Automotive Digital Marketing

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I like Facebook. It’s a nice place to check up on my friends, and see what’s going on that day.  I also check Twitter occasionally. Social Media is a great way to share pictures and news pertinent to me, but there’s one thing I don’t go on these sites for, and that’s to be sold on something.


I recently read a blog post on Hanafin Loyalty’s website, titled ‘An Open Letter to Millennials’ (you can find that blog post here), where the author asks Millennial consumers how they prefer to be contacted about products. My answer to him? I don’t. At least not over social media outlets.


I know I might be burned at the stake for my opinions on social media advertising, but this post interested me. I am a big fan of traditional advertising, and the primary reason for that is because it isn’t as intrusive as new media.


One part of that blog that caught me was when the author asked about connecting with Millennial consumers over a text message. That left a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t much like the thought of a company having my phone number and texting me news from their company, or the latest and greatest product.  This feels like an invasion of privacy to me, similar to telemarketer calls during dinner. I love being connected to the world, but I want it on my terms.


By now businesses should know not to constantly bombard their followers with product offerings, and instead provide information relevant to consumers. I love companies that show their human side, providing trivia in status updates to get consumers interacting, but many companies still see social media as an extra marketing ‘weapon’.

Maybe I’m being too old-fashioned, but I’ll take a 30-second spot about a new car over a status update on it any day.


This was more of a rant, but I do have a question: Are you using Facebook more to connect with your fans, or sell to them?


Will Michaelson

Sales Associate

Re:member group

Phone: 952.224.8002

Views: 617

Tags: Advertising, Car Dealer, Facebook, Marketing, Social Media, Twitter


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Comment by Brittany Elizabeth Richter on April 23, 2012 at 10:56am

This is a great discussion and one that is needed to be had because there seems to be a lot of p skepticism surrounding dealership social media. Personally, I think that social media marketing is a great supplement to a dealership's other marketing and advertising efforts. In consensus with Ralph, Brent and Tracy I think that it is nothing for dealers to be ashamed of if they participate. Like it has been mentioned below, it depends on how it is executed. Will, I see your point about "intrusiveness" and especially mobile marketing - first of all, I see mobile (text messages) as something very separate from social media marketing. I also think that users have the ability to set certain privacy settings on social media so if they don't want to be engaged with on social, they can make it so that happens (at least for the most part). But if a user does decide to "Like" "Follow" or "Add to circles" a dealership via social media - then the dealership SHOULD provide some marketing not just company culture. I think that individuals within the dealership communicating what it looks like to do business with the dealership (culture, knowledge, etc.) should be the goal. But I also know that studies have shown that more than half of those who connect with businesses on social, do so to receive promotions and discounts, so dealerships would be remiss they missed this opportunity, particularly for service (HubSpot). I don't think they should sell, sell, sell, on social, don't get me wrong. But making promotions or discounts available on those platforms, I think, is a good idea and can even help bridge the gap between sales and service.

Comment by Tracy E. Myers, CMD on April 23, 2012 at 10:40am

Our process has several layers. The first being on our customers comment card that they fill out before they leave the store. It asks the question (among others): "Are you on Facebook or Twitter?"

If they respond with a "Yes", then the BDC then does a search for them using my personal FB profile. If their profile is found, a direct message is sent that reintroduces them to who I am and thanks them for them for their business. If we get a response, we are assuming that they want to engage with us and then send out a reply requesting a "Like" on our dealership fan page.

This not only works for us but it seems to be the preferred way for my customers to communicate with me.  

Comment by Brent Albrecht on April 23, 2012 at 10:39am

I agree with Ralph's comment that dealers should not feel bad about using Facebook to market their dealership, but the key is how you use the media not whether to use it.  As for people not wanting to be sold on Facebook, or see product promotions, I think that is relative to the person and the product.  If Apple were to make a post about a new iPad coming out, people would share the crap out of the post and start all these discussions around it, while minutes later a dealer makes a similar post about a new model coming out and people jump on him for promoting his dealership on Facebook  saying "no one wants to be sold to on Facebook".  My belief is that when a person says "I don't want you to promote your products to me on Facebook"  what they really mean is "I don't want you to promote your products to me on Facebook unless it is a product I am interested in", which is a completely different issue (check the concept of the Thin Market).  Now the issue is relevancy and targeting people who are interested in your products.  Facebook makes this easy - Like a business if you want to see more information about their products. I find that preferable to other media, such as TV and Radio, neither of which do I tune in to so I can be sold something, and yet right in the middle of a TV show it gets interrupted by ads - extremely annoying! I find it much easier to skip past ads I am not interested in on the web.

All that said, it does come down to what you want to get out of the media and how you use it.  One of the unique aspects of social media (and Facebook) is the ability to facilitate two way conversations, not one way messages.  So if you are only interested in sending out one way promotional messages, social may not be the right vehicle for you. As with any media, businesses should take advantage of its strengths, so with Facebook, use it to start conversations with people and building relationships, because it's hard to build relationships with TV and radio spots.  But don't feel bad when you throw the occasional, promotional message in there.

Comment by Ryan Gerardi on April 23, 2012 at 10:24am

Will. You make for an ideal customer to connect with in social or mobile because you are so particular about which companies you would be willing to connect with and how. You are not the consumer that connects with everything he comes in to contact with online. I am confident that if your trust level with a company is high and they demonstrate a valuable and useful way to connect with you, be it in social or via mobile, that you would consider it because you would expect it to serve YOUR needs and not the company's.  So long as the company lives up to your expectations you would remain connected and engaged. So often I find that people are adverse to something until it benefits an immediate need. Often time when this happens the person doesn't even realize that he or she is engaged because it's so natural and relevant at the time.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on April 23, 2012 at 9:51am

Will - First of all, let me assure you that you will not be "Burned at the stake" for expressing your opinions about social media... Secondly, there are many more people that agree with what you wrote in this post than you apparently realize.  In my own personal experience, i hear people make statements that basically say "Nobody wants to be a friend to, like, follow or subscribe to a car dealership..." and even when people talk about brand affinity and aspirational ownership, it is generally with the "make" or "model" of a vehicle and not referring to the dealers themselves.  Although I sincerely believe that there are right and wrong ways for dealers to engage in social media marketing, I disagree that dealers should feel like pariahs or some kind of social media leper when it comes to their business being represented.  When done properly, and most importantly, when it is the PEOPLE THAT WORK IN THE DEALERSHIP who are clearly being themselves in the social media space, the whole concept of dealership social media marketing evolves into a more people focused means of marketing communications.  Yeah, I get what you are saying, and my response is that like dealership practices with CRM, email marketing, TV, Radio, direct mail, outdoor, monthly newsletters, etc. there are right ways and wrong ways of using social media to promote a dealership's business.  Obviously, the wrong ways outnumber the right ways and we are still in that learning curve phase... Maybe, we will always be in the learning curve phase for social media!

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