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The Hierarchy of Automotive Social Media Pages and Profiles

This is one of those topics in which everyone will have an opinion. Some will agree in part and disagree with other components, but the hope is to stir up some discussion on the topic. We've tested these ideas and continue the constant flow of more testing; social media is always changing.

Before going much further, it's extremely important to understand one aspect of this list that is universal, particularly in the automotive industry. Time is the primary factor. If someone came to me and asked me to devise a comprehensive strategy that a full-time social media marketing employee could implement and manage, it would be different from what I've put below. Blogging, for example, is an afterthought in the list below as it can be extremely time-consuming to do properly, but if there's a full-timer handling social media, blogging would jump from the bottom to the top.

Conversely, those who have no time at all and are squeezing in 5 minutes a day at the most would also need a more streamlined strategy.

These suggestions are for the average dealer who an employee such as the internet manager squeezing in 20 minutes to an hour a day into their social media strategy. Technically, this could fill up more than an hour a day if more attention is paid to vetting content on other pages, sharing, and commenting, but we'll assume those activities, high-value though they are, fall into the category of "if you have time between all of the other things you have to do every day."

Here's the hierarchy as I see it:

1. Facebook

This one is the no-brainer on the list. If you only have time to do one thing in social media, it would be Facebook. They have the traction. They have the attention of your customers. They have the exposure.

You should be posting 1-3 pieces of content at a minimum to your dealership Facebook pages, even on weekends. More is better but don't overdo it. Don't crowd your posts, either. In other words, don't fill the three-a-day requirement by stacking three posts on top of each other. They have to be spread out.

2. Google+

This is probably the most controversial positioning on the hierarchy. There are still plenty of dealership who don't even have a Google+ page. Some think they have a Google+ page because they have a Google Local profile that's tied into Google+, but if you're not posting content socially, you don't really have a valid business page.

Rather than explaining why it's important and so high on the list (that is a complete blog post of its own), let me explain why you should do it even if you're not a believer. It doesn't add much time. If you are posting to Facebook, posting the same exact content to Google+ adds a couple of minutes of work if you're slow.

3. Twitter

For most dealers going into 2013, Twitter seems to be a "check box item". In other words, if they have their Facebook and other social profiles feeding into their Twitter account, then they're Twitter is covered. This isn't exactly true.

Twitter should have the highest frequency of posts. You will want to post things to Twitter much more often than the other networks. Thankfully, you can use the other networks to streamline the tweeting efforts. One thing that very few dealers are doing well is actually engaging with others on Twitter. For the most part, Twitter is a defensive tool. You want your Twitter profile to appear active and engaging to those who visit it from your website. You want people with problems to hit you on Twitter for resolutions. It's the safest network from an exposure perspective to receive complaints, so encouraging interaction by simply engaging with others will make that possible.

4. YouTube

It's not for every dealer. There's no need to have an active YouTube channel just for the sake of having an active YouTube channel. If you aren't making videos, don't force it by simply posting other people's videos. An inactive YouTube account can do more harm than good. Either do it or don't. Nothing in between.

5. Tumblr

This is higher on the list than others for the same reason that Google+ is so high - it's easy. We did a webinar on Tumblr a while back and the reasoning there still applies today. It can help with SEO, reputation management, and exposure and does not require a ton of extra effort to make it effective.

6. Pinterest

Some say that Pinterest is on the decline. They are correct to some measure, but that doesn't make it less valuable (yet). Today, the passions of the users are still strong and having an active Pinterest presence can have an impact. Again, like Google+ and Tumblr, Pinterest is also too easy to skip.

7. ScoopIt

Many people are unfamiliar with Scoop.It now, but they won't be unfamiliar forever. It's the next big thing, similar to Pinterest in some ways but with a more business-oriented demeanor and functionality. Please contact me directly if you have an questions about Scoop.It - early adopters will be thankful that they did it.

8. The Others

Foursquare, LinkedIn, and Instagram can be valuable if they are worked in properly with the dealership's marketing efforts. They are "tweeners" in that they are really better applied by the advanced, time-capable dealership employees who can afford to take a stab at them, but if you're going to keep anything out of your social media strategy for the sake of time, it would be these three.
* * *

Again, there are plenty of perspectives that surround any list like this. I would love to hear your perspective or answer any question you may have about the individual networks or the strategy required to make them work properly for your dealership.

Views: 468

Tags: automotive, media, social


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Comment by Gary Jon Prough on October 24, 2012 at 12:40pm

Wish I could get my DP and GM to wrap their minds around this. Fun part is they are both young.

Comment by J.D. Rucker on October 20, 2012 at 4:01am

I'm with you, Jaime. It's frustrating. When you've seen what can be done in social media and you see those who could do so much more, it makes you want to shake them by their shoulders screaming, "do it right!"

Comment by jaime Block on October 20, 2012 at 2:46am

Agree as well, absolutely nothing wrong with this list.  In fact, it's great and very useful.  However, regarding my last comment and the 20 min/day, I would say the average "not very active in social" dealership has probably built Items 1-3, and even though video is huge, some don't have a youtube channel.  They may have some really expensive videos they shot and put on tv, and the video is on someone else's channel... or they don't know if they have a channel.  The video has not even been tagged.  Not sure why.. wait, its the 20 min a day and the user with a lack of understanding of the real value behind social, which like I mentioned reinforces their negativity around social media.  I say this because as I was literally cold calling dealerships (at least 30 / day), ones that clearly needed help, and I realized that even today, in 2012, social media is scary to them.

 I was hired by a new client just this morning.  It's a restaurant.  I've been working for 12 straight hours on just fixing what has been broken from past users in order to streamline an accurate social plan for them.  This stuff is time consuming.  But I love it so I don't mind.  I just can't see a car sales person putting in this time.  You must have the passion for it.  And yes, I'm very opinionated, but only because it's so frustrating to know a dealership can spend $40k/month on traditional and think social is and should be free.  All Dealerships need someone to manage their social, they need to pay for it, and they need someone with a sales mentality but a creative approach. (Whether its a company or a person)

Comment by J.D. Rucker on October 20, 2012 at 2:35am

I totally understand what you mean, Jaime. It's a shame that it's what we're often given to work with but it's possible to have an active and fluid social media presence with very little time. Once results start coming in, that's when the push can be made for more time, more resources, etc.

Jeff Cryder was given very little other than a challenge to make it happen for his dealership. Once he was able to demonstrate results, he was able to get more resources and time to spend on it. Now, he has a small staff dedicated full time to the internet marketing of a mid-sized dealer in Ohio.

Dealerships that recognize the potential and are willing to invest into social media can definitely be effective with a full-time employee working strictly with their internet marketing - no selling, no lead contacts, just lead generation and outreach. Getting many of them to realize the potential often must start with baby steps. Unfortunately, "baby steps" to many means spending 5 minutes a day. I would contend that the right strategy at 20 minutes to an hour a day is enough to show results.

One quick note of clarification: I did not mean that some would spend 20 minutes a day and other dealers would spend an hour or more. What I meant was that some days a dealership can get away with 20 minutes and other days it could take as long as an hour. 20 minutes a day, every day, is not effective because it doesn't give enough time to plan and monitor properly.

Comment by Steve Richards on October 20, 2012 at 2:24am
Jaime, agree. 20 minutes a day isn't enough. But nothing fundamentally wrong with this list.
Comment by jaime Block on October 20, 2012 at 12:37am

Honestly, what can a dealership get from just 20 minutes a day?  I think they should either go full force, or don't bother.  The reason why so many dealerships are still resistant, is because they have been doing the 20 min squeeze in with some inexperienced internet manager who knows nothing about marketing and everything about sales.  This person posts to facebook and thinks people will come a running.  wrong.  

This is of course ineffective.  Eventually, they see no value in "social media" because they are not getting the results they desire.  They also don't know why they are doing it, nor have any plan in place.  just my opinion...but ive talked to hundred's of dealers and this is what I have seen.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on October 19, 2012 at 5:37pm

I would place Slideshare above Scoopit, but still a good list... Also, I think any such list needs at least 15 social media type sites on it.

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