Social media is not a silver bullet

The process of building trust in a business relies on having the right people coupled with a great vision statement. It entails setting out the stall and having all staff engage with delivering the same consistent message and level of service at every level of the business.

With the increase in the utilization of social media within the motor trade it has to be said that many managers still don’t ‘get it’. Many truly believe that it is some kind of silver bullet which, when activated, unleashes a stream of willing, compliant buyers. They believe that the mere presence of a Twitter and Facebook icon on the website means they are “social media savvy” and don’t really need to do much else. These same people end up completely confused, demoralized and bitter when it turns out, quite quickly, that that is very far from reality. Then the mantra is “social media? What a complete and utter waste of time, I’ll stick to selling cars!”

In truth it is about a very slow burn aimed at creating awareness with an ever increasing audience and a new generation of car buyer who will inevitably use social media as a matter of course to research potential dealers and contemplate a purchase. Not thinking a few moves ahead and working out a strategy to connect with these buyers of the future could be a costly mistake.

The “can’t manage what you can’t measure” attitude which has been prevalent in this business for ever is potentially why the use of social media is paid lip service by many car dealers when in reality they should be committing more resource now for a return in the future.

Unfortunately in a results driven business such as this there is often an impatience when there are few visible results of a marketing spend because working out how much a lead costs to generate is the basis of where a dealer spends his money. Without leads and more prospects coming down the funnel the dealership shrivels and for that reason many choose to invest in the now rather than the tomorrow.

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One Response to Social media is not a silver bullet

  1. Branson Atterbury November 8, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

    Social media is hard work for any business. It takes time and effort and real skills to get people to engage with you … to be social with you. Otherwise, it’s just a load of shouting at people e.g. announcing offers, car of the week etc … Less than 20% of all comments or posts on Facebook or Twitter are replies, comments or sharing. That makes the other 80% push marketing or shouting. So, I would think very carefully before setting up those pages or accounts: what are you going to say that is genuinely interesting? How are you going to monitor it and react, almost 24/7? How will you measure success? I truly believe that Facebook has a huge amount of business potential for dealers to humanise the business and help people find you and engage but there is a lack of knowledge and metrics which leads to “unnatural” Facebook Pages or those that get abandoned once the dealer sees they aren’t generating sales a fortnight in. I would, however, urge all dealers to own their Google Places online and get customer reviews, use YouTube video on the website, get a website feedback form to allow the odd disgruntled customers to vent here and not in a public place and get instant chat on the site. These are essential.

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