Why Are Dealers STILL Not in Social Media?

Why aren’t dealers social networking?

social-media-bandwagonThat’s the title of an article I wrote back in Dec of 2007. I can’t believe  I had almost forgot that I written it? It wasn’t until I was digging through my analytics and took notice to a top referring site pointing to the article.

The title of the article was a little deceiving. I didn’t even write about why dealers are NOT in social media …

“There are many reasons why dealers are not social networking and I’m not totally convinced that all dealers need or should be social networking. But rather than writing why dealers shouldn’t be social networking let’s look at a few of the advantages why maybe they should be.”

Instead, I wrote about 5 advantages to dealers for leveraging social media. Interesting enough, these same 5 advantages still hold true today are have become the backbone of many articles about the dealer industry and social media found on some of the “other” social sites in our industry.

  • Branding and Awareness Opportunities
  • Search Engine Saturation
  • Build Link Popularity
  • Build Traffic to your Dealers Website
  • Interaction with the Public – Online Reputation

Our industry has come a long way since writing that article in 2007 (well maybe not that far). But the question still remains…“Why aren’t dealers social networking?”

Are you even convinced that dealers should even be focusing their efforts in this medium??

It’s still a great question, and one that no one has really talked about. Well…I’ll tell you why most dealers are not OR should not be focusing their effort on social media…

  1. Most dealer still can’t answer the phone with professionalism while asking the right questions to get to know the customers’ wants and needs.
  2. Most dealers lead response time is still over an hour on average AND when we do get a lead, most don’t know how to respond to the customer with relevancy.
  3. Most quit following up with the customer after 48 hours and then wonder why the customer bought from the other dealer.
  4. Most dealers still struggles with its “Brand” / its “Message”, a strong Why Buy from Me.
  5. It’s too much damn work and most DO NOT have “that person” to manage and take ownership of it.
  6. Dealers still struggle to fully embrace New Marketing and trying to understand today’s consumer.
  7. Most vehicles comments are still “power windows, power locks and A/C”.
  8. Most dealers have no email marketing strategy or better yet, have an email capture rate of less than 20% on the showroom floor.
  9. Heck, most dealers still can’t keep their Specials Updated.
  10. Your Reason Goes Here…

* Most of these dealers are not reading DealerRefresh, that’s another issues in itself (and another post).

The list could go on and on and I bet YOU TOO have a few reasons you could add to the list.

It’s simple..get your 101 on target before you worry about engaging the customer via social media. Social Media, when done right takes real dedication, time, care and finesse. Don’t ask “how many cars will it sell me this month” because there’s no report that going to truly track it to a direct sale!! Humm..maybe its time for your dealer to become its own “BRAND”.

What reason do you think car dealers are still not taking advantage of Social Media??

And heck..maybe you agree and are convinced that not all dealers need or should be in the social media game.

Jeff Kershner

I’m the founder of DealerRefresh. I got my start in the dealer business when I was 18. From there I've worked throughout several departments within fixed to variable ops. Whether it’s managing the desk, perfecting internet sales process or studying online marketing trends, I absolutely love this business and the challenges it brings. I’m currently VP of Sales for HookLogic, Inc. Additionally, I continue to consult to dealerships. My passion has been and continues to be helping dealers leverage the Internet to sell cars and improve customer service.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

89 comments
Jennifer Schrader
Jennifer Schrader

Jeff Great post! I was just scrolling around and come across this one.  One of the biggest reasons that dealers don't go social is the fear of not being able to properly do it right.  Which in fact as you pointed out above that hit the nail on the head which is still the problem dealers have today. 

Not having the proper social media strategy is where dealers that have gone social get hurt in the long run. Then that is the reason they don't believe it works. 

Just like websites, when not properly maintained by the dealer (uploading monthly specials, etc etc) the dealer then feels the website doesn't work for them. 

When I scroll through all the auto dealers on Facebook / social networks etc. I still notice about 80% of them have a friend page...!

Great post! 

Jennifer Schrader
Jennifer Schrader

Jeff Great post! I was just scrolling around and come across this one.  One of the biggest reasons that dealers don't go social is the fear of not being able to properly do it right.  Which in fact as you pointed out above that hit the nail on the head which is still the problem dealers have today.  Not having the proper social media strategy is where dealers that have gone social get hurt in the long run. Then that is the reason they don't believe it works.  Just like websites, when not properly maintained by the dealer (uploading monthly specials, etc etc) the dealer then feels the website doesn't work for them.  When I scroll through all the auto dealers on Facebook / social networks etc. I still notice about 80% of them have a friend page...! Great post! 

Paul Hassing
Paul Hassing

Nice one Jeff! (Thanks to @globalcopywrite for flagging this beaut piece.)

I've just spent a several weeks trying to buy a car, and the dinosaur syndrome seems to extend beyond social media.

Same dirty tricks, same old gender bias.

Interestingly, if one dealer had've sent a follow-up email like he promised, he probably would've got my business.

Not sure if you allow links, but if you do, our dealer debate is at http://mybrc.myobnet.com/2010/09/09/auto-destruct... Best regards, P. :)

Paul Hassing
Paul Hassing

Nice one Jeff! (Thanks to @globalcopywrite for flagging this beaut piece.) I've just spent a several weeks trying to buy a car, and the dinosaur syndrome seems to extend beyond social media. Same dirty tricks, same old gender bias. Interestingly, if one dealer had've sent a follow-up email like he promised, he probably would've got my business. Not sure if you allow links, but if you do, our dealer debate is at http://mybrc.myobnet.com/2010/09/09/auto-destruct... Best regards, P. :)

Trace Ordiway - Boardwalk VW TX
Trace Ordiway - Boardwalk VW TX

Andrew DiFeo said on October 8th, 2009:
"I’m in Joe’s camp. Before you can maximize your opportunities on your own website, I wouldn’t put a lot of resources behind Social Media…just yet a least."

The key thing to extract here (IMHO) is "...maximize your opportunities on your own website..." The deeper and deeper I get into this thing the more I am convinced that everything starts with the dealer's website - and that 99% of them fail at the mission they are tasked with accomplishing. But I'm sure this topic is already a thread somewhere on the forum, I just haven't taken the time to find it. We could go on and on....

Trace Ordiway - Boardwalk VW TX
Trace Ordiway - Boardwalk VW TX

Andrew DiFeo said on October 8th, 2009: "I’m in Joe’s camp. Before you can maximize your opportunities on your own website, I wouldn’t put a lot of resources behind Social Media…just yet a least." The key thing to extract here (IMHO) is "...maximize your opportunities on your own website..." The deeper and deeper I get into this thing the more I am convinced that everything starts with the dealer's website - and that 99% of them fail at the mission they are tasked with accomplishing. But I'm sure this topic is already a thread somewhere on the forum, I just haven't taken the time to find it. We could go on and on....

Andrew Baron
Andrew Baron

Hey Devin,

Lighten up a bit...

I think you are WAY too myopic in your vision.

Social Media if used PROPERLY. I REPEAT...USED PROPERLY...can, will and has proven itself over and over and over again.

I really just don't understand how dealers, assuming you are a dealer...(considering you didn't put any hyperlinked info when scrolling over your name), like yourself, can just with a wave of the wand just dismiss an entire INDUSTRY within an INDUSTRY...just like that.

Devin...here is a cold hard fact:

Almost every single person that walks INTO your showroom or lot has visited your site at least once if not twice. Oh and yeah they are checking out your competition literally at the same time. Some people even have spilt screens opened and view the sites side by side.

Bottom line is that a dealer wants to stay relevant for the next 5 years...this is what they need to do.

A few years ago very few dealerships were doing anything remotely close to Social Media. Even still today, many like yourself, are reluctant to do anything that DOES NOT bear fruit IMMEDIATELY.

Why are you guys so impatient? Search Engine Marketing, when done correctly, takes up to 1-3 months to show up by Google. With Social Media, you're impact is immediate. You are showing your clients that you are with it. That you are forward thinking. That you actually want to evolve with the times as opposed to being a relic of the past.

Will someone join your facebook page to read over and over again? No. Will they read your Tweets? No. Will they pay attention to anything at all? Probably not, BUT...and here is the HUGE BUT. By keeping your name and reputation out there and being in the forefront of your competition you are engaging your customers as they read their email, read their tweets, or check their updates. Your name stays out there. Think of it as viral advertising.

There are a million and 1 ways to do a successful Social Media campaign. The first step to making it happen is visualization of what is possible.

And now I get to pick apart your examples:

1) Train the salespeople, service writer, and parts guy to have a great attitude, smile, be fun, and LISTEN to the customer. (Think Southwest Airlines)

[Wait a minute...did you just say TRAIN your SALESPEOPLE? What planet are you on? Have you spent time in most dealership? Not going to happen. No incentive.]

2) Obtain info from all your very expensive sold and UNSOLD leads. Setup a great promotion that everyone will want to sign up with. Mandate the name, address, and salesperson name to be eligible.

[of course...EVERYONE...will just sign up. Poof! just like that. Wow, incredibly realistic scenario there.../sarcasm off]

3) Get everyone of your salespeople to send out monthly personal mailers that say something other than a sales pitch. (this is not impossible!)

[Get the salespeople to send out ANYTHING...good luck with that one. THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE! I've been around many, many, many dealers and sales people from different parts of the US. There is one common theme: least flow of resistance. Whatever is the easiest way around doing ANY work is chosen. That goes for any job BTW, not just the auto industry.]

4) Mandate that every salesperson sign up for Facebook. Train them on how signup, search for all their friends, and tell them to not actively try to sell something.

[Ummm...most of the salespeople are ALREADY on Facebook because their kids that are in college are on there or their wife is on there, etc. FYI, people don't use facebook like that. Facebook is a bit more organic in the respect that most if not all the people that are your friends on there are indeed your real life friends and family. Twitter is anyone from Romania to NYC to Timbuktu. LinkedIn is in a sense the formal version of facebook, but for business.]

Devin, I am sorry if I have come off as semi-crass, but you can't just knock an entire sub-industry that is literally changing the way business is done all over the world. I'm sorry, you just can't.

The proof is in the pudding, just open your mind to what is possible rather than what's in front of you.

Andrew Baron
Andrew Baron

Hey Devin, Lighten up a bit... I think you are WAY too myopic in your vision. Social Media if used PROPERLY. I REPEAT...USED PROPERLY...can, will and has proven itself over and over and over again. I really just don't understand how dealers, assuming you are a dealer...(considering you didn't put any hyperlinked info when scrolling over your name), like yourself, can just with a wave of the wand just dismiss an entire INDUSTRY within an INDUSTRY...just like that. Devin...here is a cold hard fact: Almost every single person that walks INTO your showroom or lot has visited your site at least once if not twice. Oh and yeah they are checking out your competition literally at the same time. Some people even have spilt screens opened and view the sites side by side. Bottom line is that a dealer wants to stay relevant for the next 5 years...this is what they need to do. A few years ago very few dealerships were doing anything remotely close to Social Media. Even still today, many like yourself, are reluctant to do anything that DOES NOT bear fruit IMMEDIATELY. Why are you guys so impatient? Search Engine Marketing, when done correctly, takes up to 1-3 months to show up by Google. With Social Media, you're impact is immediate. You are showing your clients that you are with it. That you are forward thinking. That you actually want to evolve with the times as opposed to being a relic of the past. Will someone join your facebook page to read over and over again? No. Will they read your Tweets? No. Will they pay attention to anything at all? Probably not, BUT...and here is the HUGE BUT. By keeping your name and reputation out there and being in the forefront of your competition you are engaging your customers as they read their email, read their tweets, or check their updates. Your name stays out there. Think of it as viral advertising. There are a million and 1 ways to do a successful Social Media campaign. The first step to making it happen is visualization of what is possible. And now I get to pick apart your examples: 1) Train the salespeople, service writer, and parts guy to have a great attitude, smile, be fun, and LISTEN to the customer. (Think Southwest Airlines) [Wait a minute...did you just say TRAIN your SALESPEOPLE? What planet are you on? Have you spent time in most dealership? Not going to happen. No incentive.] 2) Obtain info from all your very expensive sold and UNSOLD leads. Setup a great promotion that everyone will want to sign up with. Mandate the name, address, and salesperson name to be eligible. [of course...EVERYONE...will just sign up. Poof! just like that. Wow, incredibly realistic scenario there.../sarcasm off] 3) Get everyone of your salespeople to send out monthly personal mailers that say something other than a sales pitch. (this is not impossible!) [Get the salespeople to send out ANYTHING...good luck with that one. THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE! I've been around many, many, many dealers and sales people from different parts of the US. There is one common theme: least flow of resistance. Whatever is the easiest way around doing ANY work is chosen. That goes for any job BTW, not just the auto industry.] 4) Mandate that every salesperson sign up for Facebook. Train them on how signup, search for all their friends, and tell them to not actively try to sell something. [Ummm...most of the salespeople are ALREADY on Facebook because their kids that are in college are on there or their wife is on there, etc. FYI, people don't use facebook like that. Facebook is a bit more organic in the respect that most if not all the people that are your friends on there are indeed your real life friends and family. Twitter is anyone from Romania to NYC to Timbuktu. LinkedIn is in a sense the formal version of facebook, but for business.] Devin, I am sorry if I have come off as semi-crass, but you can't just knock an entire sub-industry that is literally changing the way business is done all over the world. I'm sorry, you just can't. The proof is in the pudding, just open your mind to what is possible rather than what's in front of you.

Devin Webb
Devin Webb

I believe that a "company" social media presence will be a waste of time unless it is really worked. Social Media is for socializing with people, not for selling product. If a dealership used SM to promote interesting conversations with their customers and never tried to sell something, then it would be a huge hit.

When it comes down to it, nobody cares about your business. They only care about and relate to the experiences with the people of your business.

For example, I just had some service work done to my Subaru. The dealer is part of a large dealer group. I was treated like a number instead of a person I will not be taking my car back to that dealer next time because of one person. I made a decision to not do business on the entire group because of one person.

There will actually be a time in the future where you won’t have many marketing choices. The newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, and even email are slated for extinction. (Did you know that many colleges around the country have stopped handing out email addresses to incoming freshmen? Have you seen the demo of the future Google Wave?)

I believe that it is very easy to have a profitable dealership these days.

1) Train the salespeople, service writer, and parts guy to have a great attitude, smile, be fun, and LISTEN to the customer. (Think Southwest Airlines)
2) Obtain info from all your very expensive sold and UNSOLD leads. Setup a great promotion that everyone will want to sign up with. Mandate the name, address, and salesperson name to be eligible.
3) Get everyone of your salespeople to send out monthly personal mailers that say something other than a sales pitch. (this is not impossible!)
4) Mandate that every salesperson sign up for Facebook. Train them on how signup, search for all their friends, and tell them to not actively try to sell something.

It is only after these four steps that I would even consider a “company” social media effort.

Imagine how powerful it would be if your sales staff treated all your leads like Southwest Airlines treats their customers.

Imagine getting the mailing information from every one of your leads and hitting them with a totally personal message from the face of your dealership.

Imagine every one of your salespeople just getting in touch with their 150 friends and the sphere of influence that your sales staff now wields.

Here is a question for you.
Why are 90% of the sales people in the country NOT promoting themselves persistently?

Devin Webb
Devin Webb

I believe that a "company" social media presence will be a waste of time unless it is really worked. Social Media is for socializing with people, not for selling product. If a dealership used SM to promote interesting conversations with their customers and never tried to sell something, then it would be a huge hit. When it comes down to it, nobody cares about your business. They only care about and relate to the experiences with the people of your business. For example, I just had some service work done to my Subaru. The dealer is part of a large dealer group. I was treated like a number instead of a person I will not be taking my car back to that dealer next time because of one person. I made a decision to not do business on the entire group because of one person. There will actually be a time in the future where you won’t have many marketing choices. The newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, and even email are slated for extinction. (Did you know that many colleges around the country have stopped handing out email addresses to incoming freshmen? Have you seen the demo of the future Google Wave?) I believe that it is very easy to have a profitable dealership these days. 1) Train the salespeople, service writer, and parts guy to have a great attitude, smile, be fun, and LISTEN to the customer. (Think Southwest Airlines) 2) Obtain info from all your very expensive sold and UNSOLD leads. Setup a great promotion that everyone will want to sign up with. Mandate the name, address, and salesperson name to be eligible. 3) Get everyone of your salespeople to send out monthly personal mailers that say something other than a sales pitch. (this is not impossible!) 4) Mandate that every salesperson sign up for Facebook. Train them on how signup, search for all their friends, and tell them to not actively try to sell something. It is only after these four steps that I would even consider a “company” social media effort. Imagine how powerful it would be if your sales staff treated all your leads like Southwest Airlines treats their customers. Imagine getting the mailing information from every one of your leads and hitting them with a totally personal message from the face of your dealership. Imagine every one of your salespeople just getting in touch with their 150 friends and the sphere of influence that your sales staff now wields. Here is a question for you. Why are 90% of the sales people in the country NOT promoting themselves persistently?

Haleigh
Haleigh

well. simple. they are lazy.

Haleigh
Haleigh

well. simple. they are lazy.

Eric
Eric

You’re going to laugh but I strongly believe that dealers are still somewhat skeptical of social networks branding their business online! Because their business models doesn’t support on-line efforts to “MAKE IT HAPPEN” have you ever listened to received calls from consumers inquiring on autos on line and hear what comes through phone very depressing! We’ll it is basics 101 dealers don’t take the time to effectively train their BDC/Internet Managers, Sales Staff to be in compliance with a process or procedures to = positive results! I see it every day in the field it really is amazing that dealers want to sell more cars via internet but forget training is the “keys to success”!

Eric
Eric

You’re going to laugh but I strongly believe that dealers are still somewhat skeptical of social networks branding their business online! Because their business models doesn’t support on-line efforts to “MAKE IT HAPPEN” have you ever listened to received calls from consumers inquiring on autos on line and hear what comes through phone very depressing! We’ll it is basics 101 dealers don’t take the time to effectively train their BDC/Internet Managers, Sales Staff to be in compliance with a process or procedures to = positive results! I see it every day in the field it really is amazing that dealers want to sell more cars via internet but forget training is the “keys to success”!

Alex Snyder
Alex Snyder

Ralph - Plug Master! I say that with a smile on my face, as I did when I tweeted it too. Don't ever stop because you'll ruin all of our expectations. By the way, I'm expecting a call soon. We've got some business to conduct!

Alex Snyder
Alex Snyder

Ralph - Plug Master! I say that with a smile on my face, as I did when I tweeted it too. Don't ever stop because you'll ruin all of our expectations. By the way, I'm expecting a call soon. We've got some business to conduct!

Ralph Paglia
Ralph Paglia

This has been a fascinating post to watch and the comments show many different perspectives. I especially like Jeff Kershner's summary with acknowledgment to each of the more significant commenters, and support Jeff's kudos and responses. However, I would like to pose a counter observation to Alex's original assumption... While two years ago there was certainly cause to ask such a question, today as we are in the last quarter of 2009 the issue posed by Joe Webb is far more relevant than asking why more dealers are not yet using social media marketing tactics.

The fact is that out of the dozens of dealers I get to speak with every week, it is now the exception to find one that has not had an employee or the dealer principal create some degree of social media presence with at least a blog, a Facebook profile and or Fan page, a YouTube Channel and maybe a MySpace account. To reiterate Joe Webb's point, and capitalize on the issues raised by Joe Pistell's hiring criteria, the real question in my opinion is how to create some sort of cohesive social marketing strategy supported by tactics that do not use more dealership resources than justified by the benefits received. I have implemented what has become an ongoing series of social marketing strategy pilots in over 20 Dealerships since June 2008, with each one a little more effective than the previous one as me and my colleagues get to cull the chaff and focus on what achieves objectives. At this point we are working with dealers who are selling cars daily to people whose relationship with people at the dealership was created and fostered via social media channels. The early dealers we first started with have become the new sales volume leaders in their respective OEM regions. Bottom line is that we don't know all the answers, but now have a pretty good idea of how to recognize and measure success indicators long before people start coming in to buy cars.

I will present details and KPI's during the Tuesday morning general session at Digital Dealer 7 in a couple of weeks. Yes, Alex, that is an intentional "plug" for Digital Dealer 7 in Nashville... I have also published a virtual social
media implementation guide via dozens of articles and file uploads at http://www.AutoDigitalmarketing.com that are free to use. We are all learning how to leverage social media and the lessons will continue to be learned for a long time. The key, this time is to pay attention to lessons already learned by others and then buildvupon them for the benefit of your dealership.

Ralph Paglia
Ralph Paglia

This has been a fascinating post to watch and the comments show many different perspectives. I especially like Jeff Kershner's summary with acknowledgment to each of the more significant commenters, and support Jeff's kudos and responses. However, I would like to pose a counter observation to Alex's original assumption... While two years ago there was certainly cause to ask such a question, today as we are in the last quarter of 2009 the issue posed by Joe Webb is far more relevant than asking why more dealers are not yet using social media marketing tactics. The fact is that out of the dozens of dealers I get to speak with every week, it is now the exception to find one that has not had an employee or the dealer principal create some degree of social media presence with at least a blog, a Facebook profile and or Fan page, a YouTube Channel and maybe a MySpace account. To reiterate Joe Webb's point, and capitalize on the issues raised by Joe Pistell's hiring criteria, the real question in my opinion is how to create some sort of cohesive social marketing strategy supported by tactics that do not use more dealership resources than justified by the benefits received. I have implemented what has become an ongoing series of social marketing strategy pilots in over 20 Dealerships since June 2008, with each one a little more effective than the previous one as me and my colleagues get to cull the chaff and focus on what achieves objectives. At this point we are working with dealers who are selling cars daily to people whose relationship with people at the dealership was created and fostered via social media channels. The early dealers we first started with have become the new sales volume leaders in their respective OEM regions. Bottom line is that we don't know all the answers, but now have a pretty good idea of how to recognize and measure success indicators long before people start coming in to buy cars. I will present details and KPI's during the Tuesday morning general session at Digital Dealer 7 in a couple of weeks. Yes, Alex, that is an intentional "plug" for Digital Dealer 7 in Nashville... I have also published a virtual social media implementation guide via dozens of articles and file uploads at http://www.AutoDigitalmarketing.com that are free to use. We are all learning how to leverage social media and the lessons will continue to be learned for a long time. The key, this time is to pay attention to lessons already learned by others and then buildvupon them for the benefit of your dealership.

Stan Sher
Stan Sher

Some dealers still just have no clue. A lot of dealers do not take time to read Digital Dealer or AutoSuccess or even visit sites like these to learn about best practices. Those are the same ones that are failing becausethey are set in their own ways. The few that are successful ad clueless are just plain lucky. I learned that you do not have to spend most of your day on facebook. To work it propery you only need maybe 20 minutes per day with logging in about 3 to 5 times to check out messages and make status changes as well as grow your network. This is what I have been doing. This is one of the things that I do in addition to the 1000 other tasks I have.

Stan Sher
Stan Sher

Some dealers still just have no clue. A lot of dealers do not take time to read Digital Dealer or AutoSuccess or even visit sites like these to learn about best practices. Those are the same ones that are failing becausethey are set in their own ways. The few that are successful ad clueless are just plain lucky. I learned that you do not have to spend most of your day on facebook. To work it propery you only need maybe 20 minutes per day with logging in about 3 to 5 times to check out messages and make status changes as well as grow your network. This is what I have been doing. This is one of the things that I do in addition to the 1000 other tasks I have.

Jennifer Schrader
Jennifer Schrader

What it comes down to is getting the right person and the support for that department to engage further into the social media / marketing / branding of the dealership itself. It also comes down to having the time to do it. I still speak with dealers that have the Internet Manager sell, take calls, respond to leads which prevents them to update their specials let alone their social media.
Branding is huge and surely should be taken advantage of. I suggest all dealers take advantage of this is as it is their reputation that is held in the consumers hands.
Great post Jeff!

Jennifer Schrader
Jennifer Schrader

What it comes down to is getting the right person and the support for that department to engage further into the social media / marketing / branding of the dealership itself. It also comes down to having the time to do it. I still speak with dealers that have the Internet Manager sell, take calls, respond to leads which prevents them to update their specials let alone their social media. Branding is huge and surely should be taken advantage of. I suggest all dealers take advantage of this is as it is their reputation that is held in the consumers hands. Great post Jeff!

Jeff Kershner
Jeff Kershner

@Joe Pistell Social Media = Self Media. True true – Could you imagine a day when you could be hired (or fired) according to your online social status/worth? LOL

@Joe Webb “If dealers are not properly using it, social media serves no benefit.” Not only does it not serve a benefit, but IMO once you start something, you better be on board for the long run or it can have an adverse effect.

@Jim Bell – Nice job with your social

@Chris “but the customers I talk to don’t care – they just want the lowest price.” I hope you don’t truly believe that. Yes customers are looking for a price but I firmly believe most are looking for a great deal / value. And when value supersedes price, then the close becomes much easier. Customer are looking for someone they can feel confident in doing business with. Do you perhaps sell Honda's?

@Steven “It seems all the car guys care about or at least discuss is selling them. The best chance to engage and get them using your new tools is through service without a question.”

Dealers too often forget about the fixed ops side and focus all their marketing efforts on sales. That’s a huge mistake, not only with traditional but even more with social. Keep your customer engaged with your service offerings. Less likely they bounce or opt out.

@Erika Thanks for sharing!

@Eric Thanks for the stats and comments. “The most engaged companies saw revenue jump 18%, while the least engaged saw revenue drop by 6%.” There is no reason these percentages can not and do not apply to our business.

Side note: This is not a plug for DealerRater (since they are currently advertising here) BUT..they do offer the ability for you and your customers to post comments to your face book page. You can also grab the “post to facebook” link (use copy link) and post it to your facebook fan page as well! I through an example up on the DR fb fanpage http://www.facebook.com/dealerrefresh for reference.

Another quick note to THANK everyone that has comment so far. We've seen quite a few new contributors..so I thank everyone. Let's keep the comments coming!!

Why aren't dealers social networking? Or share you success story.

Jeff Kershner
Jeff Kershner

@Joe Pistell Social Media = Self Media. True true – Could you imagine a day when you could be hired (or fired) according to your online social status/worth? LOL @Joe Webb “If dealers are not properly using it, social media serves no benefit.” Not only does it not serve a benefit, but IMO once you start something, you better be on board for the long run or it can have an adverse effect. @Jim Bell – Nice job with your social @Chris “but the customers I talk to don’t care – they just want the lowest price.” I hope you don’t truly believe that. Yes customers are looking for a price but I firmly believe most are looking for a great deal / value. And when value supersedes price, then the close becomes much easier. Customer are looking for someone they can feel confident in doing business with. Do you perhaps sell Honda's? @Steven “It seems all the car guys care about or at least discuss is selling them. The best chance to engage and get them using your new tools is through service without a question.” Dealers too often forget about the fixed ops side and focus all their marketing efforts on sales. That’s a huge mistake, not only with traditional but even more with social. Keep your customer engaged with your service offerings. Less likely they bounce or opt out. @Erika Thanks for sharing! @Eric Thanks for the stats and comments. “The most engaged companies saw revenue jump 18%, while the least engaged saw revenue drop by 6%.” There is no reason these percentages can not and do not apply to our business. Side note: This is not a plug for DealerRater (since they are currently advertising here) BUT..they do offer the ability for you and your customers to post comments to your face book page. You can also grab the “post to facebook” link (use copy link) and post it to your facebook fan page as well! I through an example up on the DR fb fanpage http://www.facebook.com/dealerrefresh for reference. Another quick note to THANK everyone that has comment so far. We've seen quite a few new contributors..so I thank everyone. Let's keep the comments coming!! Why aren't dealers social networking? Or share you success story.

Steven Moore
Steven Moore

@ericka great job on your page. I love it that you are not that OEM dealership and that you are the pirates in the auto biz. More hustle and personality than you see in the big boys. You are the type of smallbiz folks that I have worked with my entire career and feel free to follow me on twitter @smallbiztwit. Again love the face you have put on your dealership. WOW

Steven Moore
Steven Moore

@ericka great job on your page. I love it that you are not that OEM dealership and that you are the pirates in the auto biz. More hustle and personality than you see in the big boys. You are the type of smallbiz folks that I have worked with my entire career and feel free to follow me on twitter @smallbiztwit. Again love the face you have put on your dealership. WOW

Eric Miltsch
Eric Miltsch

@Jeff - Its still amazes how dealers, and even other businesses, still miss this mark.

While 99% of the people visiting this site understand the key tenets you spelled out above:

Branding and Awareness Opportunities
Search Engine Saturation
Build Link Popularity
Build Traffic to your Dealers Website
Interaction with the Public – Online Reputation

Most business owners either don't understand or "hear" what the this ultimately means with regards to improving their bottom line.

There is a direct relationship to the revenue generated by a company and their level of online engagement.

The results of the recent EgagementDB Study showed the highest engaged companies online saw higher year over year revenue increases than those companies who were not engaging their customers.

The most engaged companies saw revenue jump 18%, while the least engaged saw revenue drop by 6%.

Elements of engagement included:
Blogs
Facebook
Twitter
Wikis
Discussion Forums

Ultimately it all comes back to the bottom line. As time passes, it'll be easier to demonstrate the ROI for all of these efforts.

Nice thread Jeff.

Eric

Eric Miltsch
Eric Miltsch

@Jeff - Its still amazes how dealers, and even other businesses, still miss this mark. While 99% of the people visiting this site understand the key tenets you spelled out above: Branding and Awareness Opportunities Search Engine Saturation Build Link Popularity Build Traffic to your Dealers Website Interaction with the Public – Online Reputation Most business owners either don't understand or "hear" what the this ultimately means with regards to improving their bottom line. There is a direct relationship to the revenue generated by a company and their level of online engagement. The results of the recent EgagementDB Study showed the highest engaged companies online saw higher year over year revenue increases than those companies who were not engaging their customers. The most engaged companies saw revenue jump 18%, while the least engaged saw revenue drop by 6%. Elements of engagement included: Blogs Facebook Twitter Wikis Discussion Forums Ultimately it all comes back to the bottom line. As time passes, it'll be easier to demonstrate the ROI for all of these efforts. Nice thread Jeff. Eric

Erika Jones
Erika Jones

We have had great sucess with Facebook in our business. Our page has more fans than some of the large dealer groups I have looked at. I believe that is because we let everyone we talk to via email, in person, and over the phone know that we have a very interactive facebook page and it is a great place to view the pictures and testimonials of our customers. We even have the FB logo on our busiess cards as well as a Facebook Badge on every signature from the company email. We are looking at Facebook as a giant networking party and we are the hosts we invite as many people as we can and like to share information as well has have people get to know us as a company. Our entire business is about 70% internet and that is combined, Facebook and Website and other internet sources. Right now our Facebook is linked to the Twitter site, but we are changing that due to the fact that they are two different platforms and should be treated as such. Yes the salespeople get on Facebook for personal reasons, but they are also intrumental in gaining us fans, they have embraced the internet and as we tell our new hires-
We don't have an internet department. We are an internet dealership. We have embraced it and will use every aspect of it to our advantage. What new idea do you have to expand our internet presence?
They must be able to answer that question or they are not a fit for our team. We also don't have a whole lot of turnover. You are probably wondering if we can track sales to Facebook, well we have. We have gained a fans and within a few days they are contacting us via our webiste. This has happened twice in the last month. As far as traffic to our site last month FB was the #5 traffic driver and the #1 amount of time spent on the site at 22 min. Check out our FB page here:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=99092&id=92638243725&saved#/pages/Grand-Junction-CO/Intermountain-Auto-Sales/92638243725?ref=ts

Erika Jones
Erika Jones

We have had great sucess with Facebook in our business. Our page has more fans than some of the large dealer groups I have looked at. I believe that is because we let everyone we talk to via email, in person, and over the phone know that we have a very interactive facebook page and it is a great place to view the pictures and testimonials of our customers. We even have the FB logo on our busiess cards as well as a Facebook Badge on every signature from the company email. We are looking at Facebook as a giant networking party and we are the hosts we invite as many people as we can and like to share information as well has have people get to know us as a company. Our entire business is about 70% internet and that is combined, Facebook and Website and other internet sources. Right now our Facebook is linked to the Twitter site, but we are changing that due to the fact that they are two different platforms and should be treated as such. Yes the salespeople get on Facebook for personal reasons, but they are also intrumental in gaining us fans, they have embraced the internet and as we tell our new hires- We don't have an internet department. We are an internet dealership. We have embraced it and will use every aspect of it to our advantage. What new idea do you have to expand our internet presence? They must be able to answer that question or they are not a fit for our team. We also don't have a whole lot of turnover. You are probably wondering if we can track sales to Facebook, well we have. We have gained a fans and within a few days they are contacting us via our webiste. This has happened twice in the last month. As far as traffic to our site last month FB was the #5 traffic driver and the #1 amount of time spent on the site at 22 min. Check out our FB page here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=99092&id=92638243725&saved#/pages/Grand-Junction-CO/Intermountain-Auto-Sales/92638243725?ref=ts

Erika Jones
Erika Jones

We have had great sucess with Facebook in our business. Our page has more fans than some of the large dealer groups I have looked at. I believe that is because we let everyone we talk to via email, in person, and over the phone know that we have a very interactive facebook page and it is a great place to view the pictures and testimonials of our customers. We even have the FB logo on our busiess cards as well as a Facebook Badge on every signature from the company email. We are looking at Facebook as a giant networking party and we are the hosts we invite as many people as we can and like to share information as well has have people get to know us as a company. Our entire business is about 70% internet and that is combined, Facebook and Website and other internet sources. Right now our Facebook is linked to the Twitter site, but we are changing that due to the fact that they are two different platforms and should be treated as such. Yes the salespeople get on Facebook for personal reasons, but they are also intrumental in gaining us fans, they have embraced the internet and as we tell our new hires- We don't have an internet department. We are an internet dealership. We have embraced it and will use every aspect of it to our advantage. What new idea do you have to expand our internet presence? They must be able to answer that question or they are not a fit for our team. We also don't have a whole lot of turnover. You are probably wondering if we can track sales to Facebook, well we have. We have gained a fans and within a few days they are contacting us via our webiste. This has happened twice in the last month. As far as traffic to our site last month FB was the #5 traffic driver and the #1 amount of time spent on the site at 22 min. Check out our FB page here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=99092&id=92638243725&saved#/pages/Grand-Junction-CO/Intermountain-Auto-Sales/92638243725?ref=ts

Steven Moore
Steven Moore

@tyler here here 1st stop should be the customers you already have. It seems all the car guys care about or at least discuss is selling them. The best chance to engage and get them using your new tools is thru service without a question. How about linking real time updates on service to your customers that use twitter.. they will love it because more than likely they are addicted and they love to share the cool stuff ( hey they get it ) and will.

Steven Moore
Steven Moore

@tyler here here 1st stop should be the customers you already have. It seems all the car guys care about or at least discuss is selling them. The best chance to engage and get them using your new tools is thru service without a question. How about linking real time updates on service to your customers that use twitter.. they will love it because more than likely they are addicted and they love to share the cool stuff ( hey they get it ) and will.

Tyler Robbins
Tyler Robbins

@Chris:

I realize that most of the world thinks that car sales is the entire Industry..... but amazingly enough... get ready..... they actually have to service their vehicle every few months...

@everyone:

The various Social networking sites are an incredible tool for the Fixed Operations Departments... making customers aware of service specials, accessory promotions,etc. and in general just staying in front of the customers throughout the entire ownership experience. Especially for facebook groups or twitter or any of the "opt-in" choices!

Tyler Robbins
Tyler Robbins

@Chris: I realize that most of the world thinks that car sales is the entire Industry..... but amazingly enough... get ready..... they actually have to service their vehicle every few months... @everyone: The various Social networking sites are an incredible tool for the Fixed Operations Departments... making customers aware of service specials, accessory promotions,etc. and in general just staying in front of the customers throughout the entire ownership experience. Especially for facebook groups or twitter or any of the "opt-in" choices!

Alex Snyder
Alex Snyder

Chris - are you saying we should just give up on advertising?

Alex Snyder
Alex Snyder

Chris - are you saying we should just give up on advertising?

Steven Moore
Steven Moore

@chris is there a guarantee in life except death? Where are these people that just show up at the dealership wanting the best deal coming from? Thin air I think not.. Do nothing then and see if anything changes.. just drop all your efforts and see if they still show up love to track that program. Social is not the be all end all but if you are not going to get in the game it will just ignore you too...

Steven Moore
Steven Moore

@chris is there a guarantee in life except death? Where are these people that just show up at the dealership wanting the best deal coming from? Thin air I think not.. Do nothing then and see if anything changes.. just drop all your efforts and see if they still show up love to track that program. Social is not the be all end all but if you are not going to get in the game it will just ignore you too...

Chris
Chris

If you are on every social networking site, pay crap loads of money to have the best website, best SEO, gimmicks, do-dads, best this and best that - there's absolutely NO guarantee it will make you more money. I've done it all and don't see the hype add up to anything. I think people inside the business are pushing for all this stuff, but the customers I talk to don't care - they just want the lowest price.

Chris
Chris

If you are on every social networking site, pay crap loads of money to have the best website, best SEO, gimmicks, do-dads, best this and best that - there's absolutely NO guarantee it will make you more money. I've done it all and don't see the hype add up to anything. I think people inside the business are pushing for all this stuff, but the customers I talk to don't care - they just want the lowest price.

Gerald
Gerald

@Jim-

There are many services out there for doing your own press release with good results. Just FYI.

Look forward to seeing the new website.

Gerald
Gerald

@Jim- There are many services out there for doing your own press release with good results. Just FYI. Look forward to seeing the new website.

Jim Bell
Jim Bell

@Steven...we are looking at putting pictures up of our customers at time of delivery and also videos. We are working with our advertising agency on a release form for that.

@Gerald...we are in the works of getting a new website put together which will be active next week hopefully and will have all of our links on there. We are also going to have a youtube channel with walk arounds.

Jim Bell
Jim Bell

@Steven...we are looking at putting pictures up of our customers at time of delivery and also videos. We are working with our advertising agency on a release form for that. @Gerald...we are in the works of getting a new website put together which will be active next week hopefully and will have all of our links on there. We are also going to have a youtube channel with walk arounds.

Gerald
Gerald

@Jim- great stuff on the social front. I was wondering if you have considered putting your blog on your home page to drive SEO, or at a minimum, a link from your blog to your website?

Gerald
Gerald

@Jim- great stuff on the social front. I was wondering if you have considered putting your blog on your home page to drive SEO, or at a minimum, a link from your blog to your website?

Steven Moore
Steven Moore

@jim very nice job on your blog,FB and Twitter and it is nice seeing a customer on your site raving about your service dept. Great way that you are highlighting the service side- best wishes with building of your community. I am still looking for a dealer to use their fan page with a quick vid. of a new car buyer taking delivery of their car, and then sending him a link to it on your fan page and then let him pass it on to his fb friends- it would work better than just cards...

Steven Moore
Steven Moore

@jim very nice job on your blog,FB and Twitter and it is nice seeing a customer on your site raving about your service dept. Great way that you are highlighting the service side- best wishes with building of your community. I am still looking for a dealer to use their fan page with a quick vid. of a new car buyer taking delivery of their car, and then sending him a link to it on your fan page and then let him pass it on to his fb friends- it would work better than just cards...

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  2. [...] Is social media for every car dealer? Maybe you’re just not ready. Proceed wisely. [...]