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Online strategies for used car dealers to deal with ‘Generation C’

Heather Yaxley, Motor Industry Public Affairs Association director spoke to attendees about how to understand and engage with the ‘connected generation’ – Generation C – and the importance for dealers of cutting through the volume of online content.

Members of Generation C live online and are providing immense amounts of information about themselves, she said. All of this is free. Dealers just need to pay attention.

“Start on the road to becoming a social business – the generation coming through is going to be more connected than ever. Any kid under eight thinks that everything swooshes,” she said.

     See more images from the AM Used Car Market Conference 2014

When members of the connected generation pick up a new car, they don’t want a bunch of flowers, they want to share with their ‘network’ that they’ve bought a new car, she said. Dealers can take a picture of them picking up their car on their phone – a customer sharing this on social media will expand a dealership’s reach, firstly to their followers and if they favourite or retweet, this engagement grows again.

“Facebook is old now. It’s a bit like going to a disco dancing like a dad, it’s better to be avoided than to be seen using tech that is ‘yesterday’,” Yaxley said. Dealers need to research what is popular, paying particular attention to Twitter and Instagram.

     Read more from the AM Used Car Market Conference 2014

Not outsourcing social media will ensure that there is always a link between a business and the consumer.

Yaxley’s key online strategies to deal with members of Generation C are to; watch, research and follow before engaging. They are happily broadcasting for free information that dealers previously paid marketing and research companies for. Businesses are and should be taking advantage of this.

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  • Alex H - 02/12/2014 09:01

    As part of generation C, I find that her views are completely out of touch and potentially border on patronising: 'When members of the connected generation pick up a new car, they don't want a bunch of flowers, they want to share with their ‘network’ that they’ve bought a new car...' - Really?! You think that flowers wouldn't have an impact on the customer buying experience but the gesture of 'offering a selfie' would? Do you really think that we are in such a bubble that gestures offering actual thought and substance is completely lost on us? Where the older generations go wrong is in listening to individual 'experts' on the matter, who happen to be roughly double the age. It's a bit like an American commenting on Chinese subculture: Do you really know what you are talking about or are you just talking about what you observe on the surface, in a way that to the masses seems convincing? It's a shame that you get the behavioural aspects so wrong, as some parts of what is being said have real merit, such as looking to other networks and what is popular, but describing Facebook as 'yesterday' is simply false, especially as it's only 2 years older that Twitter. What is clear is how she doesn't understand the difference between the popularity of a network and the engagement that businesses get out of a network. Facebook is still the most popular network and is ever growing in users and individual usage. Yet, 'organic reach' is dropping for pages due to changes in the 'content delivery algorithm'. This has been changed over time to gear content that the users see towards paid content and content created by other users, rather than unpaid content from business pages. Last time I checked, advertisers weren't running away from facebook in their droves. For anyone that doesn't quite understand it, search about 'Facebook Zero'. Ogilvy did a white paper back in March and you'll note that in it Facebook isn't ever described as 'yesterday' or even worse; 'a bit like going to a disco dancing like a dad'. In all, I disagree with the concept of motor industry representatives presenting at conferences what we should all be doing, discussions on social media at these kinds of events should be exactly that: a discussion, not a speech. Please take these people and their logic with a pinch of salt, otherwise I fear that next time I take my car in for a service it won't get valeted, and instead i'll get a digital invoice that I can share on social media, all because i'm generation C.