(Originally published in Fall of 2010 while writing for Xspond.)
At first glance, Twitter might seem a bit silly. I mean, how much can you actually say in 140 characters? I have to admit, after much usage and experimenting, the value I have found in Twitter has been quite a surprise to me. So much so, that I figured I should help you get over that hump and get the most out of Twitter right out of the gates.
Here is a run down on why Twitter can help your dealership and how to get the most out of it Right Now.
The most advantageous way to use Twitter in your dealership is to listen for and encourage customer feedback. If someone is not happy with your service or sales they quite possibly could complain about you on Twitter. By responding to this complaint, you show your willingness to listen and care, not just to the complainer but to all your Twitter followers. It also gives users a quick point of contact if they have questions or concerns.
How: Use Hootsuite to manage your Twitter account. Set up a column of search keywords, use variations of your dealership name to catch any mentions of you on Twitter.
Do you like to chat with customers & prospects? Why not do it on Twitter? By following local people on Twitter you can enter the conversation, whatever it might be. Someone posts a complaint about the weather or traffic or other local interest, you can jump in to show you care. This adds humanity to your dealership, which can go a long way.
How: Use the Twitter search bar to find Tweets in Your Area, and follow those people. Or use Twellowhood to find users in your area. Also follow back customers when they begin to follow you.
Share Expert Advice
Giving quick tips through Twitter about car buying, maintenance or service is an easy way to be the expert in your field. You already have the information in house, start sharing it. This will also encourage your followers to ask relevant questions through the medium too. Someone’s check engine light comes on, and they don’t know what they should do, they can and will ask you on Twitter.
How: Post quick tips regularly on Twitter. You can get a list from your service manager, or ask for specifics when inclement weather or news sparks a little buzz around a topic. If the tip is longer, use bit.ly to provide a short link to a full “How To” Article posted on your website or Facebook.
Create a little bit of incentive or bonus for those who follow you on Twitter. While we try to stay away from selling, every once in a while offer them a deal that no one else gets. A super great service deal. A cash back offer on buying a car. Whatever the deal is, it has to be special.
How: Share a coupon that you have online but no one else knows about with a bit.ly short link. Or simply allow them to mention that they read it on Twitter to get the deal.
Growing Your Reach
With Twitter you have the chance to reach a lot of people. Say you are posting a great tip on car maintenance, you have a chance of being re-tweeted exponentially by others in the industry or car owners who think the tip was good and want to share. This is the easiest word of mouth your customers can give you. Good content from you and one click from them is all it takes to spread your brand.
How: #1 – Good content. #2 – Try and leave room for the Retweet, making the post 140 characters minus your @ handle + 3 characters. So if your handle is @handle – keep your post 130 characters or less.
Keep up with Industry News
Staying in tune with industry and OEM news is a job in and of itself. With Twitter you can follow all the relevant people and organizations in the auto dealership industry to keep up to date. If a huge recall is announced or a new car is launched, it will be on Twitter, in almost real time. By following all the right people you will never miss industry news again.
How: Use the Twitter search bar to search for OEM names and dealership keywords. Follow the people who talk about those things. If you find someone who is prominent in the Twitter-verse for dealerships, look at their Following list and follow those who are relevant to you.
There are many other benefits of using Twitter – but this should get you started. Do you have any great tips to add to my list?