Today Tier10 Marketing tweeted a link to their corporate blog about a story USA Today ran back in August (yes, 4 months ago). The story showcased the success of a Tier10 client - Robinson Honda of Torrance, California. What puzzled me is the story didn’t highlight profits, increased traffic, customer ratings or transaction prices; but instead the number of Likes the dealership received on Facebook. Moving metal? Thing of the past people!
OK. So that may be a little cynical (read smartass). They are a marketing firm and getting Likes is what they do. I just don’t get the excitement around simply having a Facebook page, let along the number of Likes you have. When my 12-year old cousin updates his status on Facebook, he gets over 20 comments – within an hour! This dealer had maybe 1 organic comment every 13 status updates. Perhaps my cousin has a
newsworthy future in automotive sales or marketing?
Why none of this matters.
Dealers, god love ‘em, are hell bent on having the biggest and longest…..direct marketing lists. Uh…what did you think I was going to say? Why such a long list? What weapon is easier when hunting duck – a rifle or a shotgun? (Shotgun in case you were wondering).
You see dealers want to fill as many inboxes as they can with large impersonal HTML-rich ads for every Holiday known to Uncle Sam. Just wait. If you’ve contacted a dealership in the last week or so, be prepared for the onslaught of red, white and blue Veterans Day ads headed your way.
CELEBRATE VETERANS, THE MILITARY, AMERICA AND APPLE PIE – BY BUYING THIS BIG BAD ASS TRUCK! ZERO DOWN, NO JOB, NO CREDIT REQUIRED. WE WANT TO SELL YOU THIS TRUCK, TODAY!
That is, after you purge your inbox of the “Thank you for contacting us. Someone will be with you shortly” email, followed by the ill-timed message 5 minutes later “Are you still interested in that 2012 HONDA CIVIC Sdn DX STOCK# 2120126 Transmission: Automatic?”
The funny part: You just wanted to know the interior color. Now you are on a list serve, have 2 (if you’re lucky) emails and still have no idea what the interior color of the car is.
Back to the original question – Why the hype over Facebook– HOPE.
I believe people see Facebook as the last bastion of electronic person-to-person interaction they can have with dealers. There’s no automatic response and you aren’t required to give up your email address to post a question on their wall.
US Today was correct to highlight the growing use of Facebook by dealerships, but they missed a big portion of the equation…and so will many of the “41% of dealerships [currently on] Facebook”. My advice to the other 59% – before you join the club and start your hunt for Likes ask yourself this: “Do you interact with your customers on a personal level?”
In the world I live in you don’t need Facebook to do what Facebook does. Likes in real life are built on personal relationships which no analytic can measure, even Google. While the other guys are out hunting for the next viral kitten video to post on their Facebook wall to “drive traffic”…..Take the time to turn off the auto reply and personally write back to your leads.
You’d be surprised the power of a personal response. After all, we all love to feel special now and again.