Automotive Marketing Professional Community for Car Dealers, OEM and Suppliers
Most people know that I'm generally not a proponent of social media for most dealerships simply because the fact is that the ROI for either a) exposure, b) brand equity, or c) sales simply can't be justified relative to other dealership marketing expenditures. I've debated people on this topic in ADM and other forums because, well, that's what these forums are for...to discuss/debate/ideate different solutions to help dealers be more successful in the market place (as an aside, bless KK's heart...she must think I'm the social media devil, or at least a major a-hole, because of my tenacity on the subject. In all fairness, she's really a trooper for putting up with my tenacity, and does have great ideas/insights, so in all seriousness, I hope we can chat more about this over a beer at a conference in the near future...=)
Because of my background, I'm generally an "operational" consultant, and work with dealers/OEMs on strategy, process improvement, financial statement analysis, working capital, profitability/ROI/ROS, pay plans, recruiting, etc., hence my focus on fundamentals versus "shiny objects." Even so, my exec friends at OEMs, at their AORs, at media outlets like Fortune/CNN, etc. share these sentiments too...that social media ROI is weak, hence why they don't spend much here compared to their digital or traditional marketing expenditures. Even a prominent e-commerce dealer (and speaker/panelist on the circuit) just said to me today that social media should never even be considered by any dealer who hasn't first mastered traditional/digital/brand marketing strategies, not to mention having an effective lead management process too...further adding that since most dealers fall into this category...well, you get the idea of where he was going...
HOWEVER...I have always maintained that social media does have a place for those dealers that have 1) the brand horsepower to get and keep people's attention, 2) a well-coordinated marketing plan for traditional/digital/social media, and 3) the expertise and capability to execute that plan well.
From an operational perspective, there are many things a dealer can do in-house or outsource...be it cleaning carpets/mats, to DX's, to washing/detailing cars, to taking and uploading photos for your new/used cars, to e-mail campaigns, etc. So when it comes to social media, what should a dealership do? The short answer in my opinion? Farm it out.
While there are pros and cons to both managing social media in-house or outsourcing it, here are the realities for the AVERAGE dealer:
So like a lot of things, while the average dealership theoretically COULD manage this in-house, I would recommend hiring a professional agency instead...your dealership's social media image and reputation are too important to risk in the hands of an in-house amateur that more than likely won't be there long-term.
Now, for dealers with the scale, dynamics, and operational logistics to manage social media in-house, do it professionally, and generate a positive ROI in the process, I would still highly recommend hiring a professional agency or consultant to help you set this up properly because again, just because you can play around on your personal Facebook page and send irrelevant tweets to some followers does not make you a social media expert. There is much more to social media marketing than you think, so hire an expert to help you do it right, and do it well.