Automotive Marketing Professional Community for Car Dealers, OEM and Suppliers
As many of you know there is a TON of information available on the subject of social media, more than any one of us could get through in a life time. But, the fact of the matter is, there is a lot of incorrect information, information that doesn't help ANYBODY further their social marketing endeavors.
I see a lot of dealers doing things that, while on the outside look okay, aren't really adding value to the dealerships marketing bottom line, in other words it's not creating community, it's not influencing word-of-mouth, and it's definitely NOT fostering loyalty among their customers.
I'll give you an example of what I'm talking about, then I'd like to ask for your help. As an example, a lot of dealers now know that they shouldn't be talking about themselves on social networks, they then inform the person posting on Facebook to keep the posts conversational in tone and don't self promote, so that's whats they do. Again, sounds legit, right?
Of course it does but that's just level one, there is more to a post than a post that has nothing to do with selling the dealership. They have to be conversational in tone, but more than that you must converse with people, I'm talking about having a real conversation that creates a strong EMOTIONAL connection.The type of connection that most dealerships don't have with their online community.
Why I Need Your Help
I'm creating a video series entitled: Truth In Social Media. In this series I am going to cover a lot of misconceptions about social media that I've seen in countless dealerships, in other words, it's time to set the record straight and I'll be pulling no punches. In fact, this isn't just happening in car dealerships, people that know better, people that teach car dealership how to use social media are the ones at fault. It's about time we dig deep and get to the bottom of this and I need your help.
What would you like to see covered? What have you seen that irritates you because you know its not the right thing to do? What are you, yourself, unsure of? Nothing is off limits, and I promise you that this video series is going to be a REAL eye opener... might even get some people fired... LOL. Can you help me?
Well said Tom! As far as spending money, a dealer client of mine put up 5k, to go to an area school. We had dozens of schools enter the contest and over a three month period there were just at 100 videos created, over 400 pictures uploaded and about 80 blog posts written, all by the community. At the end there were a little over 6k people added to their Facebook Page.
Other area business, such as Best Buy, donated computers and cash. There was free radio, print and TV coverage and while the store was horrible at tracking in-house sales, we know there was at least 14 cars sold from it. Although I will say that we didn't look at it as a way to sell cars, but as a way to connect with the community and influence word-of-mouth.
I'm only telling you this because when and IF you decide to spend money, instead of just time, it doesn't have to be a lot. What is 5K over a three month period anyway? People are still talking about this and its been over for about 4 months. Have fun with social media!
Hi Thomas, Since I don't believe in silver bullets, I would suggest that you don't invest heavily. Although I'm a proponent of Social Media, I don't see the need for huge investments, at least not up front. What is needed is the right approach and an understanding of why you are doing it.
Social Media is but a piece of a much larger puzzle but it's a piece you don't want missing from the picture. If you take the approach that it is customer relations and word-of-mouth advertising with a long-term payoff, you have no problem with the ROI and can measure it the same as you do loaner cars, coffee, wi-fi in the waiting room, etc.
I really like what you said and your comparisons are great! We run facebook ads with our logo, phone number and business name, so it is not always easy to get an exact ROI based on click-thrus and conversion estimates. But if you are just spending a small percentage of your overall budget like we do then you (we) know you are getting decent value.
Something that I think might be worth covering in your video series is what priority social media should have in your overall digital strategy. When I interviewed for my current position (26 months ago) I did not even bring up social media except to say we should stake our claim on Twitter and Facebook. After I was offered the position my bosses told me that the other applicants made a big deal about how important facebook and Twitter were. And they were impressed by me because I was very honest when I told them the ROI was not there yet to justify a large commitment of resources.
I felt we were better off focusing on increasing the quantity and quality of visitors to our website through PPC, building a supporting network sites and SEO. After one year and a 50% rise in visitors to our website I started running a small advertising campaign on facebook and we are all pleased with the results. I know that every business should be using social media to promote their businesses but it really is a matter of ROI and getting the best-bang-for-your-buck, and in my opinion it is not in social media right now.
Thanks for the quick reply David, I think you need to be careful in how you present your video. You don't want to come across as a dinosaur because they "hype mongers" will simply say that you stuck in time and that is why you don't see (or don't understand) the value of social media.
I also wanted to comment on this statement:
Facebook has about 140 million users in the U.S. (and declining). TV has well over 300 million users in the U.S. If numbers are the sole rationale, then TV would be the way to go.
I know your numbers are probably right but facebook advertising (at a minimum of $2 a day) is much more realistic (and accessible) that the production cost and price of spots on TV (that would run in the $100,000's) - so to me that comparison is a bit slanted.
Jay, I honestly don't think that people will label me a dinosaur. I write, teach, host workshops and do in-store training on the subject of social media. I've very passionate about it, you should check out my blog:
But, I do get what you are saying and I say bring it on! HAHAHA
David, I don't think people will label you a dinosaur it will be the social media gurus that make their money on smoke and mirrors (and fear) that will label you that.
It is good to see some people will still speak out against the hype. I will keep an eye out for your videos.