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Dealers find their own way with social media

Dealers are not relying on manufacturers to help lead the way with how they should be using social media to engage with customers.

According to AM’s latest online poll, an overwhelming 85.2% of respondents receive no guidance or inspiration from manufacturers regarding social media.

It’s an issue which will be explored at the AM Digital Dealer Conference (booking details available at www.am-online.com/am-digital-dealer/) on February 21.

Many dealers have told AM that while the automotive sector is still behind many other areas of the service industry, dealers are taking a proactive approach when it comes to forming their own digital strategies, away from manufacturer imposed standards.

However, some manufacturers – such as Peugeot, Citroën, Mercedes-Benz and Honda – were highlighted as brands that are providing workshops and switched-on viral marketing strategies that are “stretching the boundaries” of standard customer engagement.

Citroën’s DS4Seekers, Mercedes’ Escape the Map and Honda’s Experiment Game have all provided fun content which has got customers talking about the brands on Facebook and Twitter.

Comments from the poll:

“Some manufacturers are creating innovative social experiences, as opposed to just occasional Tweets or Facebook likes. However, despite what suppliers will claim, social media in automotive is still very much in its infancy.”

“The worst culprits are those manufacturers who insist on dealers being represented by a corporate, blanket design website accessed typically via a ‘locate a dealer’ link. These represent an appalling customer experience, devoid of all personality.”

“The industry as a whole is backwards, archaic in its outlook and needs a total digital overhaul from manufacturer to retailer.”

“Just having a Facebook page just doesn’t work. Moreover, your customers engage in this social media and dealers neither know how to use it nor how to
self-promote. The days of the local rag advert have sadly gone.”

“Manufacturers consider social media another sales channel rather than the engagement tool that it is.”

“Manufacturers, as usual, are slow off the mark, leaving the dealer network to take the lead.”

“It’s easy for the manufacturer to run a course, but unless the dealer has spare manpower to operate social networking, you need to engage a third party to handle it.”

“I feel car manufacturers are very much behind the times when it comes to social media and internet sales. Manufacturers need to broaden their horizons when it comes to the digital age.”

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