By: Mike “The Car Guy” Correra

A few weeks ago I was ranting about dealership senior management needing to be aware of who at their store is posting to social media on their behalf and know how to take it over should the employee leave. This concern goes along with an issue I made a comment about on Facebook some time ago about 3rd party postings. I know that the idea of having a ‘professional’ agency do all the social posting for your store seems like a simple fix on the surface. None of your employees will be wasting time on Facebook, Twitter and Google +, there will be consistency of posts and you can focus on what’s important like the next weekends newspaper ad! There seems to be no end to the number of companies offering their social media prowess and a couple are even working directly with OEM’s and get some leverage when offered in a bundle with other services the manufactures pressure us into ‘considering’! My rant about 3rd party postings stemmed from seeing the very same, generic and bland, post on 13 different Ford dealers Twitter feeds! Now I fully understand that the average car shopper my not be watching the feed of as many car dealers as I do but c’mon!!!………

If a person should happen to be a fan of just a couple, doesn’t seeing the identical post send the wrong message? Being active with social media can make your dealership DIFFERENT! Most of the time these generic posts ask questions like; “who has the best caption for this (silly) pic” or “does this sad cat make you want to see a rainbow on your way to work today?” I joke of course but seriously these kind of random posts don’t really build an online community for your dealership! One of the dealerships I worked for was using a service to post and I would always show the GM how my dealer/product specific posts would far outdo the bland 3rd party posts in likes, shares and comments. I could directly track three car deals to our efforts on social media but he would not allow me to turn them off as he was convinced that the factory looked favorably on dealers that used the services they recommended!

If you don’t feel like there is someone already working for you that you could trust to manage posting for the store at LEAST be involved with the company you trust to post for you! Most of them will email what they are going to post each week and even ask for tailored posts specific to your store to spread between their own generic stuff. I highly recommend submitting your own requests for posts. Take some of your own pictures and send them to be posted, when there is something going on in your community let your social company know so they can get the details and post it to help spread the word and you will be surprised at the engagement you will start to see. Who knows, as you watch your online community grow you may want to manage it for yourself and have your own staff get involved… it could happen! Just remember, social media can help you engage with your customers, both new and old, where THEY are online. Its not just another way for you to blast your low prices or what’s new on the lot today or worse, post the same tired old picture of a fluffy kitten fast asleep in the jaws of an alligator!

Have fun with your social efforts, be a little crazy and it will pay off.

Bio: Driven by a passion to make the car business a better place I have assisted dealers with developing sales teams that use today’s technology to attract and interact with today’s automotive shoppers. I have helped dealers create and manage their digital brands with a focus on social engagement and increasing digital visibility. With 28 years of progressive advancement in the retail automotive industry I speak the language of dealers while keeping an eye on changing technologies and an open mind for whats next.

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3 Responses

  1. You’re absolutely right about the copy-and-paste vendors being a terrible approach to social, sales, and automotive in general. They make their dealership clients look lazy and uncaring. Dealers should be involved with their social media vendors: give direction, integrate social with the rest of their marketing, keep them informed of store events, and appoint someone inside the store that is responsible for these efforts.
    Keep doing what you’re doing and helping dealers navigate the waters of social media.

    1. Totally agree Nathan, one of the many reasons I follow you and have enjoyed working with you sir is that you get it! Many folks have asked why I am ‘anti vendor’ and I always explain that I am actually anti ‘phoning it in’ by vendors! The only way they can get away with it though is because still so many GM’s and leaders aren’t as deeply involved with their stores online presence as they are in putting together next weekends magic newspaper ad! If you aren’t online you cant inspect what you expect therefore… you cant expect much! My goal in speaking at Digital Dealer is to help some folks go back to their store with a better understanding of digital so that they can get more involved and maybe even take back control of their brand! 😉

  2. Nate Wiener

    Amen, brother. It’s even worse when the 3rd party vendor promulgating this cookie cutter garbage for multiple dealers has the blessing of the OEM. The only thing worse than being blind is being able to see, yet choosing not to.

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