By California Pony Cars
A number of business owners do not see a benefit in active social media, they have a MySpace or a Facebook page already, but it has not been updated in months or in some cases years. You may be a manager or employee that has been trying to get your company on board with Social Media, but the boss just does not see the value in having an employee "playing" on the internet all day. However, not focusing on this key segment of the aftermarket enthusiast will only hurt your business in the long run as the world moves more and more digital. Remember that majority of your customers are online and with social media they are talking about your business. If you don't believe that Social Media affects your business you may want to spend some time on Google researching your company. You may be surprised to find that countless web pages, blogs, and other sites are talking about your company, products, show cars, customer service, and issues. Browse through the forums, message boards, and blogs that are talking about your product, and then ask yourself what you are doing to leverage this content. If a customer has purchased a product from you and is having a technical problem, wouldn't you like to respond to that customer first? If a customer has posted a great review of your product, shouldn't you share that in your monthly e-newsletter or post it in your blog or on your webpage? Type your company name in Google and see what comes up. A client of mine ran across a website called xyzcompanysucks.com, an entire website created by an angry customer. It was dedicated to letting the world know how he felt he was cheated. The site is no longer updated; however, it is still up almost two years later, and still comes up in the searches when you type in that company name. If you cannot see the value of directly interacting with the most passionate consumers in the industry, at this point, I don't think you ever will. Positive conversations are not being maximized, while complaints are gaining support from other members of the community and not being addressed quickly.Look at two postings from the same online automotive forum below (the name of our competitor has been obscured)
Postive Post about CPC Products: (Click on Photos for full size view)
As can be expected the negative post had over 681 views and countless responses in a matter of days. A number of other members also posted their stories in the thread, about the bad service and poor product quality fanning the flames against the company. I have also included one of the follows up that built on the original post. While the positive story had about the half the number of views, it was locked as a sticky on the thread (locked at the top of the discussion board so all members can see it). Being seen as a service to the community the post is still locked at the top of the page two months after the original post. That is due in part to our Social Media marketing plan that has California Pony Cars active on that message board. The positive thread was posted by a member of the community without our request, and several other members posted their positive experiences with California Pony Cars parts.
If you think they just go after manufactures, you would be wrong, look at this posting on the same site about a Mustang Parts Retailer. You should know when this stuff is being said about your company, that way you can attempt to correct the issues. Sure every once in awhile you will get a nut, but if you see chatter about poorly packed items, or prices, or shipping time, it will give you an idea on where you can improve. On the reverse you can see a lot of positive remarks too and they are great to share with your team.
Check out this post below: (Click on Image)
What manager or owner would not love to have that kind of direct feedback from the consumer, in the case of the postings above both companies are wholesalers with little direct public interaction or feedback. California Pony Cars has used the social media marketing plan and we have not only seen our brand awareness among the general public spike, but they have done it with almost zero print advertising. Now I believe in traditional advertising in print and other media, in fact we have a brand new ad campaign that is designed to drive our customers into the showrooms of our dealers; however, Social Media is a part of our overall marketing plan.When developing your social media strategy you should begin first with understanding the audience. Spend a few weeks on online scouting, observing, and developing an understanding for the online communities. Spamming sites will have a major negative effect, however, if you contribute to the site and don't hide who you are the communities are generally very receptive. Establishing yourself as the expert on the forum will add creditability to your company. Once you have all of this information, your Blog, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace can be tailored for marketing.