As a Social Media coach, I spend my days persuading people on the benefits of presenting yourself and your business online. While Social Media has emerged as a valuable component of your overall marketing plan, there are many things you should know before you decide to incorporate it into your strategy.
We’ve never been in this place before. Dealers and other businesses are accustomed to not really knowing anything about the customer until they visit the store in person. Mass marketing got in between that sales relationship and now, we’re headed back to how we used to sell before mass marketing. We have a chance to know everything about each customer and connect with them on a deeper level.
Transitioning has not been easy. We still have a lot of people who think Social Media is a fad. Many like to say it’s a waste of time. I thought I would share with you the top five negatives of Social Media so that when you decide to take the plunge, you’ll have a better idea of what you’re in for:
- Social Media imposes high demands on your time. Content (what you post) must be located, created, edited and scheduled for publishing. Discovering what your dealership wants to share and making it relevant to your fans takes a huge commitment because of the time and effort involved. Every response requires attention. It’s very difficult to consistently come up with relevant content; it’s a creative process that doesn’t lend itself well to automotive retail operations.
- Social Media requires specific talent that’s hard to find. Facilitating conversations takes time and a watchful eye for leads. It’s difficult to constantly come up with interesting content that your audience wants to engage with. There are a select few who possess a talent for listening, engaging and enthusiastically corresponding with your customers. Finding those folks is as hard or harder than finding a good technician or salesperson.
- You will lose control of some of your marketing efforts. Everything you publish is up for grabs. 98% of the time, you’ll have normal people liking, commenting on, and sharing what you post. The other 2% could be trolls. They could’ve awakened that morning and had a large glass of “Hater-aid”. It’s kind of cool to see your content being shared and customers advocating for you – which is the strength of Social Media. But if you’re a victim of haters or just dissatisfied customers, make sure you have a plan in place to handle them.
- Without clear objectives, there is no ROI (Return on Investment). I see many dealers using Social Media to create interest in their dealership but with no real objectives set in place. You must start with goals so you can measure how you’re doing along the way. Measurement is about more than just general “results”. It must tie back to your objectives. Then you can confidently say your budget was well-spent.
- If you suck in real life, you’ll suck on Social Media. Is your dealership ready for prime time? Company culture is often a “top-down” directive. Yet it’s your front line personnel who truly define your culture and communicate it to your customers. What are your employees saying to your customers about the place they work? Part of an ideal content strategy is to welcome contributions from your staff. Involving them in your Social Media helps them stay connected to you and your customer. I’ve seen amazing things happen with the rank and file once they’ve been given the go ahead to participate in content creation.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on these 5 negatives. Which one is a stumbling block for you? Have you overcome one or more of these and lived to tell about it?
I just published by book, “Automotive Social Business”. If you’re looking for guidance or just some expert tips from someone who’s living and breathing Social Media everyday, please check it out.