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Lon Safko's 10 Commandments of Social Media

BY "The Social Media Bible" author LON SAFKO
Editor's Note: This blog was written by Lon Safko and expresses his views alone.

As an author of The Social Media Bible, I am often asked, "What do I need to do engage my company, my products, and myself in social media?" The answer is easy: participate. Get out there and get involved. If you aren't in the game, you can't win. Here's your Ten Commandments or things you need to be doing to get in and win with social media.

  1. Thou Shalt Blog (like crazy).
  2. Thou Shalt Create Profiles (everywhere).
  3. Thou Shalt Upload Photos (lots of them).
  4. Thou Shalt Upload Videos (all you can find).
  5. Thou Shalt Podcast (often).
  6. Thou Shalt Set Alerts (immediately).
  7. Thou Shalt Comment (on a multitude of blogs).
  8. Thou Shalt Get Connected (with everyone).
  9. Thou Shalt Explore Social Media (30 minutes per week).
  10. Thou Shalt Be Creative (go forth and create creatively)!

Commandments 1. Thou Shalt Blog (like crazy)
Blog. Please. That's the first priority. Set up a blog, a personal blog, a business blog. It's easier than you think. Use an existing blogging site such as Blogger.com or GOingOn.com or install your own branded blogging site right on your own server by using WordPress. And, WordPress is free.

Commandments 2. Thou Shalt Create Profiles (everywhere)
Create your profiles; do it now before someone else takes them. Once they are gone, they are gone forever. That's called cyber squatting. So get out there. Use Open Social to make filling in your profiles as easy as a click of a button.

Commandments 3. Thou Shalt Upload Photos (lots of them)
Upload photographs. You've got them. Don't upload the one with you with a lampshade on your head…counterproductive; but other photographs? Absolutely. Customers want to see and participate. You want to give people a face to go with your company.

Commandments 4. Thou Shalt Upload Videos (all you can find)
Videos. You all have got videos. I don't care whether it's training videos or customer videos, grab your video camera and go interview some of your customers. What's better than seeing your customer's smiley face on your Web site? And it doesn't cost anything.

Commandments 5. Thou Shalt Podcast (often)
Podcast. If you're too cheap to get a camera, use the free audio software that's in your computer. That's what I did. I created 48 audio podcasts. If you take the podcasts I did for my book and played them back-to-back, they run 24 continuous hours of interviews. You can do that. It's free. It just takes time.

Commandments 6. Thou Shalt Set Alerts (immediately)
Set alerts. People are talking about you. You probably need to know what they are saying and you want to participate.

Commandments 7. Thou Shalt Comment (on a multitude of blogs)
Comment. Commenting is like going to a cocktail party. You wouldn't walk into a networking event, walk up to a group of people talking, and tell them your name and what you do in your business. That would be rude and unacceptable. Listen first. Read the blogs and add comments. You can be controversial, that's okay. But participate. Get involved.

Commandments 8. Thou Shalt Get Connected (with everyone)
Get LinkedIn. Put it in your email that you have a LinkedIn account, you have a FaceBook account, and that you have a Twitter account. Make it a part of your heading on your letterhead, because that's how you propagate. That's how you sell it.

Commandments 9. Thou Shalt Explore Social Media (30 minutes per week)
Explore social media. Give me thirty minutes a week, that's all I'm asking. Friday morning grab your coffee, lock yourself in your office, and give me thirty minutes. Just Google something. I promise you within the first 30 days you will be excited. You'll be as excited as I am. You will get excited because of the ROI.

Commandments 10. Thou Shalt Be Creative (go forth and create creatively)
And the most important commandment is creativity. That's all. It's just creativity and having fun. But you know what, that's what your customers want. They want to see transparency. They want to see authenticity. They want to see you having fun. They want to be able to relate and communicate.

Read more of Lon Safko's Social Media Bible blog

Click here for your free The Social Media Bible Ten Commandment Ball. Just print, cut, glue, and be inspired!

Lon Safko is the co-author of The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies For Business.... He is also an innovator and professional speaker with over 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship, marketing, sales, strategic partnering, speaking, training, writing, and e-commerce. He is the founder of eight successful companies, including Paper Models, Inc.

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Tags: 10 Commandments, Automotive Blog, Automotive Social Media, Lon Safko, Reputation Management, Social Media, Social Media Marketing

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Comment by Ralph Paglia on June 24, 2010 at 11:19pm
Lon Safko's Interview About Car Dealers and Social Media
Comment by Lon Safko on June 23, 2010 at 7:01am
Here's a 30 minute YouTube video where I discuss the importance of Social Media for Auto Dealers,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNGrhlIkGdQ
Comment by Katie Urbain on June 23, 2010 at 6:46am
Thanks Lon! I'll have to check out your Second edition.
Comment by Ted Frazier on June 23, 2010 at 5:24am
I agree completely Ralph. It seems to me that too often dealers do not place enough strategic importance on their social media content stream. Even small things such as comments and updates are pieces of content that have strategic value.
I remember we used to spend a lot of time convincing dealers the strategic importance of their website content. Now dealers have no problem hiring professionals to create the content for their website, but social media content is sometimes not treated with the same care.
Comment by Ralph Paglia on June 22, 2010 at 10:25pm
Ted - I agree with you, but would also suggest that if a dealer has a good handle on what he wants his strategy to be, especially in regards to positioning his dealership and what the team that works for him is instructed to focus on, then content creation is sometimes better left to professional writers, graphic artists, viedographers, photographers, web designers and social media marketers. Can a dealer do it all themselves as part of a "Unified and Integrated" strategy? Many probably could, some may lack the skills, but almost all car dealers would be better off dedicated a portion of their overall marketing and advertising budget towards professional assistance and services from specialists. A dealership generating between $500k and $15m a year in net operTing income may be better served with the dealer and the GM hiring skilled professionals to meet the recommendations you make, rather than taking that Dealer or GM away from tasks they excell at and ask them to use their time to learn the skills and develop the detailed tactical blueprints that your comment suggests.
Comment by Ted Frazier on June 22, 2010 at 4:25pm
All good things to do, but if you don't have a good understanding of a unified and comprehensive marketing strategy and know how to create effective content it can all be a waste of time.
Comment by Lon Safko on June 22, 2010 at 3:55pm
I agree Katie... These commandments were for the very beginners. In The Social Media Bible, Second Edition, I completely rewrote them and the entire third section of my book. Good call!
P.S. We do still have to engage in all of these areas until we know exactly where all of our customers and prospects are, as you pointed out...
LonSafko, author, The Social Media Bible
Comment by Katie Urbain on June 21, 2010 at 12:39pm
I would love to see Lon Safko update this list of commandments. I think things have changed dramatically in the last year and he might have a different opinion or more specifics on some of these now. While they are all still good ways to get engaged, I would argue that it is best to focus on a few outlets that speak to your specific audience the best.
I also would argue that podcasting is a fabulous tool, but not for all industries. Again, this is specific to your audience, and what tools they are comfortable using.
I guess it all boils down to knowing your audience. So do the research before you get started.
Comment by Keith Shetterly on June 21, 2010 at 11:48am
Love the article, thanks for putting it here, Ralph. I can't read something like this without thinking of Mel Brooks as Moses in "History of the World, Part 1", standing on the mountain side holding three tablets of five each and saying "I bring you these fifteen (and he drops one) er, uh . . . TEN, Commandments!".

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