This is Part 1 in a 5 part series.
When it comes to teaching some of the more advanced techniques in search engine marketing and social media promotions, we often find that we create challenges. It isn’t that the techniques we use are hard once the individual components are understood. It’s that the individual components themselves are often challenging to turn into a reality. In other words, saying something like, “take your most powerful and influential social media profiles and generate a bunch of likes, tweets, and +1s to your viral pages” is easier said than done.
I have found myself on the receiving end of criticism from industry leaders who say that I make things sound too easy. We have been building a small army of social media experts through our Hasai product line since 2008, so “taking something viral” is second nature to us. However, most dealers do not have a dozen accounts with Klout scores in the 70s at their disposal, so it leaves dealerships with two options if they want to take full advantage of the search and social benefits that such profiles and accounts create.
- Build up the accounts using an aggressive and time-consuming series of techniques to build the social media reputation of both individual and company accounts
- Hire us
Believe it or not, we would much rather you do option 1. It may sound counter-intuitive, but having powerful social media accounts can only go so far. We have a much easier time delivering on services when we work as a partner with dealers who have established social media presences rather than the alternative which is to hire us to do everything. When we’re able to apply our strategy and help dealers with their search and social marketing rather than control it all from our end, the results are much higher. Just ask DSES speaker Jeff Cryder from Lebanon Ford.
That is why we often go against the grain that many vendors have established; we openly offer the “keys to the castle” and give out our trade secrets in order to have an educated dealer community who can take full advantage of both our products as well as the others that are available in the industry.
Here’s what happens today in search and social. Dealers either:
- Work with vendors who do everything but don’t do it well
- Work with vendors who do everything pretty well
- Work with partners who combine expertise and joint goals with the assets of the dealership to create a dominating relationship that yields tremendous results for both the dealer and the vendor
We believe we fall into category 2 or 3 depending on the willingness and activity level of the dealership. What does all this mean? It means that we want you to be able to build a strong social media reputation with powerful profiles and state-of-the-art strategies driving them. Only then can the highest level of success be found.
The Louie Baur Reputation Model
When we brought Louie on board in 2008, he joined me in the quest to find the best ways to build strong profiles. These were the keys to many things in the past and we’ve been steadfast in our pursuit of them ever since. In 2012, the combination of the Google Penguin update and the shift towards social/local/mobile made the use of social media “power profiles” so very important for success in search and social. It’s no longer a matter of automated strategies or spamming techniques working magic on the search engines and social sites. Today (and more so in 2013) having strong profiles with great social media reputations can be the difference between success and failure.
Rather than use Louie’s story as the example, I’m going to point to a known industry leader who knows both the power of reputation as well as the techniques to make them larger. In many ways, he’s doing the things in the automotive industry that Louie has done outside of the industry. Let’s take a look at Grant Cardone.
Much like Louie, Grant has done an exceptional job at building up an incredibly strong presence on the two primary networks of influence: Facebook and Twitter. The difference is that he is the product while search and social marketing are Louie’s products. That distinction doesn’t change the strategies. In both cases, it’s important to be an influencer with a strong social media reputation in order to achieve the goals. Both have Klout scores of 78. Both are extremely active on social media. Both put out controversial and entertaining content that their audiences enjoy.
At the dealership level, the same thing needs to happen though not necessarily at the same scale. Pages and profiles for the dealership must gain respect. Individual profiles of dealership employees (preferably the GM, owner, or someone close to that level) should move up in reputation at the local level as well. The key to making this happen is aggressive but worth it.
The way that most are able to become influential in social media is a combination of two things – strong activity and intelligent interactions. When I see Twitter accounts that are turned into feeds, I cringe. When I see Facebook pages and profiles that are not posting 90%+ images or text (in other words, not links), I worry. Influence is often a matter of playing the game. The game on social media is to talk to people. It’s to inspire people. It’s to ask questions and engage with the responses.
Social media is about being social.
In Part II, we will discuss specific strategies on how to make this happen. For now, take a look at your profiles and pages. Are they truly engaging? Are they exceptional? They should be. Whether the goal is expanding the reach of the brand the way that Grant has done or in exposing viral content to search and social the way Louie has (or both), the only requirement is a strong social media reputation. You can do it. We’ll show you how soon.