Leading the Conversation

Social Media and Online Marketing can mean something entirely different to different marketers as well as different industries, but for most the goal is the same, to drive more traffic to the company’s main website and potentially gain more customers and closer relationships with current customers.

The largest areas this is done regularly and successfully is through blogging, Facebook, and Twitter, but what are the best ways to use those tools?

The key elements that come up again and again from professionals using social media is to have a plan, make sure the different aspects you are using are integrated, and listen to your customers.

Blogging as a company is different than running a personal blog. It can’t be about the hit count or the amount of comments on posts, if any, but about the content you are putting out there being relevant and important to the consumers who find their way to your site. What to write for a blog post is as important as who you are trying to reach. Customers aren’t interested in only hearing about how wonderful your dealership is, what specials are going on, or that great testimonial or customer experience.

Those things are great spaced out with other content, but people are fickle. They want variety. Too much of the blogosphere, Facebook, and Twitter, are filled with more of the same. Stay current on automotive news, trends, and interesting facts as well.

And please, don’t take the route so many other budding social media savvy dealerships have taken and fill your tweets with superfluous ‘What’s your favorite color?’ and ‘Tell us what you did this weekend?’ questions. That tactic isn’t original or relevant.

Do make your posts and comments fun, however. Social Media is supposed to be fun, that’s why people spend so much time there. Tracy Gold in her article, “What I Learned About Social Media from Angry Birds,” said it best:

“Sure, people read articles to learn what’s going on in their field, and they watch how-to videos. But no one is going to remember your brands’ boring breakdown of how to install WordPress. They’re going to remember the posts that made them laugh, and the tweets they think are clever. So if you’re just churning out the same-old, same-old content, stop it! Think about how you can make sure that you’re keeping social media the way it’s supposed to be: fun.”

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Then there is the question of when to post. There is current data suggesting several different tactics for bloggers, as well as Facebook and Twitter users. There seems to be some consensus that Monday mornings are best for blog posts, or afternoons if later than Monday, especially Friday afternoons when people are more likely to be winding down from actually doing any work before the weekend.

Facebook posts seem to be most effective if not done every day. And spamming Twitter never worked for anyone. Be as varied and consistent (without being too overzealous) with Facebook and Twitter as you are with your blog entries.

Check out some of the statistics on posting best times and practices at ProBlogger, Social Fresh, and the Automotive Digital Marketing Community to try out a few differing recommendations and see what works best for you.

Another question is how blogging, or Facebook and Twitter updating, is relevant to lead generation. An article by the SocialMedia Club asked that question and found that the real importance of participating in those spheres is being able to listen to your consumers, since social media is one of the most significant places those voices can be heard.

While the leads generated from social media marketing may be fewer than conventional methods, those leads will be more informed because they come from direct conversation and interactions with customers in a relaxed environment. There is also opportunity for more immediate action on leads without being too invasive.

Timothy Martell, Digital Marketing Director for Albrecht Auto Group, wrote in February about “Understanding Social Media Marketing,” summarizing his advice as follows:

“You write a blog post about a new product. You bookmark that post on Digg, Delicious, and StumbleUpon. You let your Facebook fans know that you just wrote a new blog. That post automatically gets submitted to your Twitter account. Now do that 7 days a week. That is digital marketing domination and that is how to use Social Media in your dealership.”

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Just make sure that what and how you are posting, whether to Facebook, Twitter, or your dealership’s blog, is making the most out of what social media marketing has to offer.