Automotive Digital Marketing

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Did you know that you could find car shoppers using Twitter? Well now you do! In this short video I will show you how to use Twitter to locate people near you that are in the market for a new car.

Use this information wisely by NOT trying to pitch yourself, we all hate that. Always remember that in order to use social media effectively, that you must build relationships before you earn the right to pitch.

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SEO Tags:, Twitter, media, social
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Comment by David Johnson on March 1, 2010 at 5:54am
Funny you should say that because I created a video about that a while back as well. I show dealers how to use a few different free resources.

Comment by AndrewBarter on March 1, 2010 at 12:16am

This is also one of the ways you can maintain your online reputation. Use the same technique and set up a feed for all you dealerships, domains and aliases. When some complains about you via twitter you will know and be able to engage with the customer quickly and directly...

Great tip...
Comment by David Johnson on February 22, 2010 at 2:34pm
@Steve - While your take on this is totally understandable I feel it's in the best interest of the dealership to grab as many sales as they can from any and every way they can. It's up to the individual dealer to decide where and how to allot the man power but there ARE people raising their hands, it's our duty to work the deal. Of course its a different approach than most, but one that should be worked none the less. Going back to what I said in a previous comment, the one you quoted me on, I feel that a dealerships social media endeavors will pay bigger dividends if they hire somebody (or more) to handle everything social media. In one of my social media workshops I had an attendee that was the "community liaison" of the dealership.

@Ralph I concur! I remember when I took over the internet department at the dealership I was working at, at the time. I got the position because I was the only salesman on the floor that understood anything about computers, but times are changing (have changed) and the sales person that knows nothing about computers, the internet, or social media is costing the dealer money every time they work a customer who does.

@Tom Good news! Make sure to save the feed so that you will get an alert the moment somebody says anything about car shopping. Of course, play with the terms a bit, see what you can come up with. You should even see what people are saying about your dealership, if anything. What about your competition? Play with it, you would be surprised at what you can find.
Comment by Ralph Paglia on February 22, 2010 at 8:27am
@Steve - One thing I have noticed over the past couple of years with ADM is that those professionals who have proven themselves over time, such as yourself, will usually see the respect their dedication to the profession has earned them reflected in the comments posted by ADM members... Usually. Anyways, I absolutely agree with your perspective and especially on the idea of getting some of these practices outside the Internet Sales Department. Quite awhile ago, back in 2004 when Toyota Motor Sales eliminated their eBusiness Department, I wrote something along the lines of Internet Sales Managers becoming the General Sales Managers of the future... Although I have seen some of this happen, it has been to a lesser degree than I expected. The reality is that with over 90% of all consumers using web based information sources, such as Facebook, Google, dealer websites, OEM websites and others to determine what car they will buy and where they will buy it, the concept of the Internet Sales Department as some 2 office former broom closet behind the parts department has long been obsolete.

The best sales departments of this new decade will be those where web based customer communication systems and their use are intertwined within the sals team's daily business operations culture and practices. Personally, I think the situation of the last ten years should be reversed... The handful of sales people who are not web savvy should be the ones occupying the broom closets converted to sales offices! They would then be brought out to ONLY take care of the handful of customers who are either their previous sales or did not use the web to research cars and dealerships... A busy dealership should get at least 10 or 20 of those a month! (sic)

All we need to do is take a look within our own culture as automotive retail professionals... The best performers are sharpening their skills and knowledge every day by perusing sites and communities such as ADM, DealerRefresh, DrivingSales and Kain Information Exchange to stay up on the latest strategies and tactics... Why would we think our customers are any different than us?

Besides all that... Mr. Steven Stauning, how about you posting your events in the ADM Event Calendar so I can feature them and send them out to over 5,000 people working in the car business? Additionally, if you would post some blogs or start forum discussions, I will feature them and make sure thousands of automotive professionals see them... I have always admired your pragmatism and consider your opinions to be of high value, so it would be an honor to share them within YOUR community... The ADM Professional Community.
Comment by Tom Vann on February 22, 2010 at 7:13am

Great insight! I just did a search and I've commented to 12 different people and it took all of 10 minutes. What a hoot! Thanks for the cool tip..
Comment by Ralph Paglia on February 21, 2010 at 6:26pm
@Steve Stauning - You KNOW I have a ton of respect for you, and I certainly do not advocate doing anything other than what you prescribe when there are hand raisers in the CRM/ILM tool queue! This twitter monitoring and search technique just happens to be one of several tactics that I have personally seen and executed on a first hand basis that results in the incremental sale of quite a few vehicles. I think whenever we have the opportunity to thrill and delight a car shopper that did not know we existed prior to our action, then it has a time and a place in our sales and marketing strategies where it can be quite useful.

Yes, blocking and tackling is critical, but there are dealerships that have the capacity to sell more cars than they do today, and they do a very competent job of handling their current level of sales opportunities. One thing that I try to always stay aware of is that automotive consultants tend to see a skewed sampling of all dealerships. Quite simply, there are more good Internet sales operations out there than many of us realize... Just because the last 25 dealerships a consultant has visited have all been dysfunctional in this area, does not mean the remaining 18,000 are as bad!

One of the most personally rewarding aspects of my primary focus area over the past 6 months is that almost every dealer it brings me into contact with is an exceptionally strong digital marketing performer with a highly effective Internet Sales Department. Usually, my first contact with them has been providing online advertising so as to drive more traffic to their conventional eCommerce sites... Certainly not something you would spend money on if your sales team is not converting opps into deals!

At first it struck me as an odd coincidence and then I started realizing that although the dealers who seek out assistance in developing social media marketing and reputation management strategy come in all shapes and sizes, most of them do fairly well selling cars using the Internet. So, by its very nature, the proactive outreach and active listening that social media marketing requires tends to appeal to dealers who happen to have a very solid Internet Sales Management team in place. I just never realized how many truly good Internet Sales operations are out there until I was drawn into the social media marketing segment at the request of an OEM client.

Steve - Think of this analogy; Ten years ago when I was advocating and building multiple websites for dealers, and started calling them "Microsites", and in the late 90's when I started buying up all sorts of automotive URL's containing search-friendly keywords, I took a lot of criticism, but the Ourisman's, Koons's, Sheehy's, Rich Ford's, Sterling McCall's and Red McComb's of the world saw that it worked, and worked very well.... Today, there are far fewer people who will argue with me about the value of microsites, their SEO impact and the use of multiple search term enriched URL's as being a "Best Practice". In many ways, the social media space reminds me of ten years ago and my heresy at suggesting that one website was not enough to give a dealer an advantage in online marketing.

I have implemented HUNDREDS of social media accounts and profiles for dealers, and there has been no negatives to this strategy... Including monitoring Twitter for buyers.... None of these stores have gone out of business, and the only thing I have seen is increasing total sales from these dealerships, in many cases propelling them to top ranking in their respective OEM regions. So, what's the harm is making a few customers squeel with delight and buy a few cars without getting the lowest possible price quotes or focusing on price more than value of their relationship with the person they are working with??? I know it won't be too many dealers, because these social media deals are like selling cars by accident... It is not done "on purpose" and we certainly do not have any time for t
Comment by David Johnson on February 21, 2010 at 1:32pm
You're right, it doesn't. It's just one piece of a much bigger pie and more of a way to show dealers that people do talk about car shopping in social networks. In fact you can find people tweeting while their sitting in a dealership waiting for service, it really is an eye opener.

But to answer your question I would say that the most important thing with social media, in sales in general really, is to put the customer before the sale. What I mean by that is you should approach these people with the mentality of helping them, not the mentality of selling them. For instance, you could write a report on how to buy a car, it doesn't have to be long but it can have things in there about finding a car online, questions to ask a sales person, things to look out for, the value of a aftermarket warranty or Gap Insurance.

The idea is to make it customer centric and don't pitch yourself in the report. Of course you should have a soft call to action at the end that says something along the lines of, "If you want to forgo the hassle and work with a dealership that ALWAYS puts the customer before the sale then shoot me at email at ___________."

After writing the report put it up for free download, I wouldn't even ask for an email address first, just give it to them. As you can see my approach would be from the angle of the customer, putting myself on their side and offer my services as an advisor. This whole process really sets you apart and when you see somebody mentioning that they are car shopping, just send them a link with a note that says something along the lines of, "Free report on car shopping, no strings attached."

Of course this is just one aspect of Social Media, and one way to approach this type of situation, what are your thoughts?

Comment by David Alpern on February 21, 2010 at 12:51pm
David...Your video covers the discovery side, but what about the action? Many people are not open to being direct messaged on Twitter, or simply do not respond. Most people do not provide contact information in their bio, so even though this technique may make one aware of a local prospect that is in-market, it does not facilitate how to actually engage with them directly. Thoughts?
Comment by Glen Garvin on February 21, 2010 at 12:30pm
Great point(s), Steve, but there is an opportunity here to cherry pick some new potential customers and if the message is right and helpful, no one will see it as cyber stalking.

No doubt that dealers often chase that shiny object and may not follow their defined processes but this doesn't have to be mutually exclusive. This opportunity can be mined at the same time the blocking and tackling are executed.

Comment by Roger Michaels on February 21, 2010 at 9:03am
That is a great technique that requires zero maintenance once you find the right query and set up a feed for it. I like it!

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