(Originally published in Fall of 2010 while writing for Xspond.)
During a recent re-evaluation of the social media strategy of our car dealerships I had an a-ha moment. Maybe I already knew it, but it did not come to me in the same scope as it has at this moment.
Business is Business is Social
All businesses have a business goal in mind when using social media. They are putting time (money) into it, and need to get some form of business growth (money) out of it. Social Media Marketing firms encourage these goals – maybe due to pressures by business owners. We encourage goals for sales, lead generation, promotions, branding, buzz, product launches,…the list goes on. I get it. I really do. But isn’t this kind of backwards?
Maybe your goals should be things like:
- Increase customer feedback
- Reputation Management (to be fair, this is a common objective that I do agree with)
- Increase customer awareness of your community involvement (w/out bragging)
- Increase community involvement in your events & causes
- Increase your knowledge of the behavior & demographics of your customers
- Increase customer satisfaction through customer relations
Know Better. Do Better.
To grow (make more money) dealerships need to evolve the way they do business based on these invaluable bits of information. Companies used to pay loads of money for this by conducting focus groups, sending out surveys, and investing in third party market research. This expense encouraged businesses to take action as a result. But now, very few take action when they receive the same information — just because it is affordable does not make it less valuable. This is a prime opportunity to do better!
How To Tackle These Goals
I am a firm believer in the fact that you get what you give. (You will hear me say it many more times if you are an avid reader of this blog) If you consistently use social media to sell your latest sale, you will attract the sale seeking customers (great! if that is what you really want). If you join the community and discuss important topics that affect the groups of people who you want as long term customers – then you will attract those customers (and more importantly, keep them). Especially if you show a propensity towards responding and making change based off your conversations.
Sincerity is Key
You cannot pretend to give something and expect to get the same results as you would if you ACTUALLY give that something. Put yourself out there, genuinely be you and attract the customers that will naturally like what you do. And please, do it with grace, good attitude, and willingness. If you do it half-heartedly or with spite and resistance – then your results will be half-hearted with spite and resistance.
So I say: Choose the results you want! Give what you expect to get! Be patient — it will take people some time to trust that what you are giving is genuine and without a sales pitch. Especially if you previously have only given them sales pitches.
And, by the way, those goals we promote and talk about so often (leads, sales, profit) will come naturally if you focus your efforts on the immediate goals of gaining knowledge, using knowledge to make adjustments, and sharing knowledge.