Marketers are always quick to proffer advice about what dealers should and shouldn’t do on social media. “Have a plan!” “Post only between 2 p.m. and 4:15 p.m., and only if the sun is shining!” “You need to maximize your CPU, SEO, and ABC to get more ROI!” The abundance of wisdom is understandable: there’s genuinely much to know and understand if you want to maximize the benefits of using social media for your dealership.
But dealerships typically make 10 basic mistakes that cripple their social media presence.
After working with dealerships for more than 10 years, we know exactly what mistakes they’re making and how they can avoid those basic pitfalls.
1. Password and Login Amnesia
Most dealers’ Google profile was claimed many years ago either by themselves or by an early administrator who has most likely left the dealership. The same goes for their Facebook page and other social media sites. To avoid headaches on this front, make sure that the email used to set up the social account is accessible in case the account needs to be reset. When a Google profile can’t be accessed or changed by the owner of the account, then they have no control over its content or the ability to assign someone else as an owner or administrator. Not being the primary owner of your Google account makes it impossible to update your hours of operation, address or phone number.
2. Not Engaging or Posting Regularly
Dealerships forget that they have to sell WHO they are before they can sell anything. Customers do their homework. They use their phone and decide whether they want to do business with you before they phone you or walk through the door. You have to show your customer that your dealership has a personality, and that you can be trusted. There’s no better way to do that than by engaging them on social media.
3. Not Having A Designated Person Handle ALL Reviews
Did you know that every online platform enables your customers to find you and write a complaint? Or start a discussion online about your dealership? It’s true – and you need to be on top of it. Do you track everything that’s said about you online? And do you respond to what is said, good or bad? Answer the questions? No matter what a customer says on a review or in the comment sections of platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Yelp, DealerRater, BBB, Cars.com, CarGurus, Yelp or any other review site, YOU MUST RESPOND. Negative reviews and negative comments wreak the most havoc when a dealer fails to reply.
4. Only Posting Inventory
Cars! Cars! Cars! Let’s sell some cars! Dealerships make the mistake of only posting pictures of their inventory on social media. They line their cars up, making sure their logo on the license plate is visible, take pictures, and upload them to Facebook. They imagine everyone will see them and hustle to the lot to buy one. This is the worst type of post a dealership can make, because it usually gets no Likes, Shares or Comments. It also tells the Facebook algorithm not to show your posts on anyone’s feed.
5. No Buy-In
You need all of your staff, managers, salespeople, and family members to like and share your page and content. If your own staff doesn’t like or follow your channels, then why would a stranger?
This buy-in must come from the top and be reinforced.
6. Posting the Same Content on Each Social Platform
Each social platform has a different part to play in your overall messaging and should not be fed exactly the same content. If your customers and potential customers see the same content everywhere, eventually they’ll stop looking and engaging. When that happens, they won’t be served your content at all.
7. Not going “live” with Daily Activities
Does your dealership bang a gong when you deliver a car to a customer? Host cook-outs during the summer? Celebrate birthdays? All of these events make your dealership warm and likeable to potential customers and must be shared on social media. Going live on social media platforms helps to feed the algorithm beast that gets subsequent posts pushed to more feeds. Plus, it highlights your dealership’s fun personality.
8. Not exploiting your philanthropic goodness
Did your dealership participate in a charity golf tournament this year? Did you buy a table for the American Cancer Society event? Did you sponsor the Country Concert? Do you pack and create back-to-school backpacks for kids that would go without if you didn’t help? Do you visit the cancer ward for children and take them trick-or-treating? This is community gold that makes your dealership warm and likeable. It tells people that you support your community and appreciate being part of it, which in turn helps them trust you.
9. Leaving Comments Unanswered
Good or bad comments on social media are an opportunity to engage with your customers which, when done properly, is the chance of a lifetime to create a positive reputation. The good comments need to be acknowledged and thanked. Negative comments left unanswered are reputational suicide. In fact, negative comments tend to draw more negative comments, as customers tend to back each other up on their poor experience. Jumping into the conversation and acknowledging the issue, and even apologizing, shows a level of responsibility that most people don’t expect from dealerships. Surprise them!
10. Allowing Salespeople to Run a Dealership Page You Don’t Control
Dealerships love it when their salespeople use social media to sell themselves and engage with their customers. However, the mistake they make is giving up ownership or access to that page. If a salesperson builds his following on his own dealership business page (e.g., Bob Salesperson at ABC Auto), he can move on to the dealership down the road and take his entire following with him. When the dealership has control of the page, then it can limit the damage caused by customer migration.
Author: Christine Watson
Christine Watson is Executive VP of the most innovative and badass Social and Reputation Management Agency on the planet! She has spent her entire life in marketing and advertising in one form or another. She believes in the power of reputation management as a way to increase ROI! She specializes in complete automotive marketing management through innovative channels.