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THE GOOD FIGHT: Paul John, executive director of the Georgia Independent Automobile Dealers Association, discusses how the association fought against state legislation that would have raised the taxes on used-car purchases.

Social Media Marketing Takes Constant Attention

Social Media Marketing Takes Constant Attention Featured

The replacement of vehicles lost in the recent hurricanes has started and the increased demand combined with the decrease in supply should drive up used-car prices.

There are three reasons why small businesses use social media, according to digital consultancy Clutch: its cost effectiveness, it’s popular and it allows them to target customers.

Missing from this list is the investment in time small business owners, such as car dealers, have to put into their social media marketing.

And by social media, most people these days are really talking about Facebook. A Clutch survey found Facebook to be the dominant platform for both consumers and small business owners.

Clutch recommends that if small business owners only have the time or resources for one channel, then the best option is likely Facebook.

That is the strategy of Kelly Midgett, owner of Kelly’s Automotive in Manteo, N.C.

“I wouldn’t be on Facebook if I didn’t have a car lot,” Midgett said.

Midgett posts every vehicle in his 40-vehicle inventory both on Facebook and on his website. It’s the only advertising he uses.

Facebook grew in popularity as a marketing tool due to its tremendous return on investment. It allowed businesses access to a massive audience at no cost.

That is now changing. Midgett said he now has to pay for Facebook to “boost” his posts in order for them to be seen.

Social media marketing differs from traditional marketing in the interaction.

A post promoting a vehicle for sale does more than inform consumers. It also draws their comments.

Sometime that creates problems. Midgett said everybody can share information on Facebook, much of it wrong.

For example, he recently posted a 2009 Suburban LTZ with 162,000 miles priced $3,000 below the NADA Used Car Guide value. In the comments, a woman tagged her friend, who then said he paid half as much for a truck with fewer miles.

It turns out that truck was an ’01 and not a top-line LTZ package.

“Tagging,” is when somebody on Facebook mentions another person in a post or comment to notify that person. It creates challenges at times in other ways.

Midgett said he has been tagged in posts when somebody in the area says they are looking for a car. A few times, Midgett has already dealt with the person and doesn’t want him as a customer.

For all the hassle, there is a good reason why Midgett uses Facebook – it works. It expands his market and allows him as the only independent in his area to compete with the franchise dealers.

“I recently had a family drive over an hour to buy a 2006 Town and Country minivan because they had seen others on Facebook saying we were the best dealer to deal with,” he said.

Midgett is investing even more in Facebook, bringing on a salesperson full time whose duties will include handling the social media accounts.

Midgett said that while he is under 40, he’s almost too old to really do Facebook properly. This new employee grew up with it.

“If you’re going to be on there, you have to be there and be active,” Midgett said.




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