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To Whoever is Calling this "Social" Media, Please Stop. You're Embarrassing Us All.

It's easy for us to take the high road and call it abysmal to utilize the strategy demonstrated below. We would never do it to two dealers, let alone dozens. We also understand the need to make a solution scalable for the sake of profits as we have worked for companies that need to scale to serve hundreds or thousands of dealers. With that said, it is still atrocious and should stop immediately. This gives quality automotive social media marketing companies a bad name when they pull this sort of stuff.

When Brian West from @FusionZONE Automotive, Inc. showed this to me today, I begged him to let me expose it. He cordially allowed me and now I can't really say much about it without spewing more vitriol than I'm used to spewing.

The justification that I've heard for this type of activity is that nobody will like more than one dealership on Facebook. This is a naive statement, especially considering the rise of the pay-to-play social media model, the fact that they're posted at the same time, and sheer silliness of the question itself. Some of the stores for which the question was posted were in south Florida on a day when it was 75 degrees.

Social media is about creating a channel of communication between the dealership and local people. It's about posting relevant messages and exposing those messages to potential customers. It's about participating in the community that is comprised of the very people who can and should be buying cars. To auto-post using an automated, push-button strategy is absolutely worthless.

Here's the post itself. Looking at the dozens of dealers that posted this content led me to realize that this wasn't a mistake. It wasn't a one-off instance. Every piece of content is posted across the board.

This infuriates me. It isn't just lazy and ridiculous. It's sad that dealers are actually paying for this to happen. It doesn't have to be this way.

Views: 1283

Tags: duplicate, laziness, social, social media

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Comment by Daniel J Little Jr on February 25, 2014 at 4:47pm

It is amazing what these companies try to get away with. 1 posting a week and we pay for that.

Comment by Alexander Lau on February 18, 2014 at 12:54pm

Pfftttttt, LMFAO! That just never gets old. hahah

Comment by Ralph Paglia on February 18, 2014 at 12:28am

Thanks @MicahBirkholz - At the time I knew we were paving new roads, but when I see what other providers are delivering today, I realize that what our team delivered out of SkySon was not only industry leading at the time, it would be even more valuable to dealers today!  The fact that ADP Human Resources saw the need to constrain our growth to our ability to hire and train enough SoMars was visionary on their part and reflects a lot on what the article above seems to lament.

Comment by Micah Birkholz-1:16Digital Media on February 17, 2014 at 10:52am

Ralph I just read your post from thursday on this thread! Holy nostalgia, it was an absolute blast werking with you on that project! It bothered me to no end when ADP-Cobalt didn't take it to the next level when we had the chance... Thank you for the great memories my friend!

Comment by Alexander Lau on February 17, 2014 at 6:34am

HA HA HA! @Manny! LMAO!

Comment by jaime Block on February 15, 2014 at 3:20pm

wow. That's unbelievable.  and really sad at the same time.

Comment by Alexander Lau on February 14, 2014 at 8:30am

@Brian. How can you not love Manny? I mean really... ;-)

Comment by Kevin Dolan on February 14, 2014 at 8:27am

Great post!  I love how social strategy is now built around - "How can we make this as easy as possible to do at scale?".  Glad to see this type of approach being called out- nice job. 

Comment by Alexander Lau on February 14, 2014 at 6:29am

I'm a member of both ADM and DE. I see duplicate blog post content being posted galore, but I don't think that necessarily hurts one's cause, especially if that content has already been indexed at the source / money site. 

HOWEVER, BEWARE GUEST BLOGGERS! Google is tightening up on it.

http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/guest-blogging

The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO

Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company.

Comment by Brian Bennington on February 13, 2014 at 6:06pm

Really interesting, J.D.  As a "soaking-it-up-like-a-sponge" novice, your blog made a great amount of sense, especially when supplemented by Ralph's extremely informative post.  I always enjoy his stories of struggle and victory, as his best writing seems to happen when he's writing about himself and his experiences.  When two pros like you lay it out like this, it's good enough to be "etched in stone."  Of course, Alexander's and Manny's ongoing "lovefest" is always entertaining and, more often than necessary, a real and welcomed addendum on any ADM blog.  (Hey guys, I'm just having some fun!)

Because I'm a novice and undoubtedly standing much "farther away" from an IT marketing subject like this, I often relate things I don't quite get to things I do understand (at least basically).  Comparing the gigantic number and various types of Internet marketing services (SEO, social media support, etc.), it reminds me of the auto industry in its first 25 years.  Any idea how many automaker there were in those early days?  And, how many we have now?  To say there's been a big reduction would be a wild understatement.  Those first years in the car business were a time of constant experimentation, ongoing development and an "anything's worth a try" mentality.  Sound familiar?  In the end, nearly every maker failed or were bought out by the "big boys," having proven unprofitable, unworkable or just plain bad ideas.  When IT marketing begins to "settle down," who'll still be around?  I'd bet you and Ralph could probably have a pretty accurate prognostication about it.

Considering the practices you've outlined here, sooner or later the "emperor will realize he's got no clothes on" meaning dealerships will learn they've been sold something misrepresented as the greatest "acronym-named" strategy ever, then discover it's nearly "invisible" ROI.  (Good analogy, huh?)  I predict the next three years will bring on a tough set of trials, not only for auto digital marketing, but for the auto makers in general.  The well-acknowledged 16 to 17 million unit "ceiling" in the US (and we're already at 15 million+) will slam directly into nearly every manufacturers' prediction of double-digit growth.  (A train wreck with cars, so to speak.)  Very likely the "7-year plague of incentives" will return, just like the locusts.  Things are bound to get hairy with dealers constantly getting hammered by the manufacturers for more sales.

While utilizing the best, most honest and creditable services should be the minimum standard for every automotive digital marketing company to insure their business, there's a type of marketing that could make a big difference in a vendor's survival when dealers want to "thin the herd," and while I know what it is, I'm not going to volunteer identifying it until I'm asked.  Thanks, J.D., for a informative, easy-to-understand post.  By the way, is there anything to the rumor that Ralph is going to be knighted.  You know, "Sir Ralph" has a nice ring to it!

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