Automotive retailers have been contacting me lately to ask how they can use Twitter to keep in front of their existing customers as well as to reach new customers. There are a number of emails claiming that business owners can build 10,000+ member "opt-in" email lists in just days using Twitter.
I thought it was time to make some initial comments as I continue to test how to leverage Twitter for clients. There are no EASY ways to generate an opt-in email list of 10,000+ consumers but it is also not that hard either.
Email Has A Challenger
In the past, car dealers only had one electronic “push technology” at their disposal; email. Today, with Twitter and Facebook car dealers have the ability to push messages to people that are following their tweets or their profiles. So in effect, Twitter and Facebook offer a micro-email system that people opt-in to receive. But that's where the comparisons to email stop.
Twitter limits the length of any message or "tweet" so if you want to send more complex messages, you need to link people to the rest of the story. These links would go to a landing page on a car dealer’s website or related web page.
That's where www.tinyurl.com and my favorite, www.budurl.com can come into play. Since Twitter limits how many characters you can type in a tweet, budurl.com can shrink long URL links to make them fit into Twitter's text character constraints.
Tracking Web Traffic
Services like www.budurl.com will notify you when people click on your links and visit your web pages mentioned in a tweet. You can also set BudUrl to send you an email once a day on all your link activity. I consider budurl.com the perfect executive level "analytics" tool to measure traffic generated by banner ads or social networking.
These simple tracking services are not the Holy Grail for ROI, but a simple measure of how many visitors your Internet marketing efforts are driving to your website. This is baby steps for automotive dealership owners and General Managers who want to get a bird’s eye view on the traffic generated by their ad dollars. The true ROI of Internet marketing should be calculated each month by the Internet Sales manager based on more detailed analytics and car sales.
Who Will Run Your Twitter Program?
Once you understand the mechanics of Twitter, then you have to decide who will keep the tweets flowing from your dealership. You also have to decide who is going to build your list of followers. In concept, if you could attract consumers that are interested in your tweets, you could build a very powerful network who would respond to your eventual calls to action.
This is where the testing has to start for your brand. For car dealers, your market is regional and thus having people following you from another state may not generate any real sales. So the question at hand is how to attract “in-state” followers who may respond to your tweets.
If done properly, you will build a list of in-state and out of state followers. For the in-state connections you can generate an awareness of your “brand” for innovation, customer service, humor or accessibility. There are no guidelines on how to leverage Twitter to build you opt-in lists so it’s a good time to ask people how they are using Twitter to expand their online marketing.
Share Your Experiences with Twitter
The common questions that my customers are asking are:
1. How much time each day do you need to spend on Twitter?
2. How many Tweets are you posting a day?
3. How to you focus on building in-state Twitter followers?
4. What is your mix of personal Tweets vs. marketing Tweets?
5. Are there any ROI reports on Twitter time vs. sales?
If you have any feedback to share on Twitter, please share with us.