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Six Ways To Waste Your Time on Social Media

(Originally published in Fall of 2010 while writing for Xspond.)

Subscribing to too many Blogs. I highly recommend that you subscribe to relevant blogs for your industry, but be picky, be realistic, and set an egg timer. The point is that you cannot be everywhere, you just can’t. So choose your feeds wisely. Following blogs won’t do you any good if you don’t have time to read, understand, and respond when necessary. You may want to respond by sharing with others, you might join the conversation, you might need to adjust something you are doing based on this new information. So don’t over do it, because if you read ALL the relevant blogs there will be no time to respond accordingly.

Reading every Tweet, Facebook post, or Status Update. This is similar to subscribing to too many blogs. You want to follow them because they have good stuff to say, but once you begin to follow a big crowd you can’t catch every little thing. So don’t feel guilty if you miss some posts. I highly recommend making Favorites Lists (“Groups” in Facebook) so that you can make sure to catch everything that the most relevant people have to say.

**Disclaimer, if you have time to read a ton, read as much as you realistically have time for. I think listening (reading) is one of the most important parts of social media marketing, but don’t kill your productivity by reading all day long.

Getting involved in too many different social media sites. Keep it to the sites that are most relevant to your immediate fan base. We use Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogging, Blogs, & a few select Forums. We post to a few main forums that speak to our industry. We comment on blog articles that are out there that are relevant and we can add some value to. And we write our own blog, on top of maintaining our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube profiles. There certainly are more options for us, but this is where we find our specific community interacts. Your industry may have a ton of forums but not a lot of bloggers. It is certainly industry specific. Don’t be afraid to ask customers where they “hang-out”.

Checking your social media too often. Block out specific times of day where you spend 30 minutes or an hour, reading and replying on your social media pages. Don’t let the urge to hop over and check it every hour pull you under. Then the day is over and all you have to show for it is your social media posts and by then you are running out of good original work and content to talk about anyway.

Following or Friending people who are not a part of your community. Do you automatically let anyone who asks you to be a friend, be a friend? Do you automatically follow any Twitter follower that follows you? This can be a humongous waste of time. Again, you have to be choosy. Don’t let anyone who is not relevant to your business take any of your time or energy. There are many types of relevant people in this world; mentors, prospects, clients, industry experts, P.R. connections, local connections, you will have to make the call. The important thing here is to not let a bunch of spamming, get rich quick, time wasters get mixed in to your community.

Posting repeat messages or setting up automated messages. I know this sounds ridiculous that these two things actually waste your time, but let me explain. If you set up automated status updates through ping or an rss feed you are wasting your time and everyone else’s. No one wants to read automatic status updates. Everyone knows they are automated, especially if they are following several industry giants and see the same thing posted, verbatim, over and over. Those messages are not personal and will send your followers straight to their Unfollow buttons.

The second point is the repeated status update. I have seen many companies on many occasions who have a slogan or an elevator pitch or a special claim to fame that they use non-stop on their social media feeds. I have even witnessed updates like these containing the exact same typo they had in the previous version of it. I have also seen this status updated posted multiple times in the same day! Talk about exasperating. Can you imagine in your twitter feed, over and over again all day “companyxyz: We’re the home of the Award Winning Acme XYZ Thing-a-ma-jig!” Literally copied & pasted all day long? Not so good. #Unfollow

How do you keep from wasting valuable time while tackling your Social Media Marketing efforts?

 ********This article was later picked up by Social Media Today.

6 Social Media Marketing Goals To Consider

(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.

Twitter For Your Dealership: Why & How

(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.

Customer Service

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.

Customer Appreciation

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?


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