Automotive Digital Marketing

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I was reading a few recent Social Media related posts on ADM and realized that depending on who you ask, the definitions of what an "Automotive Social Media Marketing" strategy should entail can be quite different.  


For example, there are those that believe if you have a decent Facebook Page, then your dealership has covered the Social Media Marketing gamut (wrong)... Then on the other extreme, there are those that profess a need to have the dealership's name secured as a profile on 300+ social media type networks, with content then published to every single one of those sites on a regular basis... and ONLY then will you have it covered for your dealership (wrong again). What I have learned while creating and assisting in the creation of automotive social media marketing (SMM) strategies for car companies, dealer groups, single-point dealers and automotive vendors is that an effective Automotive SMM Strategy is both comprehensive and clearly defined around a combination of software tools, workflow processes, content creation, customer engagement, targeted social networks, dealership brand protection, monitoring and the roles and responsibilities of those assigned to execute the tasks which support the strategy... As well as those who are designated to monitor, supervise and evaluate their execution of those tasks as an ongoing dealership management function.


The purpose of this ADM Professional Community Forum discussion is to serve as a "Living Document" based on the specific objectives around defining what a comprehensive "Automotive Social Media Marketing Strategy" for a car dealer should either include or consider.  


In order to keep this discussion focused and confined to a manageable space, and specific to the marketing role of social media, let's save Dealership Reputation Management for its own separate discussion.


I will start this off by listing the functional areas that I have personally seen included up to the current point in time and hope to get your input and feedback on describing areas that should also be included in the practice of social media marketing for car dealers and car companies.  


  • Dealership Account and Profile Management – Combination of services, tools and apps that enable automotive marketers to manage/create their accounts and dealership profiles across multiple social media platforms (see Services and systems selected should allow dealers to create, develop, refine and publish information and content into their profiles across multiple social media properties and networks (e.g., your Facebook brand page, YouTube brand channel, LinkedIn Groups, Pinterest account, Slideshare, etc.).


  • Marketing Communications (MarCom) Management – Suppliers and systems to be considered as part of a dealer's social media strategy should provide a comprehensive bundle of services and tools to create status updates and messaging, designate distribution points and automate the scheduling and posting of these messages/updates across various social sites. Both the practice of, and the tools used should facilitate the management of filtering and flagging (e.g., to remove profanity, block repeat offenders and competitor shills, etc.). MarCom management services or software features should include real-time message tracking with reach and engagement analytics. A great example of a system of tools that create a software based platform for professional automotive marketers is Wildfire, which is a platform I became familiar with while using it at Tier10 Marketing and which has recently been acquired by Google.  Here is a video that describes what the Wildfire platform is about:


  • Campaign Management – Dealers should seek service providers and software systems that provide the ability to create, quickly deploy, track and measure business promotional campaigns. Selected service providers and software systems should provide campaign management related applications across multiple social sites, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, Slideshare and Pinterest. As part of an effective social media marketing strategy, car dealers should seek out both service providers and software apps that contain prebuilt campaign and promotion templates that support a wide variety of campaign types, including coupons, service loyalty rewards, equity targeting, vehicle exchange programs, sweepstakes, contests, charitable fund raising, pick a favorite, brand history quizzes, etc.


  • Social Media Advertising (SMA) Management – As part of an effective social media strategy for car dealers, any suppliers or software platforms considered should provide and enables dealer based professional marketers to manage the full range of paid advertising functions across multiple social networks, including profile demographic research, ad campaign budget planning, actual advertising space purchases, campaign optimization and automated rotation and testing of multi-variate creative content. Software systems and solution providers should provide real-time ad performance tracking and analytics because they are a critically important part of making social media advertising as effective as possible from an ROI perspective. Although known for their auto industry leading Google Search Engine Advertising (SEA) campaign management and bid optimization technology, the Marin Software system is an amazingly effective software platform for optimizing visitor to dealer-contact conversion rates and the ROI dealers receive from their Facebook Advertising campaigns. As an example of what dealers should seek in their SMM strategy relevant to SMA campaign management, here is a video from Marin:


  • Content Creation - An effective social media marketing (SMM) strategy must include either internal resources or outside suppliers for creating assets suitable for publishing and distribution in multiple formats, include text, image and video. An example of a cost effective professionally written article creation resource for car dealers that I have personally used for many dealers is . When looking at the landscape of social media based networks, the site infrastructure is the framework and the content added to that framework by car dealers is the substance that makes social media marketing effective on any level.  The analogy wold be that the social media network (ie: Facebook, YouTube, Slideshare, etc.) is the engine, and the content uploaded, posted and published by the dealer is the fuel that powers the engine. SMM software, apps and platforms considered by car dealers must have the capability of handling, storing and cataloging content so that it can be readily distributed to targeted social media accounts and channels, then re-purposed and reused for future opportunities, and easily referenced by dealership employees. Since the late 1990's I have used dozens of strategies, tactics and workflow processes to create high-value unique, dealer owned and copyrighted article and website content for car dealers. I have never had more success with a content management platform or creation resource for text based article content than while using for the past two years. Here is a video testimonial specific to the auto industry from a business owner who used for his automotive website and content creation needs:



  • Blogger Relations Program (BRP) - Rob Petersen is the founder of BarnRaisers, a digital and social media solutions company that uses relevant content, community, proven relationship marketing principles to generate ROI. According to Rob, creating a blogger relations program is not beyond the capability of most businesses, including car dealerships. The following 5 steps have been adapted from what Rob defines as the critical components for a dealership's blogger relations program.  I have also posted a PDF document from Rob's company (BarnRaisers) which assembles together over 160 social media marketing ROI case studies as examples of how so many companies are leveraging their SMM strategy to grow revenue, reduce costs and increase net profits. The comment with the file download is at

    Included in the following action items are more reasons why every dealership with a content marketing component within their overall social media marketing strategy should have a Blogger Relations Program:

    1. IDENTIFY BLOGGERS WHO SHARE YOUR DEALERSHIP'S VALUES: Go to a blog search engine like TechnoratiAlltop or Topsy, for Tweets that feature blogs. Twitter is actually defined as a micro-blogging site.  In the search query box, type in keyword(s) for your dealership's franchise brands, vehicle models of local market area. Technorati can be searched by either blog or post and offers something called a Technorati Authority Ranking. This is the number of other sites who have linked with a particular blog in the last six months. Here’s how it works, let’s say you are a Ford dealership, type in “Ford” or "Ford Mustang" or "Ford Truck" and you’d be astounded by the number of Ford vehicle related blogs and the connection opportunities you could have using a documented blogger relations program.

    2. UNDERSTAND POTENTIAL BLOGGER'S AUDIENCE: Go to Alexa. Type in the url of the blog you are interested. You’ll  get the rank (global and US), keywords, demographics and even see the sites (by name) that link to the the blog in question.

    3. LOOK AT THEIR BLOG OR WEBSITE TRAFFIC: Go to Compete (who Rob Petersen endorses on his blog's side bar as a marketing affiliate). Enter their blog's url... You’ll get a graph of website traffic for the last year and whether it is increasing or decreasing.

    4. EXAMINE EACH BLOGGER'S SOCIAL FOLLOWINGS: After you compile a dozen to two dozen potential bloggers for your dealership to connect with, spend some time reading their blogs and get to know the person writing them. Be sure to check their social network profiles, usually listed on their blog (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+). Start to look at the quantitative numbers with the qualitative assessment of how they align with your dealership's core values and branding objectives.

    5. CONNECT, ENGAGE AND BE GENUINE: Start by writing comments on their most recent posts. Let each blogger you are interested in know that your dealership has a program for building relationships with relevant blog authors. If you come across as being genuine and sincere, most bloggers will eagerly and quickly respond. Writing such comments also establishes links to your dealership's blog as well as initiating a relationship.

  • Video Asset Management (VAM) - Although this Automotive Social Media Marketing strategic category could be partially addressed by the "Content Creation" section, Video is a specialized area that should be specifically addressed in detail when creating your dealership's SMM strategy.  The management of video assets distributed by automotive retailers across multiple social media channels presents unique challenges. However, the effectiveness as measured on many levels, including ROI is so great that Video Asset Management MUST become a key component of your SMM strategy. Within the auto industry there has been an emergence of three primary VAM tactical execution models:

    1. Dealer DIY Video Creation and Distribution - The "Do It Yourself" approach to VAM should be part of any dealer's SMM strategy at some level.  This is a human resource intensive tactical execution approach requiring specific dealership employees to be assigned the daily, weekly, monthly tasks of recording, editing, uploading and distributing videos shot onsite at the dealership.  There is a wealth of evidence, including the success of the ADM Video Marketing Editor, Ken Beam at Douglas Motors VW and Infiniti. With over 125,000 video views and hundreds of vehicles sold as a result of Ken Beam's dedication to video marketing, it is worth checking out the Douglas VW YouTube Channel. In addition to Ken beam, there are hundreds of highly effective and successful video marketing specialists working at dealerships across North America.  Elise Kephart, Tim Jennings and many others have embraced VAM tactics done onsite at dealerships endorsed by notable automotive consultants such as Jim Ziegler, Ralph Paglia and Brian Pasch.  Here is a YouTube video from Jason Lancaster where he describes what he learned from Tim Jennings about dealers being capable of doing their own video marketing:

    2. Automated Inventory Videos - These are "pseudo videos" created by panning across and zooming in on multiple still images taken for the online vehicle inventory listings, frequently supplied by photography service providers such as Dealer Specialties.  The hey day for these types of automated video creation from still image programs may have passed as consumers have become far too savvy to be satisfied by "fake videos". My guidance would be to resist this sort of technology trickery which no longer fools anyone and hold out for newer systems such as what George Nenni from Dealer Specialties described as being in advanced pilot program development. New programs will make use of established networks of dealer inventory photographers to train and equip them to quickly and efficiently create actual video recordings of vehicles in dealership inventory. Regardless of how your dealership executes Cehicle Presentation Videos (VPV) they have been proven so effective that no SMM strategy can be considered complete without addressing the need for a tactical blueprint around creating a steady supply of fresh VPV's on a daily basis. As a point of reference, here is an inventory "Pan and Zoom" video created using an automated system that relies on dealer's website inventory photos:

    3. Video SEO Service Providers - The third major category of VAM tactics that dealers should consider including within their overall SMM strategy are the full service Video SEO service providers such as Car-Mercial.  I use Car-Mercial as a Video SEO Service Provider example because I have spent enough time working directly with AJ LeBlanc (owner) and his team of Video Marketing pros to know that their services and product offers a tremendous ROI value to dealers.  Much of this value comes in the form of Search Engine Results Page (SERP) listing real estate for the videos they create and host on behalf of their dealer clients, and the traffic this drives into dealership showrooms, websites and incoming phone calls. However, the Video SEO Service Provider approach should not be relied upon as the sole means of establishing a dealer's SMM video strategy.  This type of service relies on the provider creating and publishing relevant keyword optimized videos across networks and channels controlled by the supplier, which does not include the social media video accounts owned and controlled by the dealer. As effective as this approach has proven to be, dealers need to supplement outsourced Video SEO services with some level of video creation and publishing to social media accounts, profiles and channels that are branded, owned and controlled by the dealership. 

    With that said, high value and low cost service providers such as Car-Mercial can effectively handle the "heavy lifting" of a dealer's VAM strategy, thereby reducing the work load on internal resources substantially... Certainly, the workload reduction is far more than the equivalent labor hours that could be purchased by the dealer with the cost of the outsourced Video SEO services.  Here is a video from my friends at Car-Mercial, who I admire, respect, endorse and recommend to dealers:

    How to make Dealer DIY Video Creation and Distribution more efficient and cost effective... When it comes to dealers handling their own uploading, posting, tracking, titling, writing those all important text based descriptions and keyword tagging of video content to social media channels, there is an incredibly effective tool that I have used for several years. This video asset management tool allows dealers to upload their videos to one website based application, which then uploads through proprietary API based integration channels to dozens of accounts and profiles established, owned and controlled by the dealer (possibly by using Knowem). The marketing objective being the syndicating of dealer video content across multiple sites, networks and channels.  The tool is called "OneLoad" and is provided by a company named "TubeMogul".  The web based OneLoad VAM application is sophisticated enough to allow automotive marketing professionals to dramatically streamline the titling, tagging of keywords and creating text based descriptions for each video hosting site used.  As a side note, TubeMogul also provides Online Video Advertising (OVA) campaign creation, management and placements across thousands of websites... But, that is not social media marketing!

    One of the many reasons I recommend TubeMogul's OneLoad for dealership use is the API based integration with so many social media video channels and the highly accurate reporting metrics provided. OneLoad consolidates your videos and reporting data across multiple dealership video hosting accounts such as YouTube, Facebook, Viddler, Vimeo, Veoh, MetaCafe, MySpace, Graspr, BlipTV, DailyMotion, StreetFire, CarDomain, Yahoo, Zoopy and others. OneLoad will also automatically post a description of your video and a link to LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Imagine uploading a customer testimonial video or a very special used car video walk-around ONCE and having it published across dozens of video hosting sites, each with a search engine indexed URL containing your dealership's name, into accounts and profiles owned and branded with your dealership's logo, name, address, phone and live URL links.
    Here is what my personal TubeMogul OneLoad video campaign dashboard looks like (click on the image to see larger resolution):
    To give you an idea of how much efficiency your dealership could gain using TubeMogul's OneLoad, while writing this section of the article, I uploaded a video to multiple social media accounts and profiles I had set up in the application. Here is a snapshot of the upload screen showing only the social media accounts I have set up (OneLoad handles many more) and the pending actions... You can click on the image to see a larger resolution view:
    What does TubeMogul's OneLoad cost? Here is a link to their pricing matrix:
    My guidance to dealers is to not waste your time with the free "amateur" version of OneLoad, it is frustrating due to the constraints placed on it, such as saving your log ins and passwords, which in my opinion is one of the best aspects of OneLoad. The TubeMogul OneLoad "Business Account", which is what dealers need, is an annual licensing fee of $900, which breaks down to $75 a month. Stay away from monthly billing, the premium you pay versus annual billing is 100%! Trust "Digital Ralph" on this one, TubeMogul OneLoad when used on a regular basis within your dealership's Social Media Marketing Video Distribution tactical execution is the best $900 a year you will ever spend! BTW, I have no financial interest in TubeMogul (wish I did) and my only relationship with them is that I am one of their many raving fan customers. There are so many benefits to dealers incorporating TubeMogul OneLoad into their VAM strategy that you really need to visit this link and scroll down.

    However, I want to mention one very important consideration when considering a tool such as TubeMogul's OneLoad, although I know of no other that does what this app does, consider this:
    If you ever have to take a video down, for whatever reason, you can use TubeMogul OneLoad to take a video down from all the various places it was published with a single click...
    This could be a lifesaver under certain rare circumstances, such a getting a letter from a customer's attorney saying they did not give you permission to use their likeness in a customer testimonial video.  Or how about certain specialty used vehicles? Publish your VPV to dozens of sites, sell the vehicle to some potash magnate in Russia for all the money, and with a single click, take the video down from all the sites where it was posted.  Just one of many things to consider...  The following video is from an independent social media consultant explaining how to use TubeMogul's OneLoad Video Asset Management (VAM) system:

  • Social Data Management – When a dealer is considering their social media marketing strategy, the issues and opportunities around data extraction, collection and management have the potential of creating significant competitive advantage to those automotive retailers who do it right. The auto industry's emerging discovery of “big data” capabilities, an example being Dataium, can capture social audience data in a unified repository.  This can then be used by sophisticated automotive marketers to target the right messaging to the right automotive consumers in a far more cost effective manner than direct mail, customize promotional campaigns, and analyze and segment consumers based on dealership purchase history, owned vehicle data, demographics and social media profile based non-automotive interests.  Although the following video clip is a little far outside of being automotive specific, the discussion really offers some great insight into the future of "Big Data" and social media marketing strategy. Check it out with an open mind:


  • Mobile Marketing Support – As automotive consumers and dealership business customers increasingly access vehicle purchase and servicing information through mobile devices, it is important for car dealers to incorporate within their SMM strategy the use of suppliers and software platforms that provide native support for mobile content and the management of social media based assets that are accessible across a full range of mobile and tablet devices. This includes mobile device optimized templates that enable automotive marketing professionals to design content in one place, app or platform and deploy that content to any device via social media, email, mobile app push, etc. Good examples of dealer mobile app and system suppliers that incorporate strong mobile marketing support and social media integration include Dealer AppVantage with their YouTube integration. Another strong example is GroupCars and their recently announced AutoAmigo offering through Univision.


  • Measurement and Analytics (Metrics) – At the heart of every effective social media marketing strategy are service providers, software, platforms and solutions that provide dealers with robust analytical capability. Whether a software platform or a service provider, this should include dealer management dashboards and automated reporting that provides multi-level detail, as well as traffic referral and conversion tracking. It is imperative that these analytics enable professional automotive marketers to conduct both dealership specific and auto industry benchmarking, both of which are vital to assessing the meaning and implications of these measurements from an ROI perspective. Having used several social media marketing platforms that based their value proposition squarely upon their measurement, reporting and real-time analytics capabilities, the one system that has always impressed me as being the most useful for car dealers is from Hubspot... Their thought leadership around inbound marketing is embedded within their software platform and is being used by quite a few automotive marketing professionals both within dealer service providers and by pros working for dealers and groups as marketing directors. Here is a short video describing Hubspot's software system for use as an example of a metrics and reporting platform within a dealership or auto group's social media marketing strategy:


  • National, Regional and Local Deployment Support – Whether your organization retails or wholesales cars and related services on a national, regional or local basis, you will need a social media app, solution or services provider that enables both geographically defined content deployments and consumer targeting. In many dealership cases, this should include support for multiple languages, including the targeting of messages and content, along with the ability to set region-based visibility permissions. In recent months I have found myself spending a lot of time on behalf of my dealer clients on blocking out fans, subscribers, followers and comment posting from a variety of countries and locations that were simply irrelevant to the dealer's specific market area. In other cases, for example a high line and exotic vehicle dealer in Los Angeles, we needed to target major metros such as New York, Miami, Dallas and Chicago because they sell so many exotic high end cars into those markets. Keep in mind that in order to best leverage your )for example) Facebook Page Fan base, you will want to target that database and their friends with paid advertising campaigns and promotional offers... If your Facebook Page's Fan Base includes a lot of people from areas not served by your dealership, this clutters up the database rendering it far less useful for use in targeting Facebook based advertising campaigns, which are highly effective when the dealer's Fan Base is primarily local customers.


  • Social Network Support – The SMM strategy your dealership develops should include software and (if applicable) a SMM services provider that supports all the major social networks. What are these most significant networks for car dealers? I would include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Slideshare, Pinterest, Blogger and Wordpress at a minimum. The best SMM software and services suppliers will continue to add new social network integration and support as they gain favor and broad usage in the marketplace by automotive consumers and those that influence them. A good example of this type of support from a software platform provider is Hootsuite, which I reference and include an embedded video about in the "Platform and Infrastructure" section below.  For an example of a Social media Marketing Full Service Provider to the auto industry who I have seen continuously expand the social networks they integrate with and support, I will cite the team at SocialDealer which is headquartered in Chicago and led by Phil Penton and a team of very sharp automotive marketing veterans. Phil was one of the driving forces behind the development and growth of HomeNet up to their acquisition by AutoTrader. Here is a video that briefly introduces Social Dealer:



  • Security, Compliance, and Accountability – Equally important compared to the above outlined marketing and analytics capabilities are critical monitoring and functions that ensure security, compliance and accountability of your SMM efforts. You should ensure that your strategy includes the use of technology that provides access controls, role-based permissions and customizable workflows. In terms of security and compliance, an effective social media marketing strategy should incorporate the use of a platform that provides a fully secure data environment, including data encryption and an audit trail.


  • Dealer Usability – It’s highly likely that your dealership's team members who will be using any SMM platform, software or solution will not be developers or programmers, so the technology you incorporate in your SMM strategy should be easy to learn and use. Deployment should be fast and simple, and your dealership's agencies and other external partners should be able to customize content using the SMM applications, software or platforms you elect to use.

  • Customer Referral Generation and Tracking - When it comes to selling and servicing vehicles, most dealerships thrive on business referrals from their customer base. (see Roosevelt Gist's comment below this post) These existing customer generated referrals of new business opportunities should be an established part of any automotive retailer's social media marketing strategy.  From what I have seen on my own, and the research provided by car companies such as Toyota and Ford, the opportunity for dealers to leverage social media networks to enhance and promote the willingness of their most satisfied customers referring new customers from the ranks of their friends, relatives, coworkers and casual acquaintances is substantial.  For example, check out this video from Toyota Motor Sales created for their dealers to become more aware of the power of customer and product referrals:
    One of the more structured dealership customer referral and tracking systems I have seen developed and used by dealers is the Social Referrals Program offered by the SocialDealer team. Here is a video of Tony Nilles from SocialDealer explaining how the program works, which is very informative and useful in considering what your SMM Strategy should incorporate for generating more referral based business:


  • Platform and Infrastructure – I have often said that social media marketing has the potential of being a "black hole" of time and resource consumption for car dealers. After years of experience, I cannot imagine any semblance of positive ROI from dealership employee resource investments without the use of multiple software systems and SMM platforms. Basic requirements of a good SMM software platform include SaaS/cloud architecture, high scalability and ready availability from any web connected device including PC, mobile and tablets. SMM software and platform providers should be making frequent updates to ensure that their systems stay current with rapidly changing, evolving and expanding network of automotive relevant social networks. A few good examples of this proliferation are Pinterest, Instagram and Slideshare... Each of these networks are remarkably effective for dealers using them the right way and your strategy around SMM will benefit from leveraging software tools that make it easy for you or your supplier to incorporate these emerging networks into your SMM daily activities.  A great example of a software supplier that provides dealers with easy to use and constantly improving and expanding capabilities is Hootsuite Pro.  Here is a video showing the recent upgrades to Hootsuite Pro's SMM dashboard and platform that introduced Instagram, Tumblr and YouTube dealership account integration and how to set it up in your Hootsuite Pro Account, which costs dealers a whopping $5.99 a month... That is not a typo, your cost for Hootsuite Pro is less than six dollars a month:


  • Dealership Services and Vendor Support – The right amount of service and support from dealership selected vendors and software suppliers is critically important to the success of any SMM strategy. Whether selecting software tools and systems to be used by dealer employed professionals or selecting a full-service social media marketing provider, dealers should select from only those suppliers that have a proven methodology and process for quickly on-boarding and training dealership personnel, including technical  support offered via web, phone and email.  Very important to this selection process is to focus on suppliers that offer comprehensive in-dealership training and consulting services.  Most, if not all retail automotive organizations will benefit from bringing in outside experts who will help you get the most out of your SMM strategy. Having done this myself on many occasions with multiple dealers and auto groups since 2007, I cannot stress the importance of ensuring that you bring in experienced automotive social media marketing strategists and implementation experts, which seems to be a critical control point in setting the stage for dealer success. There are quite a few experienced and effective social media marketing consultants available for car dealers to choose from, many of them are directly connected to more full scale digital marketing organizations.  A great example I would like to cite, both because of their integrity and effectiveness for car dealers is the the KPA Internet Marketing Social Media Team led by J. D. Rucker...  I am sure J.D. will get a chuckle out of this mention because he and I have squared off on debates around social media marketing strategies and tactics on several occasions starting back in September 2009.  But, when it comes to providing effective SMM Strategy consulting services for car dealers, I am always impressed with what J. D. Rucker and the KPA Social Media Marketing Team is able to get done with their dealer clients. Here is a video of the inimitable J.D. Rucker seeking to educate dealers on posting images onto their social media accounts and profiles:

    In the interest of both fairness and ensuring dealers have an adequate selection of Social Media Marketing Consulting and Training resources, I would also like to mention that ADM has a consulting provider directory that lists only those digital marketing consultants that we have been able to verify as being effective with a dealer through direct contact.

    The ADM Consultant Directory is at: ADM/Consultant-Directory which also contains a comprehensive "Consultant Selection Guide" for car dealers to use when considering which consulting resources to invest in.

    Of special note, I would like to also recommend the following companies who are consistent contributors of content to the ADM Professional Community and which also provide dealer verified effective Automotive Social Media Marketing Strategy consulting, training and implementation services:
  • PCG Digital Marketing Consulting Services (Brian Pasch)
  • Potratz Advertising (Paul Potratz)
  • ADP Digital Marketing Consulting (Jim Jensen)
  • Kruse Kontrol, Inc. (Kathi Kruse)
  • Persuasive Concepts (David Johnson)
  • Automotive Media Partners, LLC (Ralph Paglia)



Information Resources Used to Prepare this Article: In addition to my own first hand and direct experience in creating or assisting in the creation and implementation of automotive social media strategies for Ford, Toyota, Honda, ADP Social Media, Tier10 Marketing, Team Velocity Marketing, several large dealer groups and well over 300 individual dealerships I have been paid to serve, I used information, narratives and descriptions provided by the teams at YouTube, Hubspot, Knowem, Marin, Facebook and especially the white papers published by Wildfire, a Google owned social media marketing services and technology supplier.


The Wildfire research team provided me with a comprehensive checklist document written by an independent social media consultant who designed it as a tool for selecting SMM software applications and platforms. I highly recommend that you download this PDF and use it when evaluating BOTH the software systems available for your dealership to use in the implementation and execution of your SMM strategy, AND the services offered by SMM "Full Service" providers to the auto industry. The SMM application evaluation checklist document that I use was created by:


Although the Wildfire provided SMM App Evaluation PDF file is available to ADM Members for download, please show professional respect for Wildfire and Patrick Di Chiro by using the link below, where you enter your name and business information. Wildfire provides you immediate access to download this very useful SMM systems and process evaluation guide and tactical requirements checklist: 


See Wildfire's Social Marketing Suite in Action!

Discover how your dealership can grow, engage, and drive profits from your audience on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.


Special Request for ADM Professional Community Members:

Did I miss anything?

What do you believe should be included in an effective Automotive Social Media Marketing Strategy that is not incorporated into the items I have described above?


Please post your comments, recommendations, criticisms, agreement or otherwise and let's create a useful ADM Forum reference point for dealers who seek to better understand what an effective social media marketing strategy should include...


This Automotive Social Media Marketing Strategy Requirements Summary was prepared by: Ralph PagliaPresident - Automotive Media Partners, LLC


To make it easier for ADM Members to make quick reference to this Forum page, a "Shortcut" URL has been assigned: 


* If for any reason you either object to providing your info to Wildfire or are unable to get the download to work, ADM Professional Community registered members can download the PDF file, which is included in the three resource file attachments below.


Additional Files posted in a comment below for download and use by ADM Members:

Tags: Aspects, Automotive Marketing, Car Dealer, Defining, Functional, Marketing, Media, Social, Social Media, Strategy

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Testing - multivariate, A/B, however you wish to phrase or implement it, social media marketing still struggles to be more and more quantifiable, to produce more actionable data, over time.  Without isolation of some activities and platform variables, it can be far more difficult to see which efforts on which platforms are more effective than others.  Hence, perhaps even more than other marketing channels, social media itself has to be scrutinized for its reach and engagement.  It may be a far less expensive aspect of inbound marketing, but the opportunity cost of "blanket marketing" or social media management without variable isolation can be far outside any budget and still leave you with a fuzzy picture of what's working for your individual goals (more fixed ops revenue, more referral sources, viral incentives, etc.).

Camille, one of the trends I see happening with the ongoing development of social media marketing software platforms such as Wildfire, Marin, HubSpot and even within Google Analytics is the ability to use conversion tracking and 30 day visitor/traffic/retargeting cookies so that the ability to more accurately measure and track the ROI from Social Media Marketing investments becomes much more accurate. My prediction is that Social Media Marketing platforms will make measuring transaction related activities, such as leads, directions to dealership app usage, engagement activity and phone calls a heck of a lot easier and more accurate than any offline media channels.

What about a referral system that puts your dealership inside over 100 local businesses in your real market - 5 - 15 miles from your dealership? Giving you true access to there customers that want or need a car.

Using technology to take advantage of networking where businesses promote and use other businesses services. Has the concept of referrals been abandoned or left just to people who you sold to send you business?

Roosevelt, I cannot think of a better use for social media than to increase the number of customer referrals a dealer needs... Do you know of any examples of this happening, and can you provide a link so I can learn about it and add it to the post?

You outdone yourself with this post. This is pure awesomeness!

Thank you, Jae... And you wrote this before I added additional content on the post-publish editing effort!

Ralph, this has got to be the most comprehensive list I have seen to date, and I am busy now copying and pasting it into my documents for review. My job would be to reduce or eliminate the number of vendors involved as I don't have a budget to support such undertakings. But each and every item you mentioned is essential for review to determine if I am providing the best I can under a limited budget. Jae is correct that it is truly an awesome checklist!

Tom, I am preparing additional entries around video content management, distribution, titling, descriptions and tags... Look for a new "Social Media Video Management" section on Sunday... 

We are launching a system that networks local businesses in a city where all participants refer customers to each other.

Roosevelt, how about some links, videos or details we can share with the ADM Community? 

Ok Ralph. Take this walk with me.

Traditional networking begins with a group of businesses, in a common area, meet, feature a topic, exchange business cards and agree to do this again in hopes of getting business from member referrals. Now, hold that thought.

Restaurants, churches, bookstores, salons, spas, barbershops, dentist offices, doctors offices, department stores, auto service centers, men clothing stores, boutiques, ladies clothing stores, hospitals, tire stores, US post offices, UPS stores, specialty stores, lawyers office, insurance agent office, wireless service retail stores, colleges, shopping malls, strip malls, etc.

What do all these locations have in common? First they are all within 10 miles of your dealership. 2nd most owners, staff and customers own cars making them a target for your dealership. And, three now they offer wi-fi.

Now using the old the more times they say yes or Ben Franklin close, the better my chances of selling them.

As a dealer would you like to sell to owners and staff? Yes

Would you like to sell to their customers? Yes

Most of these type businesses are in my selling area? Yes

These businesses have wifi? Yes

My dealership has wifi? Yes

I would like to have my dealership promotions available to all those customers? Yes

Most of those buyers use wifi on laptops, iPhones, tablets, smartphones and iPads? Yes

Shoppers in my dealership have laptops, iPhones, tablets, smartphones and iPads? Yes

I would join a network that gave me access to all those businesses and their customers? Yes

Now, back to the traditional networking group meeting. But this time all members have joined COD wifi advertising network in their city and all still meet but to really socialize because they enjoy the company of other members. The wifi advertising network in each of their businesses is exchanging referrals to customers that request to do business with them.

COD has software that uses either secure or unsecure wifi systems to create a separate advertising hotspot that does not interfere with the system.

Buyers shopping on all devices mentioned above want these top 5 features from advertisers:

1. The advertisers location address with map for driving directions

2. Advertisers phone number for click-to-call if any questions

3. Brief description of advertisers business with video

4. Any special promotions to entice shoppers to call, visit or buy from advertiser

COD has all these features and more.

Just 2 years ago most businesses did not even consider wifi. Now they are offering it as a customer service. Now technology makes wifi the new true networking system for local businesses to do B2B and B2 Customer sales.

Yes, COD is new. But in today's environment new is the old and acceptable by the time you read this post.

Advertise today on network in your city and network for more referrals and sales. Call 571-235-6538 or email with questions or to schedule a GotoMeeting demo.

Roosevelt, do you have any dealers using this yet that could serve as a reference?


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