I just read a great article on PR and Social Media “Social media mitigates public relations crises”
. I have though a lot about what dealership or dealership group will be the first to have an online firestorm erupt around them. There have been small brush fires here and there. I was involved in one with a client of AIMData 3 years ago before social media got big in this industry. It was quickly put out with a communication.
Interestingly enough that seems to be the same tactic that many so called “social media experts” say to do, and I agree having used this tactic before.
The good news, if you find yourself being attacked thorough social media you can use social media to fight back. When doing so here are some good points to keep in mind.
1. GET INVOLVED
– it is our natural tendency as car dealers to ignore or dismiss those who talk about us, unless they get to the dealer. You cannot afford that anymore. My favorite saying, I don't know who said it, I read it 10 years ago on the wall as I was waiting to get my hair cut.
“Goodwill like a war…is won by many battles and lost by one”
If you don't get involved and communicate the conversation will carry on without you and you will not like the outcome.
2. Respond to the issue quickly and honestly – be Transparent, Authentic and Genuine (TAG) in your response and work to resolve the issue. Do not try and defend your position or debate the issue unless you have overwhelming hard evidence you can share online with the community that supports your position. Ford Motor Company recently had the beginnings of a Social Media Firestorm that was quickly squelched by Scott Monty Ford’s Social Media Executive, proof positive that acting early and with transparent, authentic and genuine facts the community will rally around you against the naysayers.
3. Address the heart of the issue – do this first, if you're dealerships is in the wrong, apologize and fix the issue. Do not try and deflect the problem the community will see right through that.
It would be wise for everyone in our industry to read and study how others outside of our industry are dealing with these social media firestorms some dealership somewhere will fall victim to this, you just don't want it to be yours.
If you have any stories of your own social media firestorm battles…please share them here. The point of these blog posts are to learn from each other. The reason I put “quotes” around “Social Media Experts” is I don't believe we have any yet this medium, we can all make each other smarter.
Hope this helps,
Larry Bruce (@pcmguy)