Friday, May 15, 2009

Car Dealerships and Facebook. Looking out for the Customer. A Message to Dealers.

I recently read a post that encouraged car salesmen to create a Facebook account and friend request everyone they knew and those associated to who they knew in an attempt to sell cars. Even if you didn't get a long with that person in high school...friend request them want to sell them a car, don't you?

I've been watching this type of bullying in the car biz for 8 years now. Social networking will be, for some car dealers, the same vain attempt that E-mail campaigns are/were for those that just don't get it.

Why are dealerships getting involved in social marketing? To make money. They can reach a lot of people at a low cost.

So how do you accomplish this without being a bully? Start with a stark realization that it will take a lot of patience and effort to master a good social networking presence.

1. Get Educated.
Before you create a process get educated on what you are about to dive into. It's really important to know proper etiquette, or you'll end up with less loyal followers than you started with. Good buzz spreads fast, but bad buzz spreads like wildfire. Start your own Facebook or Twitter account so you know first hand how it works.

2. Get Connected.
Become a part of the community who's goal is not to abuse the social networking privilege. Good places to start are websites like Mashable, and by joining communities like Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community. Remember, no one person or source has the magic road map to social networking success.

3. Create a good process.
Map out what your customer or owner's journey looks like out there. Couple that with your new education on what's kosher etiquette out there. Then, add good content that is valuable to them and worth them sharing with their friends.

4. Dive in.
Get started. Create a fan site on Facebook. Here's an example. From there, add as you feel comfortable. Don't try to sell things on these sites. Be patient, genuine, and consistent in your message, and add good content.

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