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Are You And Your Dealership Ready For Social CRM? Part 2

As a recap from last week, we established the importance of starting to build Social CRM for your dealership. I feel there was some great conversation on how to get started; thanks for all the great comments! Today we are going to dive in to the steps necessary to get it off the ground. This is such an exciting time for the automotive industry and the potential for leveraging this new Social CRM can pay huge dividend for your dealership-- if you take the necessary steps to succeed.

I dive into the details, I want to share an analogy to help understand the connection between sales and social media. When I was just getting started in the biz over 18 years ago, I remember a salesperson named Warren who continued to outsell everyone each month (35-45 units), yet he rarely took floor ups. His secret was his old rolodex that he constantly referenced as a gold mine for potential vehicles sales. Some where pre-existing customers, others were people he had met through everyday life. Most people meet others and never think about building a relationship. Warren was the opposite; each person he meet would be a connection for life, whether they bought from him or not. If I ever needed anything, Warren knew a guy, and he would help me (or any of the other salespeople (AKA) his competition) improve their own sales business at the dealership.

He was a great man who befriended everyone he met. I think we could all learn a lesson from Warren's playbook. We live in a world of exponentially changing times, and tools like Facebook and others allow us to connect with more people, faster than ever in the history of time. Leverage it, embrace it, and build your sales future. Now, let's get started!

1. Set up your own Blog. My suggestion is but if you have more time, you can set one up on which will allow you more control and flexibility. Next, you need ideas to write about, so set up an RSS feed to scan news and articles that are relevant to the automotive industry, with a consumer slant. I would also set up TweetScan to scan for Twitter posts that might be relevant as well. Setting up Google Alerts will also let you know when key terms are mentioned online. An example would be "ActivEngage" as a key term; any time ActivEngage is mentioned, you will get a link in your Google Alerts folder, keeping you on top of the latest developments for ActivEngage. These tools will give you a constant stream of information that you can use to join the conversation by commenting on other people's stories, and also linking back to your own blog. The most important part is to establish yourself as a credible person who enjoys sharing information that is relevant to the topic at hand. Blogging can be fun, but it does take time and effort. I know a lot of people in dealerships don't have the time, but if you can make a little time it will go a long way to impact your long-term personal sales.

2. Set up a Facebook account for yourself and create a Fan page for your dealership. Remember the do's and don'ts from the previous post. This seemed to be a hot topic last week, but the underlining message seemed to get lost. The message was simple: just get involved, whether 5 minutes per day or 5 hours. The key is that you can build a network of potential people to do business with in the future using social marketing.

3. Set up a Twitter account. This will allow you to connect and interact with the world, 140 characters at a time. You can post information about specials, events, tent sales, etc. and also build a following of other tweople. Yes, I said tweople. You can use a service like Twellow, a search directory, to find individuals on Twitter who are in close proximity to your dealership. I still haven't found all the best ways to use Twitter for automotive sales, but it is a great way to distribute information and link Twitter followers to your Facebook and blog accounts. I also like how some of the automotive people I am following are linking more pictures and videos, rather than just 140 characters of text to the their messaging.

4. Create a LinkedIn profile and group. This is a great business Social Media platform that you can use to message groups and individuals who are similarly business minded. I have also found this to be a great tool for recruiting and hiring. In addition, it's a great place to network with other automotive industry people and get reviews and information about industry vendors. Using LinkedIn can really help you to build a network of local business people.

5. Begin to use online Press Releases to create buzz about your dealership. Now, to make this strategy work you need something that is buzz worthy and I could dedicate a whole blog post to coming up with ideas for that. The great thing about online PR is distribution and links back to your blog and website. Within a short time, you could have thousands of links driving traffic to you for a very small cost. This also helps create backlinks.

6. Promote your Social Media platforms everywhere. Make sure they are in all your signature files for outgoing email. Put them on your website with links so people can connect with you. Any place you market online, make sure you offer a way to connect with your blog, FaceBook, Linkedin and Twitter accounts. A key to delivering results using Social CRM is cross pollinating all your Social Media platforms by creating links from each of them to the others.

7. Gauge your Social Media impact on a monthly basis by measuring your blog traffic, how many new Twitter followers you have, how many new people are you connected with on Facebook, etc. Your job in Social CRM is to grow your networks every single month. You will be amazed at how fast it can work for you if you do it right.

Happy Chatting!


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Tags: Smith, Todd, active, activengage, automotive, chat, crm, dealer, dealership, engage, More…internet, live, marketing, media, social, software


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Comment by Steven Moore on August 26, 2009 at 1:01pm

There you go folks the platform to start with in a few easy steps...great post.
PS get a Flip camera and then you are ready to go content crazy... Pictures and Video of the dealership.. a secret peek behind the scenes, 12 sec snippets of who who at the dealership, and finally the car delivery to customers with a link e-mailed to them, placed on the Facebook page, the RSS feed down the side of your dealerships site and many many more... with viral button in all the places that make sense- to send to their network of friends and family. And presto a really engaging site and not like all the others.. I think folks will stop in their tracks.. Todd again great post...

Steven Moore
Comment by VJ on August 26, 2009 at 1:01pm
Agreed...a little bit and effort and you catapult your SEO with your Blog through the roof. When I started 12 months ago my BMW Blog everybody just asked "what in the world are you doing", and I just said "wait and see". Today we are scratching the 60,000 visitors mark on my BRANDED BMW Blog, and when you type some particular BMW searches for the Atlanta area into Google, guess who shows up. As Todd has mentioned correctly, when you are starting with your social media efforts, do it right - when you know that you can't keep up with your workload and feel pressured to post something, even when it is on Twitter, try to delegate topics to your sales crew, when you know that she or he wants to support your social media endeavor. Be aware that we have now around 350 different social media hubs out there!

Last but not least...Be patient, take off your HARD SELL shoes and communicate - the rest will come by itself...
VJ (a.k.a. Volker Jaeckel, The Blog Guy)
Comment by Ryan Lucia on August 26, 2009 at 9:38am
Great blog! Nice follow up! Two thumbs up!

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