"The guy that created our Facebook page doesn't work here anymore..."
GM/Dealer Principals who aren't paying attention to their own dealerships Social Media efforts baffle me! Look I know they have a lot on their plate, the car business is 98 parts chaos and 2 parts insanity, I get it because I spent thirty years living it and rockin at it! At the very least GM's should be aware of who is posting on behalf of their store and from time to time take a moment to check out whats being posted. Often times they will have someone who demonstrates a decent level of Internet knowledge take on the duties of dealer postings, which may be fine however it is very important that more than one person know WHERE the dealer is being represented and HOW to access the profile/postings. There should be a social media policy in place for the store and routine meetings to discuss what is being posted and how its working. There should always be a central location for the site address along with user names and passwords, perhaps a shared file even. Should the employee overseeing the social effort for the store leave and not share all the access with someone else its could result in quite a mess! Lately I've had the chance to speak with potential clients who have numerous social media pages that haven't been updated in MONTHS. Its also not uncommon for a dealership to have multiple pages set up in the same site, ie Facebook etc, because the person who set up the first one left and no one knows how to get in and keep it going. This kind of mess can easily confuse potential customers and also misdirect possible traffic. There should be a central place where ALL the listings, profiles and pages for the company are listed with user names and passwords and it should be kept up to date. I know for sure that when a salesperson departs a dealership the first thing that happens is they are blocked from the stores CRM and other sites they have access to, why would the digital brand of the dealership be any less important? Good question right? Your thoughts?
A post on Bloomberg caught my eye this morning, and yes I do read Bloomberg! It was about the rise in interest rates and how it could have an effect on auto sales. It made me think back over my thirty years of selling cars and remember times when customers hugged me for getting then the super low rate of 11.75% on their car and also of the advise I have shared with many new salespeople coming into auto sales over the years. Here are my thoughts on the rise in interest rates, what are yours??
Its almost time for Spring Cleaning and the first place for your dealership to start is your company's Social Media! Ask a few of your own employees if they follow you dealership online, and tell them to be honest! If they don't follow, that's a problem! Ask them why, it will be an eye opener I promise. If they do, ask them if they like or share anything that the dealership has posted and tell them honesty is ok that you can only fix what you now about and genuinely want their feedback. Chance are, they don't like many posts from the dealership and that too is a problem. Luckily, Mike theCarGuy can help :)
When a consumer searches online for the solution to their problem the results they see from the search engine are based on the content, how current and how relevant to the search terms the sites are. If your company is not active on social, not just generic lame kitty pic posts either(!), they likelihood of the consumer seeing links to your reviews is very high. Not many company owners like reviews sites but you know who does? YOUR customers! When they see many review sites listed for your company the WILL click and the WILL read! Its imperative that ALL reviews are replied to with more than a copy and pasted non specific response, it shows potential customers that your company is gracious and also willing to address concerns when they arise. Take the time now to do some spring cleaning, get into all the sites and make sure your company info is current and then reply to EVERY review! Need help? Call Mike theCarGuy :)
During my 30 years of managing some of the most successful dealers in So Cal I have developed a passion for all things Social Media! I have assisted the dealerships I have worked for in building their brand online, managing their social media presence and growing business with a focused effort to increase the store's digital visibility. I have stepped away from the dealership life to better assist many dealerships with the knowledge and abilities I have gained. Not some generic social media company posting the same, vague post for multiple dealers but a unique message for a dealership that promotes the stores culture and creates a community of stark raving fans! More calls to the store, clicks to the website and feet in the showroom; Mike theCarGuy :)
When a customer searches for a solution to the need that they have, your company shows up on the search page in two ways; in a paid ad at the top of the page or in the organic listing that make up the next ten lines. We know that customers are clicking the paid ads less than 50% of the time now so lets focus on the rest of the page for a moment. Search engines survive by serving up relevant content for each search, part of that is current and how specific to the search terms the content is. If your company is not active on social media with specific and relevant content, read: the same posts as many other dealerships that sell your brand, your store can easily be overlooked by the cold and heartless search engines. Review sites are always updating with pictures, content and specific info that often meets the search terms so they will show up strong and many times dominate the page. Your customer may not begin by looking for reviews but that may be what gets their attention when review sites are the only links that they see. When they click a link and see a good amount of reviews, but no replies from your company its is easy to assume that your store is just like every other car dealer and doesn't care enough to take a moment to thank the good reviewers or acknowledge the negative ones; not cool. Tip #1, get to work replying to EVERY review today, and once caught up stay up to date with prompt and individual replies not copied and pasted vague thank you's.
With a strong presence on social media you can be seen as relevant to the search by the search engines and have some actual control of the first impression your potential customers form of your company. Having your social media links show up higher than the review sites can draw the customers into your stores culture sooner and help establish trust faster than any review site. Tip #2, get going at getting social TODAY!
Not sure if you have the time to run your business AND get more active online? Call Mike theCarGuy ;)
To me the most often overlooked aspect of Social Media is its most obvious aspect, its social! I see such a lack of real social in so many auto dealerships Social Media that it actually drove me to open my own business, but that's another post... Yes, being on Social Media for a business means you want to sell more of your product but the sales are the end goal and still need to be cultivated through a sales process. Imagine walking into the local sports bar and yelling out, "I sell cars who wants to buy one?" It would probably not work as well as you would hope but that's really happening every day on Social Media. I was looking at a dealers profile recently and saw the post below, which some may not have a problem with but I sure did! First thing I noticed was that whoever is managing the profile for the dealership took a WEEK to reply to the initial comment! Think about it, if you sent a text to a friend and they did not get back to you for a week how would you feel? Next I followed the conversation and BAM! The second contact from the dealership says, "now that I know you actually want to buy a car send me your phone number so I can call you directly and harass the heck out of you!" Ok, not in those exact words but that is what the potential customer got out of it, asking for a way to contact someone when you are already in contact is just lame. If for some reason you don't want to engage with the person publicly and show other potential customers how easy you are to work with (???) you could Direct Message them right there in the site you are using, why ask for ANOTHER way to contact them? In addition, going right for the phone number seems like walking up to someone, saying hi my name is ___ would you marry me? Perhaps some engaging questions like, what model are you considering? Have you seen them in person yet? Great timing, have you seen the new reviews that just came out? Would be a more creative way to have a conversation with the person and then lead into and invitation to the store and possible appointment! There are as many great replies as there are great salespeople out there, and that is the problem I think. This dealers profile is not being managed by a salesperson but by a marketing team that may be less concerned with the dealer selling more cars and more focused on showing the dealer how many 'engagements' they have had.... Just my thoughts ;)
Lets face it, salespeople and marketing people don't always speak the same language and sometimes their different perspectives can become challenges for the business they are both trying to grow. From a marketing point of view I understand the importance of having a post laced with search terms and I can see how it will help visibility however the salesperson in me always wonders how effective it will be when a customer does find it and the post sounds robotic and vague. If the customer clicks out the company might lose the opportunity but the marketing company can show the company how many clicks they are getting! The one and only goal is to sell a product and traffic that isn't being served relevant information is just that, traffic. I have always thought it would be a great idea for the marketing team to work more closely with the staff actually selling the product they are trying to bring visibility to, and really take suggestions to heart and write their post in a more conversational and engaging way. Often times ego gets in the way as the marketing team will vigorously defend the need for search terms and key words spread through the post and salespeople will more often than not say that the post sounds ridiculous and simple. There has to be a middle ground somewhere that will allow business posts to be found in search and also sound warm, inviting and intelligent to the readers once found. That's my opinion at least :)
I first came up with the idea of presenting a new car owner with a framed picture of the car they had purchased after becoming a huge fan of Automotive Artist Danny Whitfield over six years ago now. I'd seen an oil painting of a famous horse that its owner had commissioned to commemorate his race victories and thought that Mustang owners would also love to hang a picture of their own Pony above the mantle or in their office. The first time I presented one of Danny's customer prints to a new Mustang owner the smile I got was proof that it was an awesome way to create 'stark raving fans'! Of course Mustang owners aren't the only ones that love to see their pride and joy in a custom print, I continued to work with Danny as I went to work for a Chevrolet dealership and my Corvette customers were thrilled beyond words to see their dream cars immortalized in a frame! I tried to take as many pictures of the new owners with their print and their car as I could, almost always they asked me to send it to them and they would post it everywhere, tagging the artist, the dealership and their salesperson. I lost count of how many prints I have bought from Danny now but the smiles are all bright in my memory, far and away exceeding the cost! As the sales manager at the dealership I would include the cost of the print in the car deal and the referrals, great surveys and simply awesome social media attention made each one pay for itself many times over! There are so many fun and unique ways to earn your customers fanatical following, if you aren't doing something different you should consider contacting Danny, now that I have left the dealership world there probably isn't another dealer having him create prints for the customers... just a thought! What kinds of things are YOU doing to create your own 'Stark Raving Fans'? Post some ideas in the comments, I look forward to hearing about what you are doing :)
See Danny's work HERE
See posts about this customer winning partnership HERE and HERE
Ok car biz, we need to talk.... about social
Social Media, Social Networking, Social Selling... all terms that have been the center of MANY conversations at car dealers across the country and Canada over the last year or so. The problem is that like many (some would say ALL) changes that the car business is slow to embrace, these conversations are years and YEARS too late! There seems to be so much focus on whether or not sales people should be using social media as a sales tool, lead generator etc when the real issue isn't a lack of sales people willing or wanting it is the extreme lack of automotive leadership that is willing to except that social is here and it isn't going away!
Hey there, I'm Mike theCarGuy and here are some of my thoughts about cars, the car business and sales! Take a look around, maybe you will learn something or at the very least find your self smiling, and if you do... leave me a comment so I know I at least did something right! Thanks for stoppin by...
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