Is Your Dealership Engaging Younger Generations Online?

If you’re serious about social media and connecting with younger generations, you need to hire someone full time.

Being the old-timer I am, I bought this business before the internet. Before dot com was a thing. Before YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Tik Tok and all the myriad social media platforms out there. Now, smartphones will do everything but shave you in the morning, although I’m sure someone’s working on an app for that right now. Many of us thought the internet was a fad, and it would disappear, as all fads do. Boy, were we wrong!

It’s everywhere — you can’t get away from it. It’s become an insidious part of everyday life, and unfortunately, we as dealers have not kept up. Doing a search, I found very few local dealers even have a worthwhile Facebook page. One even had a Facebook page with absolutely no posts whatsoever. Some were using TikTok a bit, but the videos looked like pre-teen posts that held no real interest, at least to me.

It’s time to get serious! A local shop has a guy who posts a bit, but he’s also in the sales department, so he’s doing it part time. What he does is fine, but there are nowhere near enough posts, whether on Facebook, TikTok or any other social media site. He doesn’t have the time.

If you’re serious about it, you need to get someone full time. “I can’t afford it!” some of you will say. Well, as others say, “You can’t afford not to!” What do billboards cost now? I’ve always thought they were a waste of money. Trim some advertising budget here and a bit more there, and bang, you’ve got something to work with.  

If you only sell 200 units a year, it may be a strain, but if you only sell 200 bikes a year, you won’t get to 300 units unless you do something more in tune with the way the world works today.

The Y and Z generations don’t listen to radio. As much as I like reading newspapers, they are slowly fading, just like Yellow Pages faded away. Television has shifted from cable with commercials to streaming with little to none. So what are these generations doing in the park, on buses, at home or in waiting rooms? They are looking at their phones for the next viral video they can pass on to their friends. You have to connect to them. You have to connect with them.

I just watched some videos from a store where the staff was dancing in the showroom. It had fewer than 1,000 views. And this post was from two years ago. Don’t do that. We all want that 10-million-view viral video. It may happen, and that may be ideal, but don’t count on it. That doesn’t mean you can’t strive for it though!

A video about next week’s sale probably won’t do it either. Everyone wants useful information. Give them info on your shop, your employees or a difficult problem you solved for a customer. I’ve always thought that a series of TikToks about unusual service problems you’ve had that your techs have fixed would be a great idea, especially when other shops have been unable to do so. Maybe show why it takes so long for a Goldwing air filter change. Or why Ducati Desmodromic valve adjustments are so difficult.

You could do some humorous walkarounds on new bikes. Or a tour of your shop, introducing your employees. Show people the processes you go through for parts orders or work order. There’s a fellow I follow who does home inspections. It sounds boring, but he has a ton of followers. He makes it interesting. You should be posting on your social media every time you make a delivery. I’d be doing that as a salesman, never mind corporately.      

Maybe none of those ideas are any good? I’m not Gen Y or Z. Hire one of them who knows what to do. Maybe an upcoming local vlogger who can create some amazing videos you can put on TikTok, Facebook or Instagram. Brainstorm a few ideas. Create some hype. It sometimes takes just one idea to put you on the digital map.

Have some brainstorming sessions with staff. Find a local guy or gal who’s into it. That person may or may not need to know the powersports world to be impactful either. Look at what other industries are doing to get attention on these platforms. Just keep your eyes and your mind open. And tag Motorcycle & Powersports News in the videos you create. It would be great to see what you are doing, and we’ll be sure to share them!

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