Automotive Marketing Professional Community for Car Dealers and their Managers
I ran across an obstacle with a dealer's Facebook page the other day. They were heavily supporting the local chapter of the March of Dimes and had some great pictures and videos compiled by the staff. None of this was on their website, Facebook page, or anywhere in their social media presence.
"We aren't doing it for the exposure. We're doing it for the charity," he said.
When we do good things, it's in our nature to want to feel like we're doing these things for the benefit of the recipient rather than for some self-serving reasons. Most do not like to "toot their own horn" about the good things they do in the community and within society in general. Doing so sours the experience and makes us feel like we're not properly motivated.
This couldn't be further from the truth within a dealership environment. Showing support doesn't end when the check is written. There is exposure for the charity, awareness of the cause, and the influence as a community leader that comes into play. For these and other reasons, dealers who "hide" their good deeds are doing a disservice to those they're trying to help.
Sharing exposure is good for everyone involved. If, as in the case of the March of Dimes dealer described above, you're goal is to help raise money through an event, then the dealership and the charity benefit from getting the word out as much as possible. This should be put on the website, blasted out multiple times through social media, and be very visible within the store itself.
Exposure helps to get people to know what's going on. They can't help out by donating themselves if they don't know where or how to donate.
After the event is over, some say that it's time to stop posting (if they were posting from the start). Posting pictures, videos, or stories describing the event and the charity around it seems like "tooting" since the time to donate is over. This couldn't be further from the truth.
There are two primary tools that charities can use: money and awareness. Just because you're done with the money component doesn't mean that you shouldn't participate in raising awareness after the event. Dealers should latch on and increase the publicity levels of the charity well after the checks are cashed and they've moved onto the next event.
This is arguably the most beneficial of the three primary reasons to expose your dealership's participation with charities. If you're dealership is doing business right, you're already a leader in the community. If the dealership is new or hasn't done things right for the community in the past, these charitable events are a great way to get started.
As a dealership, your influence in the community can be strong. People can look up to you as a strong local supporter of the community. Businesses can look up to you as an example to follow. When you're leading by example and getting involved in the community or through charities, you have the opportunity to inspire others to do the same thing.
At that point, you're not just a business. You're a leader.
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Post your activities regardless of how "self-promotional" they seem. If your dealership is operating from a sincere perspective, you're doing more harm than good by hiding what you're doing in the community.