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Fix Your Orphans (the dormant social media profiles, that is)

Facebook Orphan

The image above shows the last four Facebook activities by a major car dealership in a metro area. Over three months ago, they abandoned their page. This could easily be a very long post where I go into details about how this is wrong on so many levels, but I'll keep it short because if you're reading this, chances are very strong that you're a savvy dealership that would never let this happen.

For the sake of education, I'll at least put a partial list together in case you're not absolutely sure why you shouldn't do this:

  • This page appears in the searches for the dealership by name on Google.
  • This is the page presented to people when they search on Facebook, Bing, and other search engines as well.
  • Abandoned pages can be easily spammed. If a spammer were to find this page, they could start posting links to their teeth whitening or adult-content gateway websites and have it appear at the top of the dealers' activity public activity feed. This is becoming a more common technique by spammers because they know that the business is not paying attention so the chances of them being reported to Facebook are slim.
  • A feed could be setup if absolutely necessary (I'll cover this more below).
  • Customers are posting on the page. Huge opportunities are being missed.

Let's cover the bottom two in a little more detail.


Last Resort: Feeds

If your dealership has no bandwidth to cover your social media and no budget to hire an automotive social media service, the absolute worst case scenario is to set up a feed to the page. This is something that I don't recommend to anyone who wants to be successful, but it's still better than abandonment.

You can use RSS Graffiti, Hootsuite, or any number of other services to pull in a feed and post on a regular basis to Facebook. This is a very poor strategy, but it's better than nothing.


Customers Can Post

This is the most disheartening part about the page above. Happy customers are talking. I've recently written five blog posts about the importance of developing brand ambassadors. This dealership has ambassadors waiting to be contacted. It's such a waste.

Here are those posts:

Happy customers that take the time to promote your dealership through their own Facebook profile should not be ignored. There's no excuse for this.


Don't Delete Them

There's a good chance that you'll have a Facebook presence whether you want to or not. Just because you delete your page doesn't mean that someone else can't toss one up for you. "Fan pages" are very common and if you don't have a page of your own that is outranking the fan pages, you risk letting others control what people see when they check you out on Facebook. Bad move.

Social media is about communication, so the ideas of using RSS feeds is not a good option. Every dealership needs to be watching, even if it's in the form of having the Internet Manager, GM, or owner receive an email when someone posts on the page. For most, this isn't a problem. The industry is realizing the importance of social. If you're not one of those, at least do the bare minimum to not completely fail. It takes no time. To turn your presence into an orphan is a big mistake.

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Tags: Facebook, Social, Social Media


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Comment by J.D. Rucker on March 6, 2013 at 6:37pm

My motto is, "When in doubt, don't be clueless."

Comment by Tom Gorham on March 5, 2013 at 4:43pm

JD, I shouldn't have, but I actually felt sorry for the dealer.  He or she probably has no clue.  But then, there is so much information available, it's hard to believe anyone could be that clueless.

Comment by J.D. Rucker on March 5, 2013 at 3:17pm

Thanks Tom - your findings inspired the research!

Alexander - I saw something similar when a dealer had imported a Google News feed for "Nissan" and they were posting stories on Facebook like "Hit and Run Victim Dies at Hospital - The driver of a black Nissan Sentra was last seen speeding away..."

Comment by Alexander Lau on March 5, 2013 at 6:47am

Orphans, love the techie terminology! Ohhh gosh, there's so many of them out there, it's pathetic.

Like I've said previously in these waters, they're better of not creating it in the first place if they are going to abandon them. Agreed, RSSGraffiti and DLVR.IT, etc. are better off than nothing, even though their not maintaining the credibility of their content. Gosh, I can only imagine "recall news" being imported in and that's make them look stupid.


Comment by Tom Gorham on March 5, 2013 at 5:05am

Great article JD! Actually a dealer should be monitoring, in the form of alerts, every time their dealership is mentioned on the Internet.  That's the bare minimum of responsibility.  MHO

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