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Friday, September 10, 2010

Something to remember when using Facebook for your car dealership

More and more dealers are turning to social media to generate exposure for their dealerships. This has been a growing trend for years, but I would compare it to the late 90's with dealership websites. More than 10 years after the inception of online classifieds and dealer website platforms and there are still a lot of dealers who have yet to invest any time in it. A lot of old school dealers think that because they sell enough cars without a website, there's no need for one. I hear a lot who say things like "we tried a website and didn't get any sales," or "people browse websites but don't buy anything". This same mentality often translates into newer trends such as social media.

Let's take a look at Facebook since it seems to be the most widely used. Hundreds of millions of people use Facebook, and not just for car shopping. Of course there are going to be people who aren't relevant to your car dealership because they're not researching car dealers there. What about the people who are relevant, i.e. the people who at some point in their lives will buy a car from a dealer?

We've had dealers set up a Facebook page and a week or two later abandon it because no car shoppers have contacted them directly through it. To effectively use Facebook one must realize that it's a newer concept than what they've done in the past, therefore it needs to be used and interpreted differently. Take for example my personal account with Facebook. I have many friends who have accounts, and I frequently talk to these friends on the phone. If I look at their Facebook pages, some of them haven't updated their status or done anything on there for months or even years. At times these same friends will ask me about things that I've posted like "so I see you bought a new car". So what you may ask. The point is that social media is different, and everyone uses it differently. Just because people may not leave comments on your dealership Facebook page doesn't mean it's not being seen. Taking it a step further, some of these people formulate opinions on your dealership based on what they see on your page, and often times these are the people that are walk-ins at your dealership.

Social media like Facebook is much more difficult to track effectively, and just because you only see the tip of the iceberg from the wheel room doesn't mean there isn't a lot of stuff below the surface that can impact your course. If you're a dealer using social media to generate exposure for your dealership, keep this in mind. Be vigilant even when it seems you're not accomplishing much on the surface, because usually it's what's below the surface that's most important.