Social Business is what’s happening for 2012. Most Social marketers agree that it may soon replace Social Media as the label for marketing, engaging consumers, and building online reputations. But what does it actually mean for a retail automotive? Plenty.
By now, a lot of dealers have put up a Facebook page, opened a YouTube channel and maybe even dipped their toes into the Twitter pond. They’ve taken a look at their online ratings and realized how critical they are in the consumer’s car-buying decision process. Unfortunately for many dealers and other businesses, their Social Media has had a pretty weak run. Many don’t take it seriously or aren’t interested in what it takes to be successful. Many companies fail at Social Media because they make it about them when it needs to be all about the customer.
Those dealers that have embraced Social Media know how it transforms sales relationships. Sales teams that have adapted to the ways of the Social customer win that business. In 2012, it’s not going to be enough to look at Social Media as just another way to market the store. It needs to become the operational model. But before that can happen, it will be necessary to adopt the mindset of Social Business.
Last week, Michael Brito (author of Smart Business, Social Business) shared some excellent thoughts in his blog about the importance of adopting a core culture that welcomes open communication between all levels of an organization. He says the change in behavior happens only when we change the way we think. Included in his post are a set of slides from awesome marketer Olivier Blanchard illustrating an example of how a company (IBM) has transformed itself, internally and externally, to thrive in the Social ecosystem.
Blanchard says in order to define what Social Business is, we must first say what it isn’t. It’s not about just having a Social Media presence. Providing digital content and chasing fans and followers doesn’t make you a Social Business. It’s a process of organizational transformation that’s done in stages. You don’t have the luxury of waiting for the manufacturer to catch up. Things are moving quickly and it all must start at the top. An owner or GM who doesn’t care about creating a Social company will NOT accidentally create one.
Social is something you are, not something you do. You must create a Social culture from within. Salespeople, in fact, all front-line personnel need to be given the Social tools to engage their current and potential clients. Social selling involves listening, being human, interested and helpful. This is an immense shift from the way we’ve been doing business for the last 50+ years. The transformation will not be easy. This is the time when training cannot be an afterthought.
Social Business means everyone is connected and customer-facing. It’s customer service on a much deeper level–before, during and after the sale– and it’s how business will be done in 2012. We’re all consumers and we all have come to expect a certain level of engagement with those we do business with. Whether it’s our neighborhood restaurant, a store at the mall, or any online retailer, we want what we want. Car shoppers are no different. Set your mind on automotive Social Business for 2012 and transform your store into a Social selling powerhouse.