“Social media is not just about sales, it’s about your bottom-line.”
If you have ever heard me speak or heard one of our webinars, you’re most certain to have heard me say this. I believe it so much that I have it on the back of my business cards. Every opportunity I get to have the ear of a dealers I try to stress this point. Social media is not just a sales tool; it is a marketing/relationship building/reputation management tool.
Erik Qualman wrote an amazing book about social media entitled Socialnomics and one of my favorite quotes that he says is this: “Why are we trying to measure social media like a traditional channel anyway? Social media touches every facet of business and is more an extension of good business ethics.”
This quote speaks to two important facets of social media. First, trying to measure results which is obviously one of the largest challenges but we will be addressing in coming editions of this magazine. Second and more important to this article is that social media is good business ethics which is not a sales or a service thing, it’s an entire dealership thing.
Let’s look at a common situation that happens in most dealerships across the country and add a social media strategy to increase the impact.
Dealership Sponsors Little League Baseball Team
Most dealerships will sponsor a local team at some point or another. How does this process normally go for a dealer? First the dealer writes a check. Then, he forgets about it until the coach of the team brings a team photo to the dealer as a sign of the appreciation. Last, that photo ends up on the wall of the service waiting room.
Nice, shows community involvement which is extremely important for a local business but who sees this picture? Your existing service customers, the people that already love you! Let’s see how we can influence some other people and get people talking all while not coming across as a self promoter.
At that meeting where you hand the check to the coach, ask him for game photos, updates on the team, winning pitchers, star performers, pictures of the team training, after game pizza party photos, tournament and league updates; basically everything that is happening with the team.
Now you have constant updates and content being sent to you about “your” team. Take this information and share it on your social networks. Post about the home run Johnny hit and congratulates him. Imagine Johnny’s proud parents are going to be telling everyone they know to go check out the publicity Johnny is getting from ABC Motors.
You can also create a page of your blog about follow the team through on their road to greatness. Post a link on your website and this is sure to get traffic to your blog.
Invite the team to your dealership for a pizza party and autograph signing party. Treat “your” team like they are super stars. Again, every parent will be singing the praises of your dealership to every one of their friends!
Getting Other Departments Involved
What about getting video testimonials in the F&I department? Ask a handful of customers a month if they would let you shoot a quick video of them explaining why they purchased a service contract or GAP or financed with the dealership instead of going to their credit union. Take these videos and share them on video sites as well as upload them to your Facebook page.
How about getting Google reviews from your service department? Your service writers see a lot more customers than your sales people do, have them ask for reviews. Ask if a customer has a Gmail account and if so let them put a review in right there on an iPad or an iPhone with the Google Places app. If they don’t have a Gmail account, have business cards printing up customers asking them to give you a review on Google when they get home.
How about having Facebook day in parts and service? Create a coupon that can only be found on Facebook for people to print out and bring into the dealership on a certain day. Chose a day of the week that historically slow in the back of your dealership so that you will be able to handle the increase in traffic.
How about getting pictures of before and after work from your body shop? Take these and share on all your social networks. Create a page specifically for these on your blog. Put them in a slide show and share them on your video sites. Bonus tip: Every new car delivery says to introduce new car customers to the service manager, add the body shop manager. A lot of people probably don’t even know you have a body shop. Everyone likes to do business with people they already know, like and trust!
How about finding new Fleet customers through LinkedIn? LinkedIn is the number one professional networking site and there are big opportunities to interact with decision makers of companies.
How can social media help you hire better quality people? Quality people want to work for quality employers. Your reputation, how you’re viewed in the community, will play a role in some people looking for a career with your dealership.
This is only scratching the surface of what can be accomplished by incorporating a social strategy throughout your dealership. What are some of the other ways you are using social media in your dealership?