Who’s responsible for social?

Posted on April 13, 2015

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“Car manufacturers including Hyundai and Ford Motor have embraced social media and spend tens of millions of dollars on sophisticated marketing campaigns. Yet many of their local dealers barely maintain a Facebook page.” – New York Times

… and I think that’s ok. Let’s take a closer look. Would you rather be a fan of BMW on Facebook or the cheesy used car dealer down the street? Sorry used car dealers. There’s just very little sex appeal.

While it might be more useful to me as a consumer to see what “Joe local car dealer” has on special offer for the day, as a status symbol, I’d rather my friends see “Gretchen is a fan of BMW” pop up on Facebook. And if we’re being honest, social is still about status. People like and follow businesses and brands because they want a little of the sparkle to rub off on them.

That isn’t to say that I don’t think local car dealers should use social media. They should absolutely use social advertising to target buyers by location and other demographics. There are a lot of powerful tools there – made even more useful by the money big car brands are putting behind their social efforts. If they can now target me, as someone who already likes BMW on Facebook or Instagram, and they know where I live and that I might be in the market for a car, those are ad dollars well spent.

In addition, you can make a case for utilizing ratings and reviews for a local car dealership. Dealers should encourage recent buyers to write reviews – on Facebook, Yelp or other review sites. While a prospective car buyer might not be interested in seeing a photo of the dealers or the balloons they’re filling up to help move cars, they will want to know about the experience other buyers have had. And they’ll go searching for it.

In this case, the auto brand is responsible for the sexy social media campaign – and they should be on the hook for tracking how that campaign drives consumers into local outlets. In turn, local dealers have an opportunity to capitalize on all this money floating around social media. They should channel that buzz into advertising to increase awareness for their business without a lot of heavy lifting on organic Facebook posts that will die on the vine.

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Posted in: Social media