Opinions on social media ranged from the next great toolkit to explode your sales, to a bunch of BS that’s not worth the time and resources. Getting a handle on social media was one of the hotly debated topics at the 10th annual Digital Dealer conference and expo this week in Orlando, Florida.
Conference Chairman Mike Roscoe, President Dealer Communications, welcomed the more than 1,000 dealers from across North America who came to hear from industry experts — and one another — about tips and strategies to better handle their online leads, sales, marketing and social media campaigns. “If you are in this room now, that means one thing — you get it,” says Roscoe.
The event kicked off with an interactive networking session where dealers sat across the table from their peers and shared the good, the bad and the ugly with their experiences to date in the online marketing and social media arenas. The room was abuzz as delegates sought to cut through the clutter to find what actually works from other dealers. The spirited start was a good kick off to the three-day event that wraps up tomorrow.
“I think a lot of the stuff being sold across the hall is BS,” says Kevin Frye, e-commerce director of the Jeff Wyler Automotive Family, one of the top 50 dealership groups in the U.S. during his presentation, “Likes or Links — which one stinks, and why social media is BS.”
Frye was referring to products some exhibitors were showcasing in the exhibition hall. But despite his provocative comments, Frye’s dealerships are actively engaged in social media, he just called on dealers to see things in perspective and expect reasonable outcomes from their efforts. “If you are boring in real life, you will likely be boring in social media,” he says. “Social media is just one tool in your toolbox.”
Among other topics, the dealers discussed the best way to respond to online leads, whether you should use the same sales staff to respond to online and in store sales, how best to structure your team to make use of the available skills, and much more. The sessions are broken out into multiple tracks covering areas such as: process, marketing, sales, Internet tools, mobile marketing, social media, service, web strategies, digital marketing, e-commerce and even fixed operations. The presenters cover the topics with a digital focus.
In their session: “Seven secrets to standing out more without spending more,” automotive marketing experts Travis Miller and Jimmy Vee delivered an entertaining presentation that challenged dealers to get away from the idea they are selling cars to instead sell “solutions.” The colourful presenters advised dealers how they need to adjust their marketing to tap into the unlocked desires of most consumers. “Everybody wants a nicer, newer car,” they said, which means that despite the stats on how many in market customers there are at any given time, all are potential buyers, but it’s just not the right time for them.