OK. So you have your social media presence set up. You’re on the right track. You are on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TUMBLR, Flickr and wherever else you have found.
Now we have to build your fan base and followers. How do we do that? Through engagement, that’s how. Engagement is a tricky process, but will have great rewards if you do it right.
Engagement in this regard, means the interaction between the follower/fan and the dealership. Often it is a daunting task, but once it gets rolling, it will most likely steamroll, as long as you stick with it and continue to encourage engagement through creative ideas. I will be discussing things I personally have done in the past that have worked well. I invite you to try them and build from them. These will get you started and from there, you will hopefully run with it in a creative direction of your own.
Lock. Load. Engage.
Firstly, contests are a great way to reward your followers. It’s also a terrific way to add followers. Have contests where the entrant must like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter in order to qualify. Make sure the contest is fun and that the prize is rewarding. The bigger the prize, the more chance you have at earning the interest of new followers. A free oil change as a prize may earn you, say, 10 new followers while an iPad may earn you 500 new followers. Examples of some contests to do are: Recipe contest. Photo contest (Pets, Kids, Your make car, etc …). Fan of the Week contest. Get creative with it. The more fun and easier it is, the more interaction you will get.
I am a big fan of humanization of the dealership in social media. Car dealerships and auto sales associates are often spoken with and thought of with negative connotations. You can change that view of your followers. Show them you are “humans” like them. Show them you can have fun at your job. Tasteful humor is often a great ice-breaker in many situations. (I will go into that a little later.) How do you show them you are human? One of my favorites is candid shots. Employees of the dealership being photographed while working, doing fun stuff, extra-curricular activities (business appropriate) such as a sports league or work related event. These kinds of photos help show you are “real people” just like the customers, show you can have some fun and often strike up conversation and engagement. I’ve actually been told by co-workers that customers have been in the dealership and mentioned the pictures I took of them and uploaded to Facebook.
Everyone has seen the GM or Sales Associate on video telling them about themselves. Try something different. I have done in the past, “Get To Know Our Staff” segments, where the fan/follower, customer, employee, etc … ask the questions. I would take say the GM. Post his picture, name and position out there and have your followers ask questions of that person that they might want to know. Questions can range from “What is your favorite color?” to position specific questions like “How do I check my oil” for a service technician. The questions are then collected and asked of this employee while they answer on video. This is an interactive video where the customers are involved and helps them connect with individuals at your dealership. This was a success during the time that I ran it.
These are just a few successful methods I’ve used. Don’t be afraid to be creative. If you are a social media manager for your dealership or workplace, come up with some fun ideas and run them by your management team to get their approval, and get up and running!
- this article was published in Social Dealership Magazine