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Social Networking: Is it more about Relationship Building than Selling Cars?

A large number of the car dealers now on Facebook and Twitter use their status updates to list inventory. However, the real value in joining these social networks may be the opportunity to create relationships with both customers and colleagues alike.

I will be moderating a panel on this topic on Oct. 15, 2009 during the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Automotive Internet Roundtable at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas. For more information on what will be covered during this panel and to see a list of panelists, please see my related post on this topic on

I have also proposed this topic as the subject of a panel discussion at the 2010 SXSW Interactive festival. Today the panel picker went live and you can vote on which panels you would like to see at next year's festival. If you would like to vote on this Social Networking for Dealers panel, you will need to create a profile on the SXSW site.

Do you have any thoughts on this topic that you would like to share? Feel free to add them in the comments area.

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Comment by Christopher Baccus on October 16, 2009 at 1:26pm
Excellent blog post and question on the topic. I think it's fine for a dealer to promote some products in their social use, but the ones who just post listings and listings only tend to lose fans and followers and lack any kind of social equity in the community.

Here is what I recently wrote about concerning dealers and social media:

I'd add that the best way to understand the better examples is to create an account in the social spaces like Twitter and Facebook and follow and fan some of the following:

Twitter: @JUPCHEVY @AuctionDirect @fordofocala @Hank_SoCalFord @BaronBMW

Facebook: Someone else can give some examples. Surprisingly I haven't fanned any dealers on Facebook; though, I do fan automotive brands some great examples are Ford, Chevy, GM, Hyundai and Jeep.

I mention these examples because they engage, they don't just sell.
Comment by VJ on September 21, 2009 at 1:55pm
Mary and Clarence:

You both are right on. Dealerships who are using Social Media (FB, Twitter, YouTube, etc) just for announcing another sales event or presenting their inventory are going exactly the route, what the traditional media did over the last decades - determine what "they" (the dealer) want's to talk about and not engaging in a potential customers need for non-pressure information on car, on dealership or on social event marketing.

Susan G. Komen events and Toys for Tots as Clarence mentioned are perfect example to connect your retail business with social event groups.

Comment by Clarence U Romero on August 19, 2009 at 9:13am
Hey Mary,

Your right, I have seen this all the time. I have had several dealers on my facebook page that I have had to remove cause thier status is just inventory. The ones that do this are the ones that have 20 friends, and 19 are other dealers.

Dealers should be adding current customers to facebook. Use the status updates to speak of upcoming events at the store. Useing the social media as an advertising source, or a newspaper article is not going to work.

I have one dealer that I consulted for in the past, they use their status updates the right way. They have a program were you come in and test drive a vehicle in the name of breast cancer, or toys for tots. That's what the way it should be done.


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