In 1985, I worked for a large Nissan dealership in the San Fernando Valley. My friend (who also worked there) and I volunteered to fly into Canada and purchase the then cutting-edge for our boss, the dealer. He was trying to impress Hyundai hoping they would award him a coveted dealer franchise. He had a proven track-record of success and owning the Hyundai franchise would have made him millions.
We flew to Canada, bought the car and, over the next 3 days, we drove it back to the dealership. With the purchase of the car they gave us a very large stuffed pony that rode with us all the way home. It was a great road trip and the dealer was ecstatic because he was sure this was going to gain him favor with Hyundai. He’d been bending over backwards to impress them and was convinced this was a winning strategy. Unfortunately, Hyundai didn’t see it that way and awarded the franchise to someone else.
Thinking about this story, it struck me how the dealer’s strategy to woo Hyundai is similar to how some dealerships today are going about utilizing Social Media. They know they need it and want to sell cars from it but they’re turning to their staff to carry out the mission.
It might seem like an easy solution to have someone in the store handle Social Media, but choose wisely. Typically, employees at the store who know how to use Facebook or Twitter, know how to use these tools for personal reasons. Establishing your marketing strategy, engaging online with the customer and building the store’s online reputation is asking more of them than they might be capable of.
The optimal solution is to enlist an expert to keep your finger on the pulse of Social Media. Work with a quality Social Media agency that understands auto dealers through hands-on experience who can help you define your online strategy. A partner who can measure the results of that strategy regularly to achieve your sales goals.
Or not. It’s only the dealership’s credibility, profitability and reputation that are at stake. Social Media is a fantastic tool to sell cars. Don’t get left out in the cold with nothing to show for your efforts except a stuffed pony.