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Social Media And Automotive Guideline


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Social Media And Automotive Guideline

  1. 1. Social Media Play Book for Mazda 2010 v1 Dealers Social Media and Story Telling Story telling has occurred around the campfire and dinner table for millennia. Now word of mouth is transformed by Social Media, enabling the human desire to communicate using technological opportunities, allowing our stories to spread faster than offline word of mouth was ever capable of. Social media works best when there are good stories to tell, especially when those stories include video and photography to make them come to life, and are made easily available for everyone to see. Like all good skills, storytelling takes practice and while you may be a little uncomfortable in the beginning, if you listen and watch how others do it, you will learn a lot. Everybody loves a good story that is well told, it is part of human nature. Your dealership has a wealth of interesting stories and could probably serve as the subject of an interesting book or motion picture. Most of all, your dealership’s stories are about a lot more than the cars you sell, and the most interesting stories are about the people you employ and the many good things that your business and your team does in your local community. The stories that are traditionally kept within your dealership are likely to be funny, dramatic, fascinating, compassionate, full of hope, and many of the things that make life interesting. With Social Media these stories can now be shared with the world in a place where these stories are welcomed and appreciated. With Social Media you and the people who work on your team are able to let the world know why your dealership is more than just another business, it is a very special place for those that work there and the people they serve. For these and many other reasons, Social Media isn’t for every dealership because it is real work, but it also can be, and should be both fun and shared by your team with friends, relatives, neighbors and customers.
  2. 2. What is this playbook about This playbook is designed to help Mazda dealers understand what Social Media is and how to use it. While there are literally 100’s of Social Media tools, we recommend focusing on the following 4, which are the most significant social media sites within each of their categories: • Flickr • YouTube • Facebook • Twitter The importance of these tools lies beyond the inherent power of Social Media itself; these User Generated Content (UGC) sites can have a big impact on the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) performance objectives for your dealership’s eCommerce website. With over 80% of automotive consumers utilizing the internet in their discovery and shopping process, your competitiveness in the market is determined by your ability to successfully fight for share of voice online. Social Media can help you accomplish this and many other marketing objectives from both a mindset as well as content creation perspective. Social Media success is about being fresh and relevant. Successfully embracing Social Media is about building communities, developing relationships and celebrating communication in the theme of the oldest human past time, Storytelling. As important as Social Media can be by itself, when the implications of its impact on a dealership’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are factored in, it becomes even more relevant to your business success. During the winter of 2009, Google changed their search engine ranking algorithms to reflect the increased popularity of social media and better account for both the freshness of content, as well as which content is being shared or socialized the most. This means that the more relevant your dealership’s presence becomes in Social Media, the more relevant your dealership becomes on Google search, and the higher your messages and websites will rank in Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) in the future. Why? Because Google is responding to the overwhelming popularity of Social Media among the people who use their search engine and their changes are representative of the constantly changing landscape that occurs in the digital world. Use Social Media to celebrate and recognize all the human aspects of your dealership. Imagine using your Facebook page (and your website) to display and share videos (linked to YouTube) of people who are taking delivery of their new Mazda, seen explaining why they are so happy with the car, your dealership, and most of all the people who work there. Because Facebook is a social medium designed to let people share what they find with others, your customers seen in the video go home, get online and see they have a massage alerting them to a new video clip that was posted by your dealership, that is “Tagged” as showing them in it. Your newest customer can watch this video by accepting your dealership’s “Friend” request and becoming a “Fan” on your dealership’s Fan page in Facebook. As these customers watch their video they smile, laugh and simply cannot resist sharing the clip with all their friends, family and selected coworkers… They are not only proud of their new Mazda, they are VERY proud of buying it from a dealership that is far above any other dealership in providing a joyful and
  3. 3. rewarding purchase experience… They now understand the spirit of Zoom Zoom! They cannot resist sharing their excitement and the image of successfully achieving the American dream shown by this video of them with their new Mazda, so with the click of a mouse they send it to all their online friends and family. As they do this, they know they are helping your dealership build recognition and a positive reputation through this exposure, but they feel good about it because it is a small price to pay for how great it makes them feel when their Facebook friends post comments congratulating them after watching the video. This guide will walk you through some of the most essential Social Media basics and as you and your dealership team members raise the inevitable questions concerning so many of the how’s, why’s, when’s and who’s of Social Media Marketing , I encourage you to explore several easy to use and valuable resources such as: 1. Book; “The Social Media Bible” by Lon Safko and David K. Brake 2. Documents; Go to and explore the hundreds of PowerPoint presentations and PDF documents available for download and as web based slideshows about Social Media. 3. Video; Go to and use the keyword “Socialnomics” in YouTube’s search engine. Socialnomics is the title of a book written by Eric Qualman, who created an animated video presentation showcasing many eye opening facts and news about how significant Social Media has become There are thousands of blogs that contain information about Social Media, so I encourage you to do Google searches using the following keywords: a. “Automotive Digital Marketing” b. “Automotive Social” c. “SocialMedia” d. “Social Marketing for Car Dealers”, “Social Media Marketing for Car Dealers” and “social marketing for car dealers”. So let’s look at when you should do Social Media and please e-mail any questions or comments on this guide.
  4. 4. Read before starting Social Media Social Media like all communication is the distribution of information and as is often the case, is misinformation. The Internet is a content aggregator and if Social Media is one chapter of that content your Website represents an entire book. If you participate in Social Media you can help guide the message and more importantly listen for opportunities to share the stories around your dealership. Before you jump into the deep end of the Social Media pool there are a few things that we should cover. There are two components that need to be in place before moving forward. First get your website in good order. Your website should act as the hub of digital activity. You should think of your website as the physical dealership (that exists on the internet). Is the inventory up to date? Does the site look clean and have a purpose or does it look like a collection of random screaming signs? Do you have content on your website that speaks to all the good things your dealership does in the community? Do you have pictures and video of your staff? If not that’s ok but you should put a plan in place to do so as you roll out Social Media. Understanding that Social Media will not result in sales in the next 30 days is important. In fact the goal isn’t to overtly drive traffic to your website, but that will happen and what visitors find at your website will either cement the relationship or derail it. Focus on your website first. If you need help regarding your website there are many companies available who can provide well designed websites, Mazda happens to have a relationship with Dealerskins (see for additional information). Additionally, the Mazda digital team would be happy to provide input and guidance on an individual basis. The Second element that needs to be in order is the processes your dealership has around internet customers (both service and sales leads). If you do not have a documented process and it is just being handled, stop and document the process so that these customers are being treated in a consistent manner that you would be proud of. Understand what works to create satisfied customers who refer business. This step is important because bad experiences will be shared as well as good ones and Social Media in combination with the latest technologies and mobile devices will make it happen with more volume and velocity than ever. Having a process in place at least provides the framework for consistency and also the baseline for improvement. Once you have accomplished these two steps then you may be ready for Social Media, but first you will have to ask yourself what is Social Media good for? Social Media: Good for the soul and great for the Brand.i The soul of a business is in its relationship with customers. It is not the business that has the relationship, it is the cumulative efforts of its team members (employees) that do. Our employees are the soul of our businesses. Take care of your soul (your employees) and they will represent your brand in a great way. This is true online or off. Social Media has had positive impact on employee retention in many cases. If empowered employees begin to feel ownership and pride in the dealership they talk about it to their friends and family and this is the core of Social media.
  5. 5. Social Media helps to amplify a Brand, but its goal isn’t to sell the deal, in fact it’s to sell the dealership! I remember a General Sales Manager who shared his four step approach for selling. 1)Sell them on yourself 2)Sell them on why this dealership 3)Sell them on why this product 4)Sell them on why this deal The point was to earn the customer’s trust on a personal and team level and then land them on a product and purchase plan. As an active member of your community the benefits your dealership brings to the community is a part of the value-add equation your dealership brings to its customers. In short when a customer buys from your dealership they are helping to support the community through the taxes that you pay, the people that you employ, the social causes and charities that you support and so on. In return for purchasing a Mazda at your store, customers are investing in their community. Social Media can amplify the stories around each of these elements which can be leveraged to bolster your dealership’s reputation. Capturing and sharing the stories around all of the community service activities your dealership is involved with is important because as more and more shoppers are researching not only the Make and Model but the dealership, it is important to have information available for them to read. This content provides another benefit to your dealership in the form of search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is increasingly taking into account mentions and references within the Social Media space. Participation in Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Twitter can help your website increase its SEO effectiveness. Google’s latest search algorithms (Google Caffeine) places more emphasis on fresh content. This is yet another reason to participate with Social Media. So how do you engage with Social Media? Start with listening and learning. I will walk through several free tools with which you can see and hear what is being said about your dealership. Getting the lay of the land is the first step. I don’t want your dealership to have paralysis from analysis. If you don’t like what you see or hear; don’t argue with it instead solve it. Solve the customers concerns (if possible) but under no circumstance get into a debate or heated discussion online. When you get ready to engage in Social Media utilize a member(s) of your team who is fluent in Social Media (probably someone in the 18-29 age group). This should be fun for them but formalize time and compensation for them to work on Social Media.
  6. 6. Listening Listening is often harder then speaking. Social Media is a process that will build value for your dealership over a time. It starts with understanding where the perception of your dealership presently is. This can often be a painful exercise but it is critical because of the permanence of materials on the internet. I will outline several tools that will allow you to get a high level view of where your dealership stands in the Social Mediascape. I suggest that you look at all of them and consider using them in an ongoing fashion not only to monitor your reputation but also the reputations of your competitors from which you can mine ideas and learning... You should not rely on any single tool because each has its filters, I would recommend using: Google, Social Mention, How Sociable, Yelp and Technorati in addition to monitoring your dealership on Edmunds and other automotive specific forums. If you are interested in additional tool sets contact me and I will share my latest findings with you. Things you should be listening for: •The general vibe about the Mazda brand •The general vibe about your dealership •Specific problems or opportunities for your dealerships (complaints, compliments, etc. that yield insights into areas for improvement) •Finding your friends online. Look for the people who are writing about your dealership, good or bad. Keep in mind that anyone who takes the time to write about you is valuable. And even if someone has bad things to say, that person can generally pretty easily be turned around and can often become an avid supporter.
  7. 7. Social Listening Tools: Listening online should always start with the search engines. Utilize Google, Yahoo and Bing and search your dealership and even your competitor’s dealerships to understand what is being presented. Don’t stop at the first page of results look on a many pages as there is relevant content. Don’t just think sales; think about your dealership from a Parts and Service perspective too! Each of the search engines also have Images, Video, Maps, Shopping and in some cases Local. The next thing that you should do is go onto your mobile phone and do the same thing. Mobile web use has been increasing and with the confluence of the iPhone, Motorola Droid and soon to be released Apple and Google tablet computers, mobile will probably start to enter a new growth phase. Check your results in each of these categories and if you need help check with the person who works on your search engine optimization efforts or give the specific property a call and ask for help. Additional Tools Social Mention: Social Mention describes itself as a social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user generated content from across the universe into a single stream of information. It allows you to easily track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web's social media landscape in real-time. Social Mention monitors 100+ social media properties directly including: Twitter, Face book, Friend Feed, YouTube, Digg, Google, etc. Go to for more details What should you do with Social Mention? Go to the tool and enter your dealerships’ name. Don’t get lost in the sentiment scores but look at where and how your dealership is mentioned. This is one of my favorite free listening tools and it provides both a monitoring services as well as the ability to perform a deeper dive into the Social Media-scape relative to your dealership.
  8. 8. One of the many features I like about SocialMention is its ability to drill down into categories (Blogs, Micro blogs, Network, Comments, Events, News, Video, Audio, Questions) and also into one or a few of the Social Media sites that you desire. Another useful feature is its ability to set up daily e-mail alerts. That allows you to receive updates right to your e-mail box. Yelp: Yelp is an independent site with millions of user-submitted evaluations targeted on a local basis. While some view the site as being named for its howling customers, Yelp is hugely popular and in many ways has replaced the Yellow Pages. Yelp is one site where consumers share their experience; however it’s one of the few that lets reviewees talk back. After businesses expressed concern about their reputation getting unfairly represented on their site, Yelp responded by allowing proprietors to e-mail reviewers directly and make instant changes to their company profiles on the site. They are receiving over 20 million unique visitors every month and have created mobile applications for their tools.
  9. 9. So what do you do? Find your business on Yelp, claim it and make sure that you actively engage with Yelp. While you are at it take a look at some of your competitors on Yelp just to be familiar with what consumers are saying about them. Technorati: Technorati is one of the first blog search engines and currently indexes millions of blog posts in real time and surfaces them in seconds. tracks not only the authority and influence of blogs, but also the most comprehensive and current index of who and what is most popular in the blogosphere. While it focuses on more macro issues, you should search your dealership name or the names of your competitors to see what is being captured and reported in the blogosphere.
  10. 10. Engaging You have completed the listening phase and you are ready to jump into the social media pool. Social Mention lists nearly 80 different tools. I want you to focus on Four (Facebook, You Tube, Flickr and Twitter). While there are varieties (100s) of social media environments, these four have the greatest critical mass. Facebook gets over a 120 million unique visitors a month. YouTube gets over 80 million unique visitors a month. Flickr gets over 25 million unique visitors a month and is often the image engine powering Facebook pages. While there are many other sites, these are the four that we (Mazda) have focused on and I believe that your dealership should focus on. YouTube (Create and Post Video) YouTube is an important element of your digital strategy, regardless of your entry into the Social Media space. YouTube is now the second largest search engine on the web, so if you’re not posting video there, you’re missing out on a significant opportunity to reach potential customers. Your dealership should be shooting video of your new and used car inventory and posting it on YouTube. The SEO importance of having video on YouTube is critical to your website’s ranking in Google. Because of the viral nature of video, it serves as a platform to propagate links for your website which will increase the relevance of your website in Google. Put your commercials on YouTube, put outtakes of your commercials on YouTube, put video of any events that your dealership sponsors on YouTube, put videos of your entire used and new inventory on YouTube. And please make sure that you have appropriately tagged the videos with your dealerships name and website among the other metadata fields. Flickr (Post Still Photos) While there are many photo sharing sites, Flickr is one of my favorites because of its abundant use within Facebook. Out of all the photo sharing websites, Flickr’s community is arguably the best and the most social. The tool is easy to use and many people turn to it as a stock photography resource. Again, like YouTube, you want to post pictures of any events that you are sponsoring (e.g. the little league team), parties or charities and of course any new and used inventory. Go onto Flickr and search for Mazda: you will find over 159,000 items. Now search for your dealership or better yet Mazda plus the name of your town… What do you find? Facebook (Create a Fan Page) With over 90 million people on Facebook in the United States and over 300 million worldwide, Face book is the largest and arguably most influential social environment. If you are going to invest your time / money into a Social Media effort, Facebook is where you should turn to third, yes third. First get your videos posted onto YouTube then your images onto Flickr… now you are ready to create a Facebook page. Have fun and make sure that your team (employees) know about the page and use it to help celebrate and motivate them. Not everyone in your dealership will be into Facebook, but you can be sure everyone has heard of it and even if they don’t admit it they are curious what all the noise is about. Keep it fun and respectful and recognize that there is a social media code of conduct which you should follow.
  11. 11. Twitter Twitter was born from a desire of friends to stay abreast of what they are doing. A cross between blogging and text messaging Twitter is more about broadcasting than conversations. The 140 character limitation makes the tool a challenge for anyone who is long winded. The strength of Twitter is really found in events where there is information that needs to be rolled out in a quick manner. For business it is important to know what Twitter is and watch how it (and other similar products like Plurk and Twitxr) evolves. If you do participate in Twitter (then you would be tweeting) I would encourage you to follow the axiom of having something interesting to say and be interested in what is being said. The recipe on micro-blogging isn’t finalized but it is clearly in the mainstream. If you have questions about Twitter I encourage you to call me Mazda as a Social Media Brand Mazda has been recognized as one of the most adopted enthusiast automotive brands. Forrester research cites Mazda owners as among the most creative forces in the automotive Social Media space. In Facebook with minimal corporate participation there are more Mazda groups than VW or Porsche. The difference is that other Brands have put capital and resources behind their social media efforts and the volume of fans are dramatically larger. Mazda has an opportunity to support this community as champions of the Mazda Brand. What is Mazda doing in the social space? Solidifying our fan base. As you probably already know, Mazda has been recognized as a leading enthusiast brand. Forrester Research has recognized Mazda owners for their devotion to the brand, and there are more consumer-generated Mazda groups on Facebook and other social networks than for many larger automotive brands. Until now, consumers have been loving Mazda on their own, without any significant support or organization from the company. So our first order of business is to embrace all of our brand champions out there and let them know that Mazda cares about them and supports what they're doing. With a little encouragement, these evangelists will help carry the brand forward in effective and authentic ways. Mazda is building beachheads in relevant Social Media environments, each with its own purpose. For example: - Twitter. Connecting with people who are talking about their Mazda’s and their affinity for the brand. - Facebook. Creating a network of Mazda enthusiasts to share ideas and various types of content. - YouTube. Giving enthusiasts access to high quality racing footage, and building relationships with the people who are creating their own videos related to Mazda. - Flickr. Offering access to professional quality product shots and giving aspiring photographers the opportunity to have their work seen.
  12. 12. See: Mazda in Social Media @ What does Mazda expect to gain? The benefits of having an active fan base that is aligned with the brand's strategy are profound. First of all, this creates an audience which has given permission to engage them. Instead of hoping they'll receive our marketing messages, our previous relationships with them mean that they'll not only engage with us, but also introduce us to new audiences we're not currently reaching. By being part of these authentic, peer-to-peer conversations, Mazda will reach new consumers efficiently and without the challenges of having to convince them to consider the brand.
  13. 13. Closing thoughts on Social Media Do not think of social media as only digital. The core of social media is an experience. Think about the technology as an amplifier through which your experience can be shared. The idea is to capture the stories that resonate with people. Use Twitter to gather the stream of comments during an event and then facebook/flickr/YouTube to publish the experience for everyone to share. If you are going to implement social media with-in your dealership there has to be some ground rules. What is said on-line is permanent. Don’t write anything in anger and where necessary take the conversation off-line and in private. A simple rule of thumb is to expect that everything that you write will be on the cover of your hometown newspaper. If you are uncomfortable with that, then rethink what you are writing/publishing. Just as social skills are necessary in life they also apply in the on-line world. The same concept is applied to legal rules. If you write something online that is defamatory you are held to the same legal standard as if you published the comment in a newspaper. I recommend that each dealership have a Social Media Policy that every employee acknowledges and have provided a sample in the appendix. Social Media Policies (for reference only) Do not forget about updating your Human Resource Policies. Several companies have published their Social Media policies at Chris Boudreaux has done an excellent job in aggregating and sharing best practices in Social Media Governance. APPENDIX Sample Social Media policy -For personal blogs or social media interactions: 1.If I write anything related to (Insert Dealer Name Here) on my personal pages, or posts or comments on the pages belonging to any third-parties, I will clearly identify my business affiliation with (Insert Dealer Name Here). 2.The manner of disclosure can be flexible as long as it is clear to the average reader, directly connected to the relevant post, or provides a means of communicating further (Example disclosure methods could include: usernames that include the company name, link to bio or about me page, or statement in the post itself “I work for __<company>___ and this is my personal opinion.”) 3.I will specifically clarify which posts/comments are my own opinions vs. official corporate statements.
  14. 14. 4.Writing which does not mention work-related topics does not need to mention the employment relationship. 5.If I choose to blog anonymously, I will not discuss matters related to (Insert Dealer Name Here). If any (Insert Dealer Name Here) -related topics are mentioned, I will disclose my affiliation with the Company. 6.Even though your blog posts may be primarily made up of personal opinion, do your research well and check that your facts are accurate. Make sure you have permission to post any copyrighted or confidential information (e.g., images) to your blog, and be careful about posting or linking to items that may contain viruses. 7.(Insert Dealer Name Here) does not intend to “police” the social media community. Quite the contrary: we want to aggregate all the powerful stories (Insert Dealer Name Here) employees are telling and showcase your individual contribution and gather links on a Dealers website. If you intend to discuss (Insert Dealer Name Here) in social media, please contact (insert Name) at (Insert Phone Number or e-mail address) for questions, concerns or general guidance. 8.Blog postings may generate media coverage. If a member of the media contacts you about a (Insert Dealer Name Here) -related blog posting or requests (Insert Dealer Name Here) information of any kind, contact PR at ______. You should also reach out for PR for clarification on whether specific information has been publicly disclosed before you blog about it. When communicating with blogs or bloggers on behalf of your dealership, I will: 1.Disclose who I am, who I work for and any other relevant affiliations from the very first encounter. 2.Always be truthful. 3.Never ask bloggers to write a fake endorsement or something they do not believe. 4.Never use off-topic comment for self-promotional intent. 5.Never take action contrary to the specific boundaries, terms and conditions, and community guidelines set by each blog. 6.Use extreme care when communicating with minors or blogs intended to be read by minors. 7.Comply with all laws and regulations regarding disclosure of identity. 8.Make it clear to our employees and agencies that these rules apply to them.
  15. 15. Sample Social Media Code of Ethics (for Company blogs and social media profiles) 1.I will tell the truth. 2.I will write deliberately and with accuracy. 3.I will acknowledge and correct mistakes promptly. 4.I will preserve the original post, using notations to show where I have made changes so as to maintain the integrity of my publishing. 5.I will never delete a post. 6.I will not delete comments unless they are spam, off-topic, or obscene. 7.I will reply to emails and comments when appropriate, and do so promptly. 8.I will strive for high quality with every post – including basic spellchecking. 9.I will stay on topic. 10.I will disagree with other opinions respectfully. 11.I will link to online references and original source materials directly. 12.I will disclose conflicts of interest. 13.I will keep private issues and topics private, since discussing private issues would jeopardize my personal and work relationships. These are only samples please consult your attorney for legal advice relative to this area. Last but not least don’t be afraid of social media just be prepared for what you will find. It is neither all positive nor negative and the community is incredibly forgiving and optimistic. To start with go online and look at What Mazda has done and if you have questions call me (David Harris 949-727-6457)
  16. 16. i iMedia