Are Hand-Me-Downs Acceptable at Your Dealership?

Are your posts fresh or recycled

Look, I get it. I understand that it’s hard for vendors and OEMs to produce a social media solution for their dealers that scales properly while still bringing in good content. I do not, however, understand the concept of not even trying to mix things up. There’s an easy road and a hard road for automotive social media, but there’s also the right road, the one that scales properly while still maintaining individuality and creativity at the core of the service.

I know this for a fact. I’ve developed it.

It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t hard, either. It took some time, plenty of planning, a ton of testing, and an unyielding principle to do for clients what I would want done if I were at a dealership, but the results have been astounding (beyond my own expectations) and the effort is exactly as it should be – enough to make a strategy that helps dealers sell more cars but not so much that it become cost prohibitive. Every dealer and vendor should examine what they’re doing in social media and decide whether or not it’s worth risking your dealership’s reputation by reposting content from someone else.

Keep in mind, sharing is perfectly acceptable. If you see something on a different Facebook page that your audience will enjoy, share it! Don’t do it too often – it’s not algorithmically viable to have shared content filling your page – but it’s better than grabbing it and reposting it. What’s worse is to grab it and repost it on a bunch of other dealers’ pages as well.

I first noticed this during the Toyota Corolla launch a couple of weeks ago. We posted an image of the new Corolla and it did very well for our client. Minutes later, it was posted again. And again. And again. There’s no telling how many Toyota dealers had the same content posted almost simultaneously, but it wasn’t a case of imitation being the best for of flattery. It was ridiculous, but I let it go. Maybe someone was in a hurry. Maybe our post was just that compelling and needed to be shared. I didn’t think it was a standard practice, but now I know differently.

You deserve better. Your content should be unique regardless of how widespread your marketing company is. Again, and I cannot stress this enough, it’s scalable and extremely effective to post 100% unique content on Facebook for hundreds, even thousands of clients. It’s not acceptable to take shortcuts for the sake of a vendor’s bottom line. It shouldn’t be this way. There’s way too much potential with social media done the right way to allow laziness or cost savings to supersede a client’s needs.

That’s it. Sorry for the rant. This stuff gets me riled up.

JD Rucker

+JD Rucker is Editor at Soshable, a Social Media Marketing Blog. He is a Christian, a husband, a father, and founder of Dealer Authority. He drinks a lot of coffee, usually in the form of a 5-shot espresso over ice. Find him on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

4 thoughts on “Are Hand-Me-Downs Acceptable at Your Dealership?

  1. Hi JD,

    I think you raise an interesting point. Should all dealer content be a carbon copy of an OEM’s? Absolutely not. But should it be completely unique? Again, absolutely not. There are certain shots, assets and other information that OEMs produce that only they can. We *want* the content to be shared. And that includes by the dealers.

    A healthy content strategy will have a mix of content, and it should absolutely be customized to an audience, with a local flair. But does it matter that 50 dealerships post the same photo? No, and I’ll tell you why. Because a consumer is likely only following ONE dealership. It doesn’t bother them where the dealer sourced the information from, or that other dealerships are posting the same thing. It bugs you because you see all of them as an industry practitioner.

    Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer. They don’t care about shortcuts, which vendor is used or who else is posting something. They care about content that resonates with them.

    Scott Monty
    Global Digital Communications
    Ford Motor Company

  2. I absolutely see your point, Scott, but there’s two challenges there. First, if we’re talking about OEM level content, then a unified message is important. Ford has made the most progress towards making this happen amongst the OEMs but it’s still not perfect.
    The second reason is much more important and something that just about everyone in the automotive industry is missing. Geo-targeted Facebook ads have been the most powerful tool for proactively selling new cars through social media. Done properly, Facebook ads can expose a dealer’s message to tens of thousands of local residents even if only a few hundred are actually following the page. It’s all about proximity within the market area, not following. If two dealers post the same non-OEM-relevant content within a market and both are using Facebook ads, there’s a very good chance that hundreds or thousands of local residents will see the duplication.
    With a proper OEM-level message, this is gold. You would want to have a unified voice and I’ve been trying to get an audience with an OEM to show how this can be extremely effective. With a picture of a car and a trivial question about movies as with the example above, it’s like wearing the same outfit as someone else to a cocktail party.
    It should be noted that I was clued into this particular incident when I saw a comment posted to one of the images from a customer who said something to the effect of, “I just saw this same question posted by XXXX Ford five minutes ago.”
    OEM or tier 2 brand messaging = unified voice.
    Movie trivia picture = annoying laziness as perceived by customers.

  3. BTW, Scott, this would be a great debate or panel discussion at one of the upcoming conferences. I’m attending all of them – if any fit into your schedule I think it would make for great education for dealers. AutoCon, Digital Dealer, DrivingSales, IS20Group, Battle Plan – pick a month. Other than December there’s a conference every month.

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