Business Embraces Social Media

April 20, 2010  |  Uncategorized

I’ve said it before.  I’ll say it again.  Thousands of Baby Boomers out there have no use for Social Media.  Why?  Many don’t understand it.  And we all know that what we don’t understand, we fear.  Imagine how big companies feel.  They’ve been plodding along for years very successfully, thank-you very much, doing things the way they’ve always done them.  And now they wake up to a brave new world where a whole generation of new customers speaks a totally different language… the language of technology.  What’s a company to do?  According to consultant Mark Evans writing in Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail, the answer is simple.  Pay attention. (More…)

Listen, he says, to the conversations people are having about your company, brand, competitors and industry.  Are they taking place on Facebook?  Twitter?  Maybe they’re not taking place on social media at all.  There are “monitoring tools” companies can use in order to find this information for free.  Once they know who’s talking about them and where, they can move forward with a Social Media strategy.

Look up your favourite product or brand on Facebook, for example.  Chances are the company has set up a fan page and is LISTENING to the comments people are making.  Not only does this help the execs in their marketing efforts, it also gives YOU a chance to make your voice heard in an instantaneous way.  Is it a perfect system?  Systems never are.  Is it new, intriguing, and full of possiblity?  You bet.  Welcome to the future. ;-)

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  1. Bet.L… You’re not alone! More and more Boomers out there are starting to reconsider their initial reaction to Social Media. When the iPod first came out, I resisted for a couple of years. Once I embraced it, I discovered I didn’t want to live without it. As you say, the trick is to approach it with an open mind, do your research, and find out what works for you.
    Thanks for weighing in!

  2. Jeff… Thanks for the wake-up call! Most of us will never understand the frustrations and the costs of being in business. You’re so right. The internet is a double-edged sword. On one hand, email brings you leads — potential customers doing research. And you’ve been savvy enough to understand the importance responding to them. On the other hand, it gives potential customers access to information they never would have had before there was Google. You’re in a tough position.

    It would be interesting to find out what the Social Media marketing experts would say. How could you start using Twitter, for example, to reach out to the Social Media savvy consumer? One thing you could do would be to ask your satisfied customers to follow you on Twitter… Then send out daily Tweets about maintenance, new products, news from the world of car insurance, etc. That might help build brand loyalty and dealership loyalty, resulting in an increase in great word-of-mouth.

    When it comes to Facebook, you could encourage your customers to post pictures of themselves with their new car on FB. All kinds of people would see these pix over time… People who may never have considered walking into a Subaru showroom. You never know. The name “Subaru” might become top-of-mind sooner than you imagine

    Just a few ideas from the Social Media peanut gallery. ;-)

  3. The auto industry is an industry that faces change every day. The one constant in my business is that people, consumers, are doing more research and pre-shopping on-line and in some cases, showing up at the dealership with more knowledge than the sales-person. What a shame !
    I guess my feelings are two sided. On one hand, I am pissed that my sales people have the time to surf the net and make reservations for The Bare Naked Ladies concert or to find the best price on the “not so well deserved” vacation they want to book (can you tell I’m venting), but they can’t seem to find the time to stay on line and study the information that provides their lively-hood. Running a company is hard enough, but when the consumers are more driven than the salespeople, it gets frustrating.
    After many frustrating years of learning the ins and outs of e-commerce, I have in place a system that works quite well. I have one person on staff that deals directly with internet leads. This has worked with great success and seems to be the only way to stay on top of it. I can’t begin to tell you how many customers have told me that they sent out two or three e-mails to different dealers but never got a response. Can you believe that ? In my opinion, thats the same as a customer walking in your front door and everyone ignoring them and pretending they aren’t there.
    Part two of my venting is the fact that in some cases consumers can get too much information from the web. You can actually go to a web-site and find out exactly how much mark-up there is in a new car. Think about it for a minute….. the average cost to build a car dealership in my town (London On) is about $ 185,000.00 per acre. You need minimum of 4 acres. The actual building costs about $ 206.00 per square foot. You require roughly 18,000 square feet. So keeping things on the conservative side, lets say you into the land and building for $ 5,000000.00. Next you have your inventory which you have a rolling line from the bank. So, once again, staying on the conservative side, lets say yopu spend $ 25,000.00 on interest so that you can have a nice display for your consumer to select from. Now with support staff wages, heat, hydro, taxes,advertising and every constomers best friend “Good Will” (thats the account we draw from each month when a customer needs a pat on the bum and told “no charge”) you are quickly at another $ 30,000.00 a month in exspenses.
    So in walks a customer with all of his notes in hand and offers you $ 250.00 over what you paid for the car. In his mind, this makes sense. It costs a car dealer, on average, over $ 1000.00 to sell a car but because the internet forgot to tell the consumer that, they think we are crooks.
    The web is a great tool for doing basic homework in my opinion, but they forget to tell consumers how much it costs business owners to provide them with a place to shop and service.
    Just sayin……

    Jeff Leal
    General Manager
    Subaru Of London

  4. I have avoided Facebook & even texting so far, but I’m starting to wonder if there is anything good for me in this technology. I am going to talk and research with a more open mind.

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