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Create a strategy that encompasses all digital, all print, and all sales peripherals.

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Get out there, make some friends, and build those relationships so they'll come to you when it's time to do business and they'll refer their peers.

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The Latest

“I Disagree with You.” vs. “You Are an Idiot!”

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

Use the Comments Field to Encourage Useful Dialogue (not to attack the writer)

Have you ever read the comments on your blog and found that it appears the person was reading something else when they commented? A complete misunderstanding of the point you were trying to make, or they read into it more than what you wrote?

I have! Words have been inserted into my mouth (or in this case keyboard). It appears when a commenter is struggling to make their point they insert anything they need to help their case. This kills the discussion. No one needs to be attacked for what they did not say – isn’t there enough attacking going on based on what they did say?

So here are my tips for playing nice on the playground. You won’t get a time-out if you don’t play nice, but you will quickly become the kid who has no one to play with.

1. Do not put words in the mouth of the writer.

2. Do not group the writer into a category of people who share this singular opinion.

3. Do not attribute opinions to the author that they did not state.

4. Do not attack the writer, attack the idea if you disagree. (I call this bullying)

5. Do not attack the intentions of the writer when they have not been clearly stated by the writer.

6. If you are going to be nasty to the author, have the cajones to NOT be anonymous.

7. If it is unprofessional to say it in person, the same applies here on the web.

8. Keep it above the belt.

9. Do not label a personality characteristic to someone based off one article – you being offended by it does not make their intentions malicious.

10. Don’t just disagree, if you really have a different opinion, give the alternate solution.

11. Don’t be rude. (“I disagree with you” vs. “You are an idiot!”)*

12. Don’t assume anything, it makes an Ass out of U and Me.

Did I miss any? What type of comment have you gotten that has ended a conversation abruptly?

*Didn’t anyone tell you that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar? Same thing applies here. If you are truly trying to make a point and you tell someone they are an idiot, they quit listening to you right then. You’d be better off putting yourself on mute, at least then they might try to read your lips.


6 Tips For Using Facebook Inventory Effectively

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

Facebook applications are getting very popular among car dealerships with the ever present Inventory Application leading the way. While this is a very cool application and a fabulous feature to add to your Facebook page, what does your dealership get out of it?

Is it simply mimicking your Web Inventory listing on to your Facebook page? Does your Facebook Inventory make it easier and quicker for them to show their interest in you? Does it inspire them to increase the frequency at which they interact with you? Do your customers even know it’s there?

Is a Facebook Inventory Application nice to have? Yes, of course. But it’s only going to do something for you if you are vigilant about engaging with your customers in a valuable social way – and if you get your customers to leave their Facebook Home Page and visit your Dealership Fan Page.

Here are some simple ideas on how to get the most out of your Facebook Inventory Application:

  • Advise current customers that your inventory is viewable from Facebook. You can do this when they are in your service department, when they are in the showroom, you can include the message in Emails, Direct-Mailers, and even share this information on your Facebook Wall every now and again.
  • Change your settings so that non-fans who come to your Facebook page land right on your Inventory Tab. This may seem a bit “un-social” but everyone knows how to get to your Wall, not everyone pays attention to your other tabs once they are on your Wall.
  • Make sure the Share button on your Inventory is prominent and the share box that pops up has an eye catching thumb-nail and a great headline.
  • Start a very geographically focused Facebook Ad campaign, inviting users to shop inventory on Facebook so that they can share their choices with friends — getting help in the decision making process.
  • Give a special incentive to Facebook shoppers; a small referral fee or cash back can go a long way to drive new people to your dealership, so that they can find out how awesome you are.
  • Keep a good stream of conversational content on your Facebook page so that when you do talk about Inventory in your feed (on occasion) you have an audience. Once someone stops following you, you lose them indefinitely, so try not to scare them off with sales pitches.

With 500 million users on Facebook every day, how are you making the most of your Inventory Application? What other services do you think you could offer right on Facebook to add quality to your Facebook Fans’ experience?


6 Hard Truths to Guide Dealership Social Media Content

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

There are no cut and dry rules for using social media as a marketing tool. What works for one, may not work for another. And getting started can be a scary daunting task that is all too easy to abandon if you are not getting the amount of interactions and conversations you want.

I have uncensored my self in an effort to help your dealership approach social media with the right attitude, even if it is hard to for you to hear.

People Don’t Care About You (the dealership)

Your customers do not care how big you are, how busy you are, or how important you are in the dealership world. They just don’t. They care about what you will do for them. So to make it very clear, do NOT post things like:

“We’re the biggest x dealer in blah blah blah U.S.A.”

“Dealer Name is working hard to bring you blah blah blah car stuff.”

And rarely, if ever post “We’re having the biggest sale in x years .” (Fans will skip right over content if you post sales too much. Keep it fresh, so when you do post a sale, they read it.)

People Distrust You

Few people trust car dealerships. It is just a long standing stigma that you have to deal with. The best way to do that is to put faces and personalities out there, humanizing your dealership. If your fans can see that Joe in the finance department just welcomed a baby boy, they can relate. If your customers get to hear the news that Sara in the BDC is part of a winning local roller derby team, they can relate. If they get to see pictures of the dealership owner cheering on his basketball playing nephew at the local High School game, they can relate. People like to connect on a personal level, so don’t be afraid to share.

People Need Incentive to Act

Why should people follow you on Facebook or Twitter? Would you follow you? Give them some incentive. Create content they care about (see Truth #1), and once you establish a stream of good content, draw in your relevant crowd with a giveaway or contest so that they can see your great content and make a decision to stay or go.

People Want You to Care About Them

By replying to people within your social media community for everyone else to see, you show that you care. Let the person running your page have an opinion on some things, making them realistic. For example: If a user posts a recipe for chocolate covered pickles – your social media team can reply that the recipe sounds disgusting. Keep the opinions in the harmless sphere of non judgmental Likes/Dislikes (don’t touch politics or religion or name calling) to create a good discussion. After all, if everyone agrees there is not much to discuss.

If You Don’t Listen, They Won’t Either

Pay attention to who your followers are and what they care about. If you post a comment about country music and no one responds, it is possible you don’t have many country music fans following you. Pay attention to what your followers are saying, and constantly alter your strategy to match their likes and interests. If you continue to post about the stuff you know and like – ignoring your fans interests, they will un-follow and you will have a hard time getting them back.

They Don’t Know What They Don’t Know

Do your customers even know you are on Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube? They aren’t likely sitting at home searching for their local car dealerships on Facebook or Twitter just for fun. Tell them! Put a few signs around the Showroom and Service department. Add the logos to your newspaper ads and mailers. And for goodness sake, tell them in person. Don’t you think that service customer would love to know that they could have saved $5 on their oil change if they were a Facebook fan? Tell them!

Your most Important Audience is Not made up of Men

This might be the hardest point to get across. Dealerships are notoriously filled with male employees. It is just the way the industry is. That being said, your key audience is NOT men. So, what makes you and all your employees read on, laugh, get involved – is not what gets your customers attention. You need to really pay attention, because in a family situation, the woman is making the decision. If you can get her on your side, then you are going to be that much better for it. While you still have male customers, you need to be sure to embrace ALL of your customers.

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