from your current strategy.
If you aren’t involved in social networking at all, you’ll be Standin’ Around Crying Tears in Heaven and Groaning the Blues without a franchise because these are the places the public is turning for information. Only those that develop a social marketing plan From the Cradle will look Wonderful Tonight. There is a way to be the Cream of the crop while marketing your dealership socially and that is to be a little like Eric Clapton.