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Social Media 101

Chances are you are one of the 385 million users on Facebook, but what about your business?

Facebook, the leader in social media, allows dealers to communicate with both current and potential customers on a more personal, casual level than traditional forms of media. However, to make Facebook a marketing tool, you need to do it right or don’t do it at all.

Nothing is worse for your brand reputation than a stagnant Facebook page, so before you start, it’s important to know the ground rules:
Your product is your advertisement. So, in your world, it’s the latest promotions and/or events you are running at your dealership.

Give before you take. This means being genuinely engaged with your “fans” and/or “friends,” focus on communicating on a social level rather than “in your face” marketing.

Be a connector. This is a big one. A connector is someone who takes the time to introduce (virtually through Facebook) two friends with common interests. Again, the effort needs to be genuine, done with no expectations from the parties you are connecting. This good deed will ultimately come back to you tenfold.

Think “touch” instead of “target.” When it comes to Facebook, or any form of social media, directly marketing to an individual is frowned upon because this approach is considered an intrusion on personal space. Be friendly, but not pushy.

Nothing in life is free, including social media. Building your Facebook network takes time and energy, and the person you place in charge of this effort must be passionate about your industry. Don’t hire an intern. Don’t think you will do it yourself. Take the time and money to find the right person for the job, whether it is an internal staff member or a company specializing in dealer social media that can manage your brand image.

With the above best practices under your belt, you are ready to roll, but where to start? If you already have a Facebook page, make sure it’s prominently displayed on your website. Ask your customers to “like” you on Facebook and provide a direct link to your Facebook page.

Another great way to promote your “page is to include it in your email newsletter. Let your customers know that you are on Facebook, and use your website, emails and even basic print marketing to spread the word.

I bet all of your staff members are on Facebook, so ask your team to “like” the dealership to help support and build your social community.
There are many different reasons why someone would “like” your business. It’s not about the hard sell, it’s about engaging and connecting to your customers.

Reasons to “Like” a page

• Updates on current or upcoming dealer promotions and sales
• To show their support and share their passion with others
• To receive special coupons just for being a Facebook fan
• To interact with other enthusiasts and share comments.
• To receive the latest product and vehicle news
• To have fun and be entertained

Most likely, your Facebook fans support you as a business, and they want to know what’s going on at the dealership. Facebook provides a convenient method of communication to your customers, and with all of the social media options, it’s all about getting information and news on the spot so the customer doesn’t have to go out and find it himself.  

I’ve always said that what you put into your site is what you get out of it, and the same applies to Facebook. It’s important that you keep it fun, fresh and new. Post comments, pictures, videos and anything else you think your customers will love to see. Facebook is going to be around for a long time, and the demographics are growing! Facebook is not just for the younger generation — it’s for people of all ages.

If you’re not on Facebook, you could be missing opportunities to grow your online presence and business. Your website is the face of your business, and Facebook plays a big part of driving more traffic to your website. Many dealers are changing their marketing efforts, and they’re spending more time on making their websites more dynamic and engaging for their customers. If you want more out of your website, Facebook is definitely the direction you want to go. Just make sure that you do it right!


Peggy Olson is the president/owner of Duo Web Solutions. She has over eight years of experience helping powersports and marine dealers get more out of their websites. Learn more about Olson and Duo Web Solutions at www.duowebsupport.com.

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