The Dealerist's Blog

November 10, 2009

Twitter 101: A Guide for Dealerships

Everybody in the industry seems to be telling you to get your dealership on Twitter and the truth is you need to be.  But, has anyone really told you why or even how?  Lets’ take a basic look at Twitter and see what it is, why you should be on and more importantly, how to use Twitter. 

First you need to realize that Twitter is a lot like CB Radio for the Internet with one big exception:  Everyone gets their own channel.  Looking at it from that perspective keep in mind that people CHOOSE to listen (Follow) you so you have to be worth listening to. 

Reality check:  Twitter is NOT an advertising tool, a bulk email tool, or about large numbers of followers.  Let’s take a look at each of these individually.

Advertising: 

Twitter is not an advertising tool, it is a relationship tool.  Remember they choose to follow you so you must be worth following.  If all they get is a steady diet of marketing they will stop listening.  Use Twitter to build relationships with your customers and potential customers by providing meaningful content that they can use. 

After you have established your Twitter “Channel” as informative, entertaining and worthy of following you can then occasionally put out a special or an announcement.  The best strategy here is to use a bridge.  Briefly mention the special on the Twitter and refer to your Facebook Fan Page where you can really market your specials.

Bulk email: 

Common sense should tell you that just blasting out pitches like a bulk email program will not work on Twitter.  Yet, every day I see people use Twitter just like that and then complain that Twitter does not work for their store or their customers demographic or their OEM brand. 

Like we said before Twitter is a relationship media just like all Social Media.  I really can’t say this enough so I am going make it clear:

People CHOOSE to follow/listen to you, so you HAVE to be worth Listening to.

Number of Followers:  

At the dealership level you should not be overly concerned with how many people are following you.  You want a group of followers that are truly connected with your store so that your messages are relevant to them.  As you become more relevant to your own customers they will tell their friends and they will follow and your base of followers will grow. 

Building your followers starts on the lot.  Have your salespeople tell unsold showroom traffic about your Twitter page.  Your Service Advisors should be telling their customers about your Twitter page.  The parts counter should have a sign telling customers to follow you on Twitter.  Repair orders, business cards, F&I anywhere your dealership touches a customer there should be a sign asking them to follow you on Twitter.

Reality Check:  Be sure that you set up your Twitter account as your dealership name.  So if you are John Smith Ford your Twitter account should be JohnSmithFord or JSmithFord not Joe Wilson because he is your Internet Manager.  I have seen dealerships that have their Internet Manager set up their Twitter page and then if/when they leave the Twitter page and followers go with them. 

Make sure that not only your Internet Manager but also the GM, GSM and even you log in at least weekly and post a message.    

I will post another article with some detailed do and don’ts that will make you a believer in using Twitter at your dealership.  In the mean time if you have any questions at all please feel free to call me at 502-689-5370 or follow me on Twitter, I am @dealerist.

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