I’ve been working with a large OEM on a Social Media certification for their dealers. These stores are all over the US and Canada. The thing that strikes me most of all about these dealers is that very few of them are prepared for the amount of time, effort, budget and commitment Social Media marketing consumes.
The dealers who have adapted are miles ahead of their competition. It’s funny, those who’ve taken Social Media seriously all say they’ve accepted the fact that the customer is on these Social sites and that’s where they want to be. They’ve re-allocated advertising expense over to personnel and hired a Social Media marketing manager.
In stark contrast, I was explaining the benefits of the apps and software available to facilitate content publishing to one dealer and he said, “Wow, $10 here, $15 there. That stuff adds up! I could make more by putting a billboard up on the Interstate. I know that works!”
This is the dichotomy happening out there today.
I week ago I wrote a post called, “How to Sell the Value of Social Media to People Who Don’t Get It”. A comment on that post (from Carol Lynn Rivera) pointed out that one of the tougher things to sell about Social Media is the amount of time it takes to manage and see results. Carol said, “Plenty of people still think their college kid can manage a social account because they’re on Facebook! And plenty more think that you should be able to set up a Facebook page, post a few things and make money. Selling the “idea” of social is half the battle – selling the process that comes along with it is the other half!”
Social Media doesn’t have to be a time suck.
Successful Social Media marketing IS a process. It should start with clear objectives and patience. You’re building and nurturing sales relationships. Even those who do it everyday say it’s a challenge. It’s best to make sure you have time to participate in engaging your fans/followers so here are 3 tips to help you spend your time wisely:
1. Set Clear Objectives. Why are you on Social Media? If it’s because you heard that’s where you should be, that’s not enough. For dealers and most other businesses, there are specific strategies to implement, depending on the platform. Ultimately, you need to create interest in your store and generate leads. Never lose sight of your purpose. Everything you do, every result you get, should be tied back to your objectives.
2. Devise a Content Strategy that Works for You and Your Audience. Whether you publish the content yourself or share someone else’s (hopefully both), it needs to be relevant to your dealership’s brand and to your customer. I typically sit with new clients and brainstorm on a “Brand Discovery”. We identify the subjects the audience is interested in and use that as a foundation in creating or locating content. This creative process is a main component to your success and it takes revisiting it regularly to be successful. Create a daily schedule (typically 2-3 hours per day) to brainstorm, write, solicit (from staff) and edit content.
3. Use Tools to Maximize Your Productivity. Once you’ve got the content you want to post, spend 30-minutes per day (or an hour so every few days) scheduling it out. The beauty of scheduling your content is that you won’t have to remember to post it in real-time. Save your real-time to interact with your fans/followers. Here are some tools I use:
- Hootsuite: a free Social Media dashboard that will schedule posts on the major Social networks.
- PostPlanner: a Facebook app ($15/month) that not only schedules content inside Facebook but also brands your content, gives you status update ideas and a wealth of content to choose from.
- RSS Feed: tracks your favorite blogs, podcasts, gurus, and search terms and delivers them to Google Reader or the newsreader of your choice.
- Google Reader: aggregates all your media in one place. When a new article posts, you’ll see it without having to visit each and every site. It’s like your own personal newspaper.
- Stumbleupon: a Social bookmarking sight. You can search for any subject that they’ll give you content on that subject. Once you find a great blog that’s relevant, you can RSS feed it into Google Reader to keep track of it.
Where are you in the spectrum of Social Media adoption? Are you an employee who’s using Social Media to promote yourself while you wait for your boss to welcome it? I’d love to hear how it’s going for you.