January was an emotional and physically challenging roller coaster for Debbie and me. The month started with my Internet Battle Plan conference. Then I had two in-dealership consulting visits before traveling to New Orleans for the National Automobile Dealers Association’s annual convention. The month also saw my hometown of Atlanta become paralyzed by an ice storm, but that wasn’t the worst of it.

See, my January ended with the passing of my mother on Jan. 31. And throughout everything, including my unexpected trip to Jacksonville, Fla., for my mother’s funeral, there was one constant that kept everything in perspective: Our expanded family and circle of friends on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were there in real time with support, friendship and genuine love. It’s one of the reasons Debbie and I were able to hit the ground running once the calendar flipped to February.

I guess you can say I’ve come to appreciate the power of social media — not only in my personal life, but my professional life as well. And social media has matured from the early days of rock star fan clubs on Myspace to a dynamic interactive community. If you’ve avoided social media marketing, perhaps it’s time you took a hard look at the power of these platforms. After all, this is where the people are.

At my most recent Internet Battle Plan in Atlanta, Matt Russo, a young guy from SocialAutoLeads.com, approached me. He asked if he could present a workshop on how to use Twitter to sell cars. Truthfully, Twitter is one social media site I still haven’t figured out, much less seen successfully used by a dealer to sell cars.

I gave Matt the last speaking slot on the last day of the conference. I was amazed. His concept of attraction marketing on Twitter was a total revelation. Instead of reaching out and broadcasting advertisements, he talked about using the site’s geotargeted search feature to find individuals talking about buying a car in your market.

In fact, while Matt was still on stage, a young woman from a New York dealership located a customer in her market area that was tweeting about looking for a new car. She immediately called her dealership to contact the prospect. Not only did the dealership contact the Twitter user, it sold and delivered a car to her.

I’ve helped dealers realize tremendous success selling cars on Facebook and YouTube, and I’m talking concrete, measurable, immediate results. In fact, I was one of the pioneers of using self-produced videos to sell and brand dealerships.

The one social network with the most potential, however, remains Facebook. With more than a billion users, 38% of whom are U.S. citizens, it astounds me that more dealers haven’t figured out how to use this powerful medium to market and brand their dealerships.

Facebook’s pay-per-click tool is one of the best laser-targeted models to achieve immediate customer response. Facebook offers a number of options to advertise, boost or promote a specific post or fan page. Personally, I have four fan pages targeting specific segments of my friends and followers, plus my personal page.

And when you combine your efforts on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest under a single strategy, you can take advantage of each site’s strength. Heck, with a complete social media marketing plan, all I need are those four sites to dramatically increase any dealership’s sales.

The real beauty of Facebook advertising is it allows you to target your ad to the people you want seeing it. For instance, I can target people who work for a hospital in my town. Maybe there are only 100 people on Facebook who work at that hospital. Well, Facebook will only charge me for clicks from that specific group. And for an extremely low cost, you can structure a discount membership program for employees of that hospital. I guess you can say the possibilities are infinite.

In recent years I’ve become an evangelist of social media marketing, mainly because I’ve seen it sell so many cars for so many dealers with whom I work. But while there are a number of dealers realizing amazing results from using personalized video marketing on YouTube, there are still many stores stumbling around in the dark when it comes to social media.

Hope this article makes a difference and raises awareness of the potential these new marketing mediums offer. Keep those emails and calls coming.

About the author
Jim Ziegler

Jim Ziegler

President and CEO of Ziegler SuperSystems

Jim Ziegler ranks among the industry's most recognized and honored trainers, consultants, authors, speakers, and forecasters.

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