Social Media Marketing for Car Dealers

social media marketing

Have you heard of the terms Web 2.0 or Web 3.0? They are all about social media. It is the new thing in marketing. Since people started using Internet for social communication purposes, companies started focusing on how to advertise in this new arena and how to use it to their advantage. When we say social media, we mean Internet sites that are primarily used for social communication. Some big ones are: Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Youtube, Xanga, Live Journal, Orkut, etc. There are a few ways of using these sites for your social media optimization (SMO):

Reputation Management: Social media marketing really started with the book Groundswell - written by two employees in Forrester Research. It is a book about managing reputation on the Internet and this is what most companies care about when it comes to social media marketing. The idea is to detect any chat, blog, tweet, article - any kind of communication that says something bad about your company and react to such complaints by responding them online - effectively turning a bad situation to a good one. Obviously keeping track of similar communication that says something good about your company would not hurt either. The problem is that it is somewhat difficult in practice. Detecting such communication requires hiring an external company and they can be expensive. Still, it is a great practice for any business. For car dealers, reputation is extremely important since a lot of business relies on word of mouth. Moreover, such information may be available in search engines later on and other prospective customers may see how you responded to their complaint.

Social Media for SEO: This is probably the easiest way you can start leveraging the power of social media for your dealership. Please see Dealer Search Engine Optimization for more information about SEO and how it can be used by dealers. One of the easiest things you can do is to set up a Facebook page for your dealership. This is like your business account on Facebook. It is separate from normal user accounts. Facebook users can become your "fans". You can post links to your website (any new bargain vehicles, specials, promotions, etc.) on your Facebook page. The upside is, apart from your fan base getting notified of your events, these pages are indexed by search engines and will improve your website's rankings for your keywords. The same concept applies to Twitter. The terminology changes a little and "being a fan" is called "following" in Twitter. The difference is in Twitter, you are restricted to 140 characters per posting. It will improve your SEO, nevertheless. Another thing you can do is to put a sharethis control in your website pages. This will allow your users to be able to post your content on numerous social media sites. Please see the bottom of this page for an example.

Social Media Marketing Campaigns: If you have a good and loyal customer base, this is something you should consider. Social media marketing campaigns can take many forms but they reveal around the idea of consumer engagement. The idea is to get your consumer to be engaged in a dialog with you, rather than just simple advertisement. Such marketing should result in advocates of your dealership - rather than just a few customers that may say a few good things about you. An example comes from Ford, they realized that there was a Ford Focus fan group and they started putting their videos on Youtube. It did not really cost them anything but the fan group was really happy to be just acknowledged by their brand. Brickfish is a leader in such campaigns. Do check them but keep in mind such campaigns may be expensive.

Social Media Advertising: This is old school advertising on social networks. Most blog sites accept banner ads. You can even do the same thing on Facebook. It is not the most effective technique in social media marketing arsenal since social media users hardly pay attention to such ads - even when they are selected to be relevant to the users. They are there to communicate with their friends and ads are generally just another distraction.

Carsinia will soon be helping with the SEO of your sites though inventory listing. You can post such links on social media sites for improving your rankings. Stay tuned. Contact us for more information.

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