How willing are you to shine a spotlight on an area that you know needs attention but you’ve neglected repeatedly? It’s 2012–a time of change. There’s something about milestones that cause us to reflect on what we can improve in our lives and our business. Take a step forward into automotive Social Media where the spotlight is burning bright and the brave are attracting attention.
I work with some pretty brave clients. These are car salespeople who are like salmon swimming upstream against a tide of old school thinking. They’ve taken Social Media to heart and are building a personal brand for themselves despite the fact that their manager thinks it’s silly. There’s a gal I wrote about a while back who says, “I can’t make a living waiting for people to walk in the door.” She goes to work undaunted, making the most of her day reaching out to potential clients through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
These forward-thinking individuals have managers who are not in the Social space. They’re unwilling to see that the world is changing around them. They don’t use Social Media, they think it’s a fad, or they’re afflicted with the “We tried Facebook and it doesn’t work” syndrome. But refusing to acknowledge Social Media, will not make it go away. Quite contrarily, your customer is perfectly happy to talk about their next car purchase or their next service with your competitor. Social Media is all about sharing information so if your staff is using it to their advantage, it’s worth listening to them.
Take a chance. Be objective and open with how you view new media. Are you willing to see there might be a better, more profitable way to generate leads? “Push” marketing is not the way people buy cars anymore. Just take a look at the way you consume content: You fast-forward through commercials on TV, you listen to satellite radio sans commercials and you’ve got tools to block ads on your favorite websites. Your customers are the same way. We don’t tolerate marketing messages that interrupt what we’re doing. In retail automotive, we have to stop interrupting what people are interested in and BE what people are interested in.
I’m encouraged that more dealers are forging paths with new media. I get calls much more often now asking questions about Social business. Dealers have employees in their store right now who can share what they know and what they’ve done. Not everyone is a super-star with Social Media and it takes effective training to get everyone to buy-in. New media is technology’s answer to networking, referrals and word of mouth. Use it to build a Social community to mirror your community in real life.
A customer who has purchased from you once is likely to purchase from you again. Repeat buyers talk about you in Social gatherings (online and offline) to their friends and family. People buy from people–the purchase process starts as simple as that. Embrace brave. Be courageous, adventurous and daring with Social marketing. Open yourself to the idea that new media may just work for you like it does for everyone else. Chances are there’s someone in your store right now who’s working their magic on Social Media. They’re attracting new clients and establishing relationships in spite of all adversity. Funny how people are, eh? We always find a way to succeed.