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  • Lucie Gauvreau

3 Community Management Mistakes Your Car Dealership Cannot Afford to Make

Here are some of the quickest ways to destroy the community that you worked hard to create:

  • Blame a mistake on others

  • Refuse to admit a mistake

  • Ignore criticism

  • Attack the community

Now that you know what NOT to do, let us look at three common mistakes that unleash those destructive forces in your community.

There are many car dealership that have had their community outrage play out in real time, and those are on display for everyone else to learn from.

The example I have for you is outside of the car business, but it will bring forth clearly what I’m trying to emphasize in this post:

In 2014, Smucker's, who was sponsoring the U.S.A. in the Sochi Olympics at the time, was caught in a GMO controversy of their own making. They label themselves as "family friendly", but have been proponents of defeating legislation that requires labeling GMOs because they use GMOs in their products.

The company was called out and their Facebook page became inundated with jam eaters expressing their outrage.

Their response?

They deleted the customer's posts, even if they were asking if the news was true. The community manager cited the posts were not within the community guidelines. Soon a boycott was called for and Smucker's then failed to "Protect the Brand".

Social media community building makes you responsible for both your product and the community members.

Here is what happens when you do not address an issue:

  • Social outrage

  • Discourse on the page

  • Brand bashing to destroy the brand

  • Boycotts

The Smucker's example may be extreme, but the general principles are the same no matter what your brand.

#1 Mistake - Slow Response and No Transparency

As soon as you notice a negative review or social media post on your page, you must act.

Here are three steps that need to be taken as soon as a problem arises:

1) Timely Response: A response time less than 12 hours is acceptable and anything over 24 hours for a resolution is a social media disaster. If someone is not happy with how the salesperson treated them, then address the issue and get the information to the sales manager.

2) Empathize: Do more than give lip service to the words "I understand"; make them address the concerns of your community members. If people are upset because you no longer offer a car wash after service, then explain the reason why.

3) Take it Private: Unless your issue is public like the Smucker's incident, it is best to take these conversations to a private channel like Messenger or email. If the situation warrants it, you might want to set up a page for a conversation between several members.

Blanket statements are okay if there is a large uprising, but make sure that you actually address the issue and offer a solution or a pending solution.

You can also use these steps proactively if you know that something your brand has planned will upset the community. If your manufacturer is discontinuing a popular model, then start the conversation in your community. This may prompt someone to buy one before it is gone.

#2 Mistake - No Brand Loyalty Established

If the community is left leaderless, the members will not be inclined to stand up for your brand.

A strong community manager will work to build a brand loyalty within the community. That way should a crisis arise, there is a face the members recognize and trust. You serve the market and not a product, and you have both a manufacturer and a dealership to represent.

#3 Mistake - No Feedback Loop

A community manager has a feedback loop in place that helps avert a social media disaster.

They address the problem in a timely manner, either offer a solution or get the problem to someone who can, and then follow up to ensure a resolution.

This lets the community know that you are listening to them.

To keep your community running smoothly, make sure you have one person handling:

  • Active listening

  • Active communication

  • Actively delegating solutions

  • Actively working on timely resolutions

While social media communities can be filled with challenges, they offer one of the best opportunities to grow your brand in your marketplace. Just make sure that you are not one of the communities that make the mistakes we’ve been talking about and you’ll be fine.

If you would like help setting up, managing or growing your car dealership’s community don’t hesitate to call our automotive marketing Social Media and Community specialists at Turbo Marketing Solutions by calling 1-800-262-0081.


Lucie Gauvreau is the CEO of Turbo Marketing Solutions. You can contact her by email here or reach her every week day by phone at Turbo Marketing Solutions.

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