Used Car Dealer Magazine

FEB 2018

Used Car Dealer Magazine, the official monthly trade magazine of NIADA, offers readers the most current news and info on such topics as industry trends,technology,financing,marketing and dealership operations designed to increase profitability.

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Page 29 of 78

W W W . N I A D A . C O M / F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 / 27 In terms of first – and lasting – impressions, your Facebook page might as well be your showroom. "Social media is incredibly powerful in influencing people's perceptions of your business," said Mandy Pennington, director of Internet marketing for Net Driven, an NIADA National Member Benefit partner that provides websites and Internet marketing services exclusively to the auto industry. "It's not just about being present on Facebook. It's about having a good presence on Facebook," which, she said, means a regularly updated page with valuable, educational, interesting or fun content. Justin Osburn, moderator of NIADA's retail 20 Groups, said he commonly sees dealerships fumble in their use of Facebook. "It's just car after car after car after car, and that's not really a powerful marketing message," he said. "We do need to advertise our cars and our inventory on Facebook, but the goal of social media is engagement. You want to build an organic audience, a base of people who have interest in your business." Dealers will have a chance to learn more from Osburn on April 19, when he'll hold a Digital Marketing/Social Media Workshop to discuss best practices and strategies for marketing using Facebook and other social media, as well as other digital methods. So if dealers shouldn't flood Facebook with inventory, what should they publish? Janine Brancale, co-owner of Star Auto Sales in Meriden, Conn., suggests dealers ask themselves a few questions. What do your customers want to read? What sets you apart from your competition? What makes you and your dealership interesting? And how can you be useful? A brief write-up honoring a dealership employee for her 20th anniversary, a picture from B E I N G O N S O C I A L M E D I A I S A M U S T , B U T T O O M A N Y D E A L E R S A R E L O S T W H E N T H E Y G E T T H E R E . H E R E ' S A P R I M E R O N H O W M A K E I T P A Y O F F . I f there's one thing a successful independent dealer is good at, it's probably selling cars. That might explain why some dealers, when they launch a Facebook business page, concentrate on getting their inventory in front of their social media followers. And that, in turn, might explain why many dealers aren't happy with their Facebook experience. "They don't get any traction or any comments or get any 'likes' on a bunch of pictures of cars," said Tracy Myers, owner of Frank Myers Auto Maxx in Winston-Salem, N.C. "Then they back off and say, 'Social media doesn't work.' "Of course it doesn't work – because you're not doing it right." Experts in the field and car dealers who have had success with social media agree dealers must use Facebook and other social media applications as they were intended to be used – as social channels, not sales tools. Showing off your inventory on Facebook has its time and place, but dealers should emphasize personalized, useful, humanizing content, the type of material your customers and potential customers will look forward to seeing in their Facebook feeds. In a sense, the best way to use Facebook to increase sales is to not emphasize sales when you use Facebook. First, be aware that any dealer who hesitates to use social media does so at his or her own risk. After all, as LT2Media social media and reputation management supervisor Jordan Goheski pointed out, everyone is on Facebook. "Facebook isn't going to go away," she said. "It's going to keep getting bigger." ENGAGE BEFORE TRYING TO SELL In this age, when so many purchasing decisions are informed by online research, experts stress a business must consider its social media presence as important as its physical presence. C O N T I N U E D O N PAG E 2 8

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