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Outsourced or in-house? Social media strategy for car dealers

Social media with manufacturer input

In many ways the advent of social media as a major marketing strategy has provided dealers with more freedom as it does not lend itself so readily to strict corporate guidelines.

However, manufacturers have the resources to create engaging and entertaining on-brand content as well as employing specialists.

By working together, dealers and manufacturers can create a unified voice, according to Bloom Worldwide, responsible for implementing Toyota’s integrated social media strategy with dealers across 31 countries in Europe.

Chief executive Kate Cooper said: “Dealers hold the direct relationship with the customer and, in many cases, the customer data itself. So Toyota has had to seek ways to ensure a quality digital experience for Toyota customers by working collaboratively with dealers.

“At dealership level, social media is often only part of one person’s job and therefore our approach has been very practical with hands-on training, advice and content assets to help drive engagement.”

Key performance indicators (KPIs) ensure that dealers meet minimum standards in terms of quality of service provided through social media and each dealer is set targets for metrics including reach, engagement and advocacy.

The common ground between all three approaches to social media, and their varying levels of central management, appears to be a structured way of working, but the key for all is providing not just good, but exceptional content consistently.


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  • Jason Moorhouse - 30/06/2014 12:43

    Great article and a valuable insight for motor groups stepping out into the world of Social media. During the past year of handing the Social Media output of Dews Motor Group I have learned a lot about engagement with our customers, and how important the right kind of Social Media content can change the perception of the company as a whole. As many of you will know, sell, sell, sell doesn't work on this kind of platform, all you are going to do is switch off your audience with either a 'unfollow' or a 'unlike'. People have adverts thrown at them all day long and the last bastion of personal on-line leisure time lies within Social Media, this is their time to relax and look at things that interest them. Give your company a name and a face to engage with, some light hearted content with a dusting of information about your latest offers in the right balance then you in turn create opportunities for people to approach you. I agree with Anna's comments, but I feel that to be able to engage effectively within a small or even medium sized company you need to have the in-house ability to react fast and be able to capitalise on opportunities presented. The new wave of Social media now gets people closer than ever to the brand they want to engage with, be it for a positive outcome or to air their views about a negative experience. So I would argue that the statement on the position of SME’s not being able to make provision for a Social Media Strategy should be contested, I feel that in the changing shape of communications with brands and the increased customer expectations you simply can’t afford to ignore this. Speed, Response and Trust expected from the modern customer is on the up and doesn't look set to plateau or go into decline any time soon and the best and most effective way of providing this is to man your Social Media stations. At the recent Car Dealer Magazine conference I was lucky enough to experience the new wave of small franchise/independent motor retailers paving the way on Social Media platforms. Proving that you don’t necessarily need big budgets and teams of marketing professionals to make an impact, just great content, charismatic people and the ability to personify your brand.

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