Are you blocking employee access to Social Media sites at your dealership? You may be doing more harm than good. Social Media is fast becoming the first place people go to search, interact, and decide to buy. Social Media is valuable for dealers in many ways: Marketing, advertising, generating leads, and supporting the community. It also provides a useful solution when looking for and hiring the best people.
The culture shift in the car business is happening right now. Dealerships are waking up to the idea that their customers are on Social networks and they see how engaging them on Social can lead to sales. The culture is still evolving and there are some dealers who’ve heard a lot of scary things about employees having access to Social sites. This post was inspired by a post from Erik Qualman (Socialnomics) where he talks about Social Media at work.
Let’s dispel some of the myths and set a path for a better co-existence with Social Media at the dealership. Traditional media likes to talk about scary stuff, especially when it comes to Facebook because that’s where everyone is. The minute you hear something negative about Facebook, you stop what you’re doing and listen, right? (It’s the old “If it bleeds, it leads” tactic). This strategy works great for traditional media because they think it makes them credible and you keep coming back for more (their advertisers love it!). And who doesn’t want to warn their friends and family about something dangerous?
It’s time to stop the insanity. There are 3 prominent Social Media myths I come into contact with regularly regarding employees at dealerships. When a dealer believes these myths, they do harm to their brand and their bottom line. They miss out on numerous opportunities and in this still-very-real recession, dealers can’t afford to let these myths stand in the way of attracting qualified buyers and outstanding employees.
1. “Our employees aren’t on Social Media at work.” Oh yes they are! They’re on their laptops & smartphones at work. They have access to their networks anytime. Embrace this fact because involving your staff in your Social Media marketing is crucial. Your front-line personnel are the people who greet your customers first when they visit your store, in real life AND virtually! Make it easy for your staff to communicate with your customers by giving them access to Social sites.
2. “Social Media impedes productivity.” According to a study at AT&T unrestricted use of Social Media sites improves employee productivity by 9%. Want more? 65% said Social networking made their colleagues and themselves more efficient workers. There is huge potential in leveraging your employees to be your “Brand Advocates”. Salespeople and Service Advisors can develop their own network (just like the old Rolodex) and keep marketing to them throughout the life of their vehicle.
3. “Employees will say damaging things about our company.” It’s a fact that automotive retail is one of the most regulated and therefore most litigious industries in the world. However, Social is a medium–a tool we use to communicate with, just like the phone. Do you have a policy in place to guide your staff on what to say over the phone or in person to your customer? Now that Social Media is becoming mainstream, it’s important to have a solid policy for employee use of Social Media. I have one that we use for our clients and I’m happy to share it with you. Contact me through my website here and I’ll send it over.
Here’s one more fact: The Top 100 Best Companies to Work For allow access to Social sites. Dealers who take advantage of Social Media and leverage their staff’s contributions know the benefits outweigh any negatives. Thoughtful leadership is key. You can stay on the sidelines, of course–it’s up to you.