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  • Sean Cassy

6 Essential Strategies to Build a Thriving Social Community Around Your Car Dealership

What would you say to your prospects if you could get them in front of you in one place?

Social media lets you engage with them in a meaningful way that encourages participation and creates brand loyalty.

Managing the Community

Before you start any social media campaign, you need someone dedicated to managing it.

A community manager creates an environment that encourages relationships that help members talk to each other. They are advocates for your brand and represent you on a personal level. They manage the group members, moderate the content, establish a culture within the community and welcome new members.

A social media manager creates connective content for the social media platforms. Be it a puppy picture or a manufacturer's short video of a new model, the social media manager is responsible for capturing the attention of the audience. The community manager comes along and engages the group in a discussion of the post.

In a new community, both positions may be necessary.

Build a Community around your Brand

A Facebook group lets you create a gated community of individuals who are interested in engaging with you about your product. By creating a group to go along with your Facebook page, you offer a place for discussion and problem solving. Imagine four or five people discussing the benefits of autonomous braking in a casual atmosphere.

Exclusivity lets you monitor the membership and the conversations. A social media community is 56 percent more loyal to that brand.

Social Listening

Social listening involves the interaction of the community and the manager in a feedback loop.

The feedback loop is short and concise with a resolution goal of only a few hours. When a community member has an issue, your manager needs to listen and respond by determining who best to handle the situation, routing the issue to the right person and following up with both the member and the manager.

This is all taking place in front of your entire community, so it is important to see that they can trust you to handle differences, as well as offer them products.

Avoid Community Management Mistakes

The worse response that you can give to a dissatisfied customer or community base is no response at all.

The community expects the community manager to handle the situation by recognizing the dissatisfaction and working on a resolution.

If the situation is ignored, the community will take their complaints to other social media platforms that you have no control over, so meet the complaint head on in your own environment. Responses should be handled as defined in the feedback loop.

Activate Silent Members

No matter what the size of your community, you are going to have those who never engage.

"Lurkers" are there to read and absorb information without contributing, and there are many reasons why they do not participate. Non-participation does not mean that they are not loyal to your brand; they are there for other reasons. Acknowledge those who "lurk" and encourage them to join in the community.

The more voices that you engage in a conversation, the more insight you will have into your community.

Measure Community Growth, not Numbers

Since communities ebb and flow in the physical world, it is only natural that virtual communities do the same.

Communication is the best measurement of the health of your community. Conversations are the best way to measure the growth of your community.

By maintaining a vibrant and healthy community, you increase your bottom line. It improves customer relations and satisfaction while creating a growing word-of-mouth marketing team.

Now that you have your prospects in one place, what are you going to say?

If you would like to know how to leverage automotive retail communities around your dealership's everyday life don't hesitate to contact the automotive marketing experts at Turbo Marketing Solutions by calling 1-800-262-0081.

------ Sean Cassy is co-owner and digital marketing strategist at Turbo Marketing Solutions. You can contact him if you have any questions regarding the article or how to use communities to generate more leads and sales for your dealers.

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