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If Car Dealers Can Tune Up Real Time Shoppers, So Can Your Business

Social Media Marketing Tipping Point

How do you know when new marketing is about to become OLD marketing? When laggards like car dealerships start to get on board, it is a clear sign we are well past the social media marketing tipping point (lol). I’ve been fascinated with car dealers in a train wreck, have to watch kind of way. The power of an entire business segment to stick their collective head in the ground and attempt to wish away the future and the NOW has been impressive.

Dealer Marketing Article

This article in Dealer Marketing Magazine is a sign of HOPE for car dealers and a shot directly across any social media marketing hold outs. When car dealers understand the need for real time social media marketing, so should you (call me crazy). Internet Marketing Goes Mobile – Join The Revolution post is related as the fuel behind the pressure this article discusses. This article started on Design Revolution on, but has been expanded here to defeat the duplicate content police (lol).

Note From Article
How your dealership can handle modern consumers who expect instantaneous response. (Is Your Dealership Ready for the Real-Time Shopper?: Latest Marketing News …)

Marty Real Time Note
You know you’ve passed a significant social media marketing tipping point when laggards start climbing in the car. When I bought my last car, I had my Macbook Air live on their wifi, tweeting what was happening as the deal happened, checking and other resources and checking everything the guy said in real time, AND I STILL GOT TAKEN.

This article is 75% about what most reading this post already know – the real time and ditigal revolution is HERE – and only 25% about what to do about it. Here are my tips if, God forbid, I owned or ran a car dealership:

EMBRACE the social media marketing and the digital revolution, don’t just accept it, by doing this…

  • Put your dealer #hashtag in clear view.
  • Create social contest and games awarding ongoing contribution and participation (stay top of mind even when I’m between cars).
  • Curate your UGC (user generated content), so you aren’t just talking to yourself about yourself all the time (an industry preoccupation).
  • Show and share, share and show – look to learn from and listen to your customers and strip the overblown rhetoric, BS and games.
  • Realize that the real VALUE you create is so much greater than the short term profit on any given deal (hard to convince your greedy sales force they are best served by long term thinking, but they are, and continuing to screw people is over, done, finished).
  • Your most important asset is NOT on the lot but online – your reputation.
  • Reduce your footprint – all those cars on the lot as advertising is stupid, expensive and unnecessary. Look hard at your 80/20 rule and manage to that.
  • Understand social media is NOT just deal flow. You can put deal flow into social NO MORE than 50% of the time. 90% deal flow confirms you don’t get social media marketing.
  • The other 50% of the time, SHARE authority reinforcing content such as reviews, information about innovations and news.
  • Ask for your customers’ social contacts and then segment your customers based on power users, middle and beginning social media marketing status. Soon every customer will use social media, but not all social media users are equal. Car dealers should know who is across the desk from them. If you are selling a car to Seth Godin or Chris Brogan, BE CAREFUL and don’t be a jerk. Good advice even if Marty Smith or Jane Smith is across the desk.
  • Use gamification (Download my free and no obligation Gamification: Winning Hearts Minds and Loyalty Online white paper) and social capital so we can discuss something other than MONEY. Also keeps me interested in you even when I am not buying a car.
  • Don’t be a jerk, since I can make your being a jerk go global in nothing flat, because someone in a position of authority where big money is involved being a jerk is some of the most viral content on earth.

Car dealerships can change, and those who do will make more money. Those who don’t will be looking for work. As with anything, 20% of the dealers will make 80% of the change and thrive while the rest of the car dealers will look around and wonder what hit them. I can answer that too. What hit you was an empowered public who is tired and not going to take it anymore. Next time you sell me a car, it would be a good idea to know if I can reach out and touch 5K or 10K people as you are speaking to me.


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