“The mimicry of passion is the most intolerable of all poses.” ~ Oscar Wilde
There are a lot of social media poseurs out there.
I can’t tell you how many times a week I see great dealers paying good money for bad social media. My years of running dealerships compel me to speak up because I was once sitting in the same chair making these business decisions. I’ve never been one to keep my mouth shut when I see opportunism and exploitation, and you can bet I’m not stopping now. These carpetbaggers ride into the store, looking and sounding like they’re the answer to all your burning desires with social media. They make it sound great: “Just pay me $___ every month and we’ll have you gaining fans immediately.” Don’t fall for it. They harm your brand and they are harming our industry.
You can’t automate social media
Your store is unique, like a fingerprint. Your employees are unique. Your customers and surrounding community is unique. The content you provide your community needs to be that unique. That is impossible to automate. Successful social media can only be achieved with time, effort and creativity.
I have actually seen identical content from many stores on Facebook posted at the same time. Why? Because they have the same social media provider. I’ve also seen some providers buying Facebook fans (which come from places like Egypt, Sudan, Iran, Iraq and Tunisia). I’m pretty sure you won’t be selling cars to any of those people.
Simply put: if you want eyeballs (and fans/followers) you better be sharing something that no one else has and it better be awesome.
You can’t throw money at it
Contrary to years ago where we could advertise and people would walk in the door, social media is an investment in sales relationships. Let’s face it: we have to market where the customer is and they are on social media. This new way of marketing depends greatly on an internal operations process. You need someone to manage the marketing, blogging, listening, conversing, designing Facebook Ads and recognizing opportunities when they arise. Spending a monthly fee for “management” is better spent on in-house growth. No one communicates your brand like you. Grow your own. It makes all the difference.
What’s their Klout score?
Klout.com is a social influence measurement tool. Klout measures the level of online interaction and influence a person has on the topics they cover. If a provider is representing themselves as social media managers, they need to have the Klout score to match their claims. It’s an easy search using their Twitter handle. The next time you meet a social media provider, ask them their Klout score. If it’s not north of 50, run. Some providers don’t even know what Klout is.
Have they submitted a marketing plan to you?
Social media platforms are cheap and easy to set up. They’re designed that way. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube – they all provide you with a free piece of real estate. It’s your job to make that property interesting for your fans/followers and that’s what costs money. You need skill and experience to communicate what’s great about your store while delivering relevant content that engages your audience. With the new Timeline for Pages, Facebook advertising plays a major roll in dealership marketing campaigns. Facebook ads require twice-daily monitoring and tweaking. Does your social media expert know that? Who’s going to run your social ad campaigns?
Each platform requires a different content strategy.
There are many cool strategies on Facebook that don’t work on Twitter, and vice verse. Blogging has it’s own strategy and posts can be shared on different platforms. Video posts lend themselves better than written posts in certain circumstances. Does your provider know which is best? What should you blog about? How will you know if you’re getting results? You’ll know when your analytics say so, when your community starts interacting with you and, of course, when you’re closing deals or see cars in your service drive.
Many dealers say, “Oh, you can’t sell cars on social media.” They discount its value because it’s new and strange. People said the same thing about the telephone, the internal combustion engine and light beer. They see others fail and with good reason: their providers are doing the absolute bare minimum.
There is a very defined marketing strategy to social media and even though the tactics change often, you can generate leads and close sales. The caveat is you have to do it right! The bottom line is that if you’re spending your budget on social media management, you should be getting results. It’s high noon; do you know where your social media is?
Kathi will be presenting during the Digital Dealer Webinar next week, Thursday, June 28 at 11:30 A.M. EST, 10:30 A.M. CENTRAL, 8:30 A.M. PACIFIC on Facebook Marketing 2012 – ‘How to Attract Visitors, Engage Genuine Fans & Generate Leads.’