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  • Melissa Cadieux

Building a Vibrant Online Community For Your Car Dealership

The manufacturers are doing it, and you should be too. They are building online communities revolving around their brand. Now, it is your turn.

Manufacturers like Honda and Chrysler have their own Facebook pages, as well as other social media platforms like Twitter and YouTube where they can interact with their fans. They are engaging people in discussions about the products while their members upload photos of their own vehicles. The Community Managers for these pages are encouraging conversations and interaction. It's a win/win for everyone, and here's why.

Make it About Them

Your community isn't really about you; it's about your customers and focusing on what they like. Like a good host, you let others take the lead. While you may need to supply them with something to get the conversation going such as posting a photo of the latest 300 like Chrysler did, it only took a few moments before that photo was reacted to over 1,500 times and shared more than 88 times in less than 24-hours. It also encouraged others to post their 300 photos.

Because the Community Manager knew what they were doing, they engaged the posters by complimenting their vehicle, asked questions about added aftermarket parts and encouraged others to respond. One question about an aftermarket part engaged four or five more people.

One of the keys to building a community is to reach them emotionally. That is just as easy as letting them talk about their own cars. Open your community up to show off customized vehicles.

Gathering New Members

People are already talking about your dealership, you just have to figure out where. The simplest way might be to google your dealership name and see what comes up. You might find reviews on Yelp or videos on YouTube. No matter where your search goes, you have an opportunity to engage in a conversation and invite people to join your official community.

When your sales team sells a car, make sure that the sales packet includes links to your social networks and invite them to join your family of car owners. You can take photos of new car owners and post them on your Facebook page along with something that personalizes it. "Can't wait to see your vacation photos when you take your new Nissan Rogue to Colorado. Be sure and share with us."

Quality vs Quantity

Always choose quality over quantity. 100 engaged members are better than 1,500 silent members.

It takes time to build a vibrant community, so slow down and get to know everyone as you go along. It is much easier to engage a small number of people you know than a larger group of strangers. "Hey, who wants to see Bob's vacation photos from Colorado in his new Rogue?"

It also makes it easier to connect them to each other when the group is small. Get to know them; get to know their professions and get to know their concerns.

Develop Your Community

As you engage people, you can ask them to do things for you. If you are sponsoring a float in a local parade, ask for volunteers to help build it. If you want to sponsor an art show, ask them if they know people who would be interested in displaying their art.

Other ways that you can bring people into your online community can include giveaways, block parties, test drive marathons, charitable donations and more.

By getting involved in your local community, you will help to build your online community, so don't forget to do meet and greets at the local Chamber of Commerce, sponsor ball teams and give to local charities.

If you have job openings, you can even post them in your Facebook group.

An online community is an extension of your offline community. Both are built by networking.

If you need help and other ideas to build the online automotive community of your car dealership, make sure to reach out to the automotive marketing community specialists of Turbo Marketing Solutions at 1-800-262-0081 every weekday


Melissa Cadieux is the Social Media Manager at Turbo Marketing Solutions and you can email her here or reach her at Turbo Marketing

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