LONG ISLAND, N.Y. – Automotive Social Media Marketing Director of Nexteppe Tim Bonventre advises dealerships to consider implementing a social media policy as it relates to their employees. With more than 500 million Facebook users and a growing number of people using online peer recommendations for buying decisions, it’s no longer an option to not participate in automotive social media marketing but it has to be done correctly.
The wildly popular and new word-of-mouth marketing opportunities available to dealerships through social media have exciting possibilities, which can be highly rewarding but are not without risk. Even the most well-intentioned staff member can cause an adverse effect on a dealership's reputation or in some cases unnecessary litigation.
As most car dealers are aware, social media is not just a place to post ads, inventory and current specials but must include creative and useful content relevant to the people in the dealership's social community.
For this reason Mr. Bonventre advises dealers to take the following immediate steps to implement an effective automotive social media marketing campaign and prevent negative repercussions from current social network activity:
Step 1: Institute a Social Networking Policy for employees
- Policies should address whether or not dealers want their employees to list themselves as working for the dealership on social networking sites and which sites are permitted, if any at all.
- Keep in mind activity by dealership employees who publicly list their employer in their profile can be attributed to the dealership itself.
- Permitted use should also be included in this policy; not only will this determine how and when employees are permitted to interact with social media sites, but it will also address what information may be publicly discussed or should never appear such as confidential customer information.
- The policy should also require staff members to always obtain written consent before publishing pictures including those of customers.
Step 2: Establishing Who Will Control Social Media for the Dealership
- Social media sites must be monitored seven days a week as reputation-damaging comments and sales requests should never go unnoticed.
- Select the right person(s) for the social media job. It is a tremendous task to actively contribute to social networking sites on behalf of the dealership and to monitor all the downstream activity resulting from posts to those websites.
- The designated person or persons should be trusted and have the authority and confidence of the dealer principal to publicly speak on behalf of the dealer.
- Assign multiple people within the dealership to this task. No one person can effectively do this alone.
- It's essential the dealership decide who will be in charge and who will take over should the initially appointed person leave the company.
- Consider the character of the employee selected for this position as this is often more important than technological know-how.
Dealerships should know they have options other than tackling social media marketing in-house. Nexteppe and others offer services specifically tailored for car dealerships that keep their social reputation intact, adhere to privacy and proprietary policies, build a community of fans dedicated to the success of their dealership, and serve to promote the positive brand of their company, its products and its employees. Though there is some level of cost, the greater cost is doing nothing or doing it wrong.
To find out more information about promoting your dealership through social media and to download Nexteppe's Sample Social Media Policy, visit http://www.nexteppe.com or call 877-572-8892.