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The Single Most Important Thing to Keep in Mind About Automotive Social Media


Over the last several months, really since speaking at the Digital Marketing Strategies Conference in Napa Valley earlier this year, one of the themes that we've been focused on is this:

"What happens on your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media pages is not nearly as important as what happens on other people's Facebook, Twitter, and social media pages."

Every few months I need to remind myself to continue to preach this point. Dealers and businesses in general always migrate towards focusing on their own pages and profiles when working automotive social media. While it's important to maintain a strong presence through our own pages, the real bang for the buck is what happens off of our pages.

Think about two scenarios:

1) A happy customer buys a new car. They're pumped, young, tech-savvy, and you ask them if you can take their picture for Facebook. They agree. You line up the car with your dealership's sign in the background. They stand next to the car, leaning on the door and smiling like a kid in a candy store with a credit card in hand. You post it to your dealership Facebook page. Mission accomplished!

2) A happy customer buys a new car. Everything is the same as above. The difference is that instead of asking if you can take their picture with your camera, you say, "I noticed you have a smartphone. I know you're excited so if you want to tell everyone on Facebook, I'd be happy to take your picture with it!"

In the second scenario, the mission was truly accomplished. Why? Yes, people will visit your Facebook page whether from your website or simply as avid followers. However, you're not blowing them out of the water or getting new peoples' attention by posting it only on your own page.

When a happy customer posts the picture on their page, the real magic of social media happens. Now their friends and family see that they bought a new car and that they bought it from you. Do the math, here:

  • >>> 140 People: Average number of Facebook friends
  • >>> 17 Months: Average buying cycle within an American household
  • >>> 8.24: The number of people who are friends with your customer on Facebook who are actively in the market to buy a vehicle today.

Where is the real juice in social media? Is it on your Facebook page? Is it on your Twitter profile? To some extent, the answer is year, but just as flossing will do very little if you don't brush your teeth, posting to your own Facebook page and Twitter profile will do very little if you don't get your customers to post about you on their social media profiles.

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Comment by Tom Gorham on October 19, 2011 at 7:13pm
Thanks John and David.  Actually David, I was familiar with Insights but I didn't know they had "new" Insights.  I clicked on that and was pleased to see "talking about this".  Thank you.  My notifications are set correctly already.  I think I would just like to be able to drill down to specific comments, but I guess that's not possible (at least yet).  Thanks guys!
Comment by David Johnson on October 19, 2011 at 6:37am

Facebook does have the new "talking about this" metric which will give you a number that you can use to gauge something like this, unfortunately it adds other things in there as well.

That number includes:


  • liking your Page
  • posting to your Page’s Wall
  • liking, commenting or sharing one of your Page posts (or other content on your page – like photos, videos, albums)
  • answering a Question you posted, RSVP-ing to one of your events
  • mentioning your Page, phototagging your Page
  • liking or sharing a check-in deal, or checking in at your Place.


As you can see it will include when people mention your page, tag the page in a photo and share the pages content but it also includes things like people "liking" your page. So its close to what your asking for Tom.

Comment by Tom Gorham on October 18, 2011 at 9:04pm
Aside from all the fancy words and promotions, which I appreciate, what I want to know is how can we measure this?  This is true word-of-mouth marketing at its best.  Is there yet any software that allows you to know when someone mentions you on Facebook or re-posts a pic that you put there?
Comment by Brian Pasch on October 18, 2011 at 6:02pm


Thanks for the props and I attempt to always practice what I preach.  I am a firm believer in personal branding and leveraging your customers to speak on your behalf.   Paul Potratz has done a great job of personal branding, in case you haven't seen his banners yet. :)


JD, your session last year at DMSC was truly an eye opener.  Your simple reminder to ask the customer to use THEIR phone to take a video or photo is priceless.  


This year, we have DMSC scheduled just before NADA in Las Vegas.  The dates are Feb 1-3rd and ADM members can save $300 if they register by 10/31.  NADA starts Feb 3rd in the afternoon so you can attend both events without conflict.


We have a number of ADM members on the agenda to speak including Ralph Raglia who is doing two workshops.  One is entitled "How To Advertise, Screen, and Hire The Right People For Your Internet Centric Dealership" will be a high demand event so we will do it for the entire conference crowd in the Monte Carlo theatre.  Ralph will have some great help from a panel of experts as well.


We also have industry leaders and dealer practitioners that include Rob Fontano, Dennis Galbraith, Matt Muilenburg, Judy DeVere, Tom White Jr., Jason Ezell, Renee Stuart, Tim Martell, Jim Flint, Marc McGurran, Jeff Kershner, Cory Mosly, Matt Murray, Brice Englert, Joni Stuker, James Kovacs, AJ LeBlanc, David Page, Paul Potratz, Kathi Kruze,  Gary May, Christine Rochelle, and more special guests than ever before.

I hope to see ADM members in February and you can take a peek at the agenda here:

Comment by Tom Gorham on October 18, 2011 at 4:41pm
JD, I'm glad you remind yourself to speak about this.  It's one of the most basic reasons we are on Facebook and yet we often forget and concentrate on everything else.  What I want to know is how can we measure this?  This is true word-of-mouth marketing at its best.  Is there yet any software that allows you to know when someone mentions you on Facebook or re-posts a pic that you put there?
Comment by Anthony (Tony) J. Gauntner on October 18, 2011 at 3:52pm

JD..super article. When someone boasts about their recent experience on their own Facebook page in a glowing & positivie way, this generates instant-genuine credability for the dealership. Also, what a great way to earn another goodwill ambassador for the delaers image & reputation and we all know how difficult that can be.

Comment by Dan Weik (pronounced wick) on October 18, 2011 at 3:50pm

Great read JD:

"Social Proof" of who you are and what you do is the easiest way to dominate your market place, just look at Brian Pasch as example.. Unless you've been living on the moon, you know who he is 'as example!' Why?


Brand yourself as a professional in your industry and reap the benefits of a top producer and leader!

Consumers love to do business with "top producers" & "market leaders" right or wrong?  This is because confidence exudes from their being and you know that person knows exactly what they are talking about bottom line...




Ralph, the only reason I didn't mention you "as example" is because ADM is your baby and who doesn't know "The Man, The Myth, The Legend, Ralph Paglia" l.o.l.  Cheers~

Comment by David Johnson on October 18, 2011 at 3:22pm
Very valid point JD! I like to point out that there are three types of connections that must be formed before you can have a truly engaged community. They are community/employee, employee/employee and the most important community/community, which you spoke about in the post.

Earlier this year I created a video (in an empty room so there is a bit of an echo) showing salespeople how to connect with their customers on Facebook, while at the same time using the law of reciprocation, to start a conversation on their wall.

You can see it here:

Comment by David Alpern on October 18, 2011 at 3:20pm
Viral is good, and leveraging a customer's social media network, as you suggest, is absolutely a plus. One point I thought you were going to make, and it ties in to the picture you chose on this page is "Advice", which means rather than using social media to sell, use your social media to provide useful advice that people will value and appreciate and possibly spread with others.
Comment by Christine Rochelle on October 18, 2011 at 3:19pm
Great points, JD. Dealers need to take a note from Google+1 to see how having an online presence means being TRULY connected.

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