My entry into what’s now called social media was back in 2006 when I first joined LinkedIn. To me, it wasn’t a great avenue to sell cars through. I thought it would be a much better avenue to explore if I were selling copiers or other business to business sales.
A few months later, I moved to a Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep store and updated my status on LinkedIn. The next day I got a direct message from a contact of mine, saying how happy he was that I was at a Jeep store because he and his wife were actually looking for a Grand Cherokee. That was the very first 'digital 'deal!
Over the years, there has been a massive absence of car dealers who are really effective with social media. That has created a huge market for companies that are willing to handle the digital marketing efforts of dealers. These companies operate by posting, monitoring, and creating new content for their stores, at a cost of course. That cost isn’t always through dollars though, if you hire the wrong company, you pay with the loss of customers.
A few years ago, I was working for a dealership that signed on with an online marketing company that our manufacture heavily suggested. I was open to working with them and started emailing ideas and pictures to post for us, like they asked for during the initial start up. After many attempts, none of my suggestions were ever taken and soon I began to feel like they were ignored.
One day my curiosity got the best of me and I checked our Facebook page. What I saw was disappointing; a vague, generic post about an entirely different car brand! At the time I was working for a Ford dealership, and the post was for a Toyota Tundra’s payload capacity! I called the marketing company we hired and got an unapologetic answer about how it was an automated post that they had accidentally set to post to all their dealers instead of only Toyota store stores. Their help desk guy actually told me it was no big deal and I was probably the only one who would notice! With a little pressure to my GM, I was able to make him cancel them.
That experience really stayed with me, and has always made me want to personally handle the marketing for the dealership I'm working for. That’s not to say I am anti-vendor, however, I do believe that it’s difficult for someone not inside your dealership to really understand the culture and community of your store.
From selling cars from posts on Instagram to claiming listings online for the dealership, I have been able to increase sales, gain reviews, and grow the digital presence of my dealership with little to no expense. Through my experiences, I have also gained the knowledge to better keep our vendors working hard for our store and not just putting us on autopilot!
Join me at Digital Dealer 21 in Las Vegas on August 9th at 3:00 to help you better understand this brave (although not so new) new world of digital media and how you can jump in and help your dealership get immediate results from it!