Social Media Helps Dealers Build Better Customer Relationships and Achieve Better Business Results

Dealers Can Use Social Media to Build Trust and Authenticity Needed to Earn Capital in Today's Relationship Economy

Aug 13, 2015, 13:27 ET from Naked Lime Marketing

KETTERING, Ohio, Aug. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Using social media for business is not about getting the most "likes" or "followers." Rather, using social media can help businesses, including automobile retailers, build better customer relationships and achieve better business results. That was the key message from a presentation Naked Lime Vice President of Sales Chris Walsh recently gave at the 2015 Automotive Social Media Summit.

In his presentation, Walsh noted that trust and authenticity are the capital in today's relationship economy. That capital is earned by forging connections with consumers. Every interaction, then – online or in person – is a chance for businesses to engage the audience and build customer relationships. Social media, then, is one more tool in which businesses, including dealerships, can connect with consumers online and earn capital in a relationship-driven economy.

"The consumer walking into a dealership today is much different than the one walking in five years ago," said Walsh. "Today's car buyers are more informed, and they place a higher value on authenticity and transparency. Social media helps dealers engage with consumers online to help share information and build the kinds of relationships that translate into better business results in the long run."

Walsh also outlined ways in which social media helps dealers reach today's consumers and build relationship capital.

  • Brand visibility: Search engines judge what online content is trusted and authoritative and serve that content up to consumers. Walsh said dealers can use social media as part of their search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, increasing the likelihood of their dealership being found by consumers in organic search results, social media search results, and local search.
  • Data-driven marketing: Using data collected on consumers' behaviors, dealerships can tailor their offline and online marketing and advertising to better reach the right consumers at the right time with the right message. Walsh cited the Facebook Insights tool and Custom Audiences as examples of how dealers are using social data to tailor their advertising strategy.
  • Multi-screen viewers: With three in four TV watchers using another device simultaneously, dealers can use social media to actively engage consumers on their smartphones, laptops, or tablets. Walsh challenged dealers to think creatively about how they can encourage consumers to take social actions after they see a dealer's TV ad so dealers can build additional relationship capital.
  • Reputation management: Walsh noted that, in times of uncertainty, people often look to the crowd for what to do. When it comes to dealerships, online reviews are a form of "social proof" consumers use to determine which dealership to visit for vehicle sales and service. Walsh stressed that dealers should pay attention to their online reputation and have a response plan for negative social media comments and reviews.

Walsh said, "Using social media for business is not about making one sale; it's about making repeat sales, based on long-term relationships. Those dealers who are leveraging social media today are putting themselves in the best position to nurture stronger prospect and customer relationships now and in the future."

Walsh's presentation included concepts discussed in an earlier whitepaper by Naked Lime, "Is Your Dealership 'The One'? Connecting in a Relationship Economy." Read the whitepaper.

Naked Lime Marketing ( offers a full suite of marketing, advertising, and web services for automobile retailers.

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