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Social Media Marketing; Beware The Seven Deadly Sins!

Beware the Most Common and Deadly Sins of Automotive Social Media Marketing...

Seven deadly sins

EDITOR NOTE: Based on an article by David Griner, a social media strategist for Luckie and Company

There are a million ways for car dealers to use social media well, and only a handful of ways to do it horribly wrong. So why do so many dealers and their managers keep falling into the same traps?

The answer is easy: human nature. And as we all know, humans (and especially car guys) are constantly beset by malicious temptations. So as a service to the ADM Community, we've decided to break down the Seven Deadly Sins that make social media go sour for car dealers who did not see it coming.

(Click on the tips below to learn more from this article's source.)

1. Lust: Loving your customers is great, but take it slow.
2. Gluttony: Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
3. Greed: How do you shake hands while reaching for someone’s wallet?
4. Sloth: Avoid the typical dealership practice of “set it and forget it.”
5. Wrath: There are customers who will lie and defame your dealership's good name that deserve to get their butt kicked, but DO NOT be the one to do it... Especially in a public forum!
6. Envy: Don’t be discouraged by other dealers “doing it better than you.”
7. Pride: Stay humble, rock star... remember, you were once a neanderthal standing on the point waiting for your next up!

Here's our take on what the above linked research tells us...

Deadly-sins-rodin1. Lust: Loving your customers is great, but take it slow. In the ribald days of 2006, an Internet Sales Manager would sign up on MySpace and then start “friending”everyone with a profile. Russian Mail Order Brides, Viagra Sales Reps... Everyone. These days, lusting after fans like that will get you labeled as desperate — or even as a "social media spammer".

So keep it in your pants and truly get to know the first people who connect with you or your dealership's "brand". In return, they might just love you enough to visit the dealership in person, or send you a referral.

2. Gluttony: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Once a dealership decides to take a seat at the social media table, they often dig in with gusto. The downside: They want (or want their service provider) to be everywhere at once, spreading themselves across the Web instead of being strategic and focused. You don’t need accounts on all social networks — just the right ones... Say, the top 340 out of thousands.

3. Greed: It’s hard to shake hands while you’re reaching for someone’s wallet. We’d all like to make some gross profit, kill a few bears and move some metal through social media, and if your dealership is strong, it’ll happen. But if all you do on your Twitter feed or Facebook page is spout off about this weekend's memorial day BIG SALE messages, no one’s going to stick around. Be human, be a real person and simply be yourself. Be helpful... Answer some questions. Be a good listener. Then the sales and gross profits will come to you. Think of social media as "Zen Selling" or as I have said to several dealers, social car sales is like selling cars by accident!

4. Sloth: Always avoid the temptation to “set it and forget it.” Starting a blog, building a Facebook Fan Page? or creating a presence on a social network? That’s easy. Keeping it alive and growing? That takes commitment, adaptability and good-old elbow grease. You would never open a storefront, then close shop two weeks later because of low turnout. Go for the long term, and plan accordingly.

5. Wrath: There are a lot of people out there itching for a punch in the nose, but you’re not the one
Rodin-detailto give it to them. Once you’re active online, you’re bound to get a few critics. Some will offer valuable feedback. Some will shout obscenities (tell them to come down and meet your friend, the used car manager). You won’t have a hard time telling the difference, so focus on the ones who deserve a response. And no matter what, never lash out. Your scathing “private” e-mail will probably end up on 100 blogs before breakfast, and the Internet has a long (if not infinite) memory.

6. Envy: Don’t be dissuaded by other people “doing it better than you.” Someone will always have more followers, more blog comments, more write-ups in Digital Dealer. Focus on who you are and what your dealership has to offer, not on what the other guy is doing. And when you must steal an idea (because hey, it happens, I do it all the time), find a way to make it so much bigger and better, no one can even recognize the original.

7. Pride: Stay humble, rock star. Successful social media really is easier than you’d think. If you plan ahead, pace yourself and listen more than you talk, you’ll strike a chord with your dealership's existing customer base and in-market shoppers will see you taking care of customers and become raving fans and customers for life, like what Carl Sewell does at Sewell Lexus in Dallas... Showing the market, and prospective car buyers that you enjoy conversing with and helping previously sold customers will open new opportunities and enhance your dealership's (and your own) brand in ways you never imagined. But don’t let it go to your head. There’s always more work to do!

art credits: Logo design by Luckie Art Director Allison Graves.
Photos by S Migol and Stuck in Customs on Flickr.

By David Griner

Views: 808

Tags: Automotive Social, Beware, Seven Deadly Sins, Social Media, Social Media Marketing


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Comment by Ralph Paglia on May 29, 2010 at 3:12pm
Joe - Thank you for such an eloquent and sincere perspective of the use of social media by car dealers... One of my ADP Social Media Rep Mgmnt Team's competitors brags about their 20,000+ Twitter followers, but when I look at who those followers are, I see a seemingly endless string of spammers, get rich quick offers and everything except anyone who has anything to do with selling cars and servicing dealers... I do believe that after the Gold Rush settles down and business objectives prevail, there will be a realization that EFFECTIVE Automotive Social Media Marketing is not about random and uncontrolled numbers of friends, fans, followers, subscribers, mafia clan members or whatever these connections are called, and more about having a well designed strategy and clearly defined tactical blueprint for implementing that strategy... Sort of like, well you know, like this:

With a tactical Blueprint that is planned out prior to being constructed, sort of like this:

Comment by T. Lavon Lawrence on May 29, 2010 at 7:56am
Sweet. I could write three of four paragraphs as to why this article is awesome, but I'll just leave it at "SWEET".
Comment by Tom Gorham on May 29, 2010 at 7:32am
Excellent advice.
Comment by Keith Shetterly on May 29, 2010 at 7:02am
I often use the example that you wouldn't put your business card into everybody's pocket at a party and expect results, so why would you do that in social media? However, I have come to realize that this example is not as effective with dealers as a group as I expected, because it seems many of them would think spamming business cards at a party is okay! And it shows in their social media . . .
Comment by Joe Webb on May 29, 2010 at 5:22am
Great way to put some of the do's and don'ts of social media for dealers into an intriguing context. I actually believe this same 7 Sin mentality can work across all industries. On a personal level, I do get frustrated when I see dealers/car people simply trying to "up" their friend numbers by connecting with everyone under the sun. We all know some industry folks who have done that with considerable success to build a brand in themselves, but I think it can go too far. (Now I may get beat up for what I'm going to say here.... You may say, "Take it easy, Joe. That's why it is called SOCIAL networking." But we are still in a business environment. My wife has been asked by dozens of car people (that I've never even met) to connect and I don't see the point in it. Moreover, another non-stop social networking flatfoot just friended my sickly stepmom. WHY? Just because someone shares my last name and is on my profile doesn't mean they will help you sell cars or your brand. Tell me I am not crazy here.

It is the same reason why I think the world of your wife, Elizabeth, Ralph - (And have met her twice I believe) - but still don't see the purpose in connecting on FB.

Okay, I'm ranting. But it may be because dealerships friend all of us daily to bump their numbers even when there is no chance of them selling us a vehicle because of distance or some other factor. Going by your definitions here, I'd say my biggest problem then is that they LUST after too many connections even when they are not worthy connections. They should be dedicating their time to mining their showroom, service department, sold database, and local community if they want to see the advantages of social media play a role in their dealership's success. They need to stop the seven deadly sins, handle themselves with an air of grace and humility, and have a purpose when they dive (and friend) in the social networking waters.

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