Unless you were comatose, abducted by aliens or gave up all forms of news and television over the past year it would be pretty hard not to know about Twitter. What you may not know is how to use Twitter for your business. You don't have to be Oprah or Ashton Kutcher to have fans and followers, nor do you need an agency or pile of cash to start engaging with your peeps, err, customers.
Twitter has become a mainstream communication tool with people asking questions, posting sharing opinions, what they are doing, and even sharing what they are looking for. It's the sea of what's happening right now where you are. If your dealership and you, the salesperson, are already on Twitter ? hooray! If you login on a regular basis and engage (there's that word again) with people ? bonus points! If you share photos and videos ? you are the cream of the crop!
So, why is Twitter important to you and your business? Why is Google? Why is being on the Web? Simply put ? you have to fish where the fish are. You have to be present. People, your customers, are there. Their friends are there. Their friends who influence your customers are there. Google, Bing and other search engines are indexing profiles, so why wouldn't you want another shot at customers finding you when searching for Ford dealers in Wichita (if indeed you are a Ford dealer in Wichita, of course).
Aside from the search angle, people naturally gravitate towards those who are experts. As a business ? you are the expert on the cars, products and services you sell. You are an expert in your community. It's yet another chance to share your knowledge while building relationships and trust with your customers.
So, let's get started, shall we peeps, with a little Tweeting...
Do you tweet? Twitter is the 140-character-or-less phenomenon that has taken the sound-bite world to a new level. And it's FREE. Twitter can be a bit daunting at first but there are a number of sales people and dealerships using Twitter to successfully increase reach and sales.
The key is to engage with others. Simply pushing a meaningless message without actually engaging will be viewed by others as spam. Tweets should contain information that is relevant and timely, e.g. weekly specials, information about a particular model, or community events that your dealership supports. Do share information about your dealership, including specials, inventory, thoughts on features and model year changes and even activities within the community, such as food drives supporting local charities and organizations. Hint ? people love photos and videos, so don't be camera shy!
To get started follow these easy steps:
- Go to Twitter.com
- Spend some time exploring
- Use the search box. Find others who are tweeting about subjects that are relevant to you (Model line, make, etc.)
- In order to "Follow" or "Reply", you must register. Follow the instructions on screen. Select a username that represents your dealership. If you're a salesperson, pick a name such as VWSalesGuy or GM-Fanatic to help identify you.
- In your settings area, add a picture of the dealership or yourself. Be sure to input your city, state and dealership information. It will help your profile page appear in search engine results.
- Follow people who tweet (post) on topics you are interested in. Don't discriminate. You can follow anyone, from the manufacturer to enthusiasts, (and of course @edmunds, @insideline_com, and @autoobserver). A good tip is to follow and reply to tweets made by your local newspaper. Free PR!
- Use the Reply arrow next to their tweets to respond. If you like what someone else has said, give it a "re-tweet", sharing this interesting piece of information with your followers. By adding value and passing along information that is helpful, you gain trust and credibility in your sphere of influence.
- Don't be shy to search for people asking car questions about models you represent. A helpful answer shows your product expertise.
Below are a few examples of dealerships on Twitter and messages from their accounts:
@FlowersNissan: It is not to late to donate canned food items at Flowers Nissan and recieve a 10% off coupon good in the Service/Parts Department.
There are also a number of cool tools to help you on your Twitterific path:
TwitPic.com to send photos from your phone to your Twitter page
TweetDeck.com for tracking keywords and people
TwitterCounter.com to track your stats
WeFollow.com add your Twitter page to the directory and other people and businesses to follow #carchat - For the bold and uber-social
If you're truly a social bird and want to hangout with other car peeps, join in on CarChat every Wednesday night from 50in PT on Twitter. Simply type #carchat into the search box to see the chat and add #carchat to any reply or post you make during the hour. It's a fun way to connect with others in the industry.
Next month? We're going to get up in your face with Facebook.
Sylvia Marino, Executive Director, Community Operations