When someone is given the task of starting up an e-commerce business for an automobile dealership they are bombarded with what to do and what not to do. It can be so discombobulating that your head will literally start spinning. Let's start with wondering which vendors to use when it comes to things like your website, data feed management, and the where to and which places to effectively market your inventory. Now throw a wrench into it with the all the different companies that talk about your S.E.O.(search engine optimization) and how to make you a better company for effectively and strategically placing your company above your competition. The last thing I want to touch on is the BIG social network scene. You know the sites I am thinking about right? Well if not let me list a few (Facebook, Twitter, Myspace Why?.Blogs) for you.

One might start off with creating a Facebook page for the dealership they work for, then a Twitter account, then a Blog, then sign up with another company that is supposed to create an easy flow for all of these to merge as one. Then most Internet manager assume these are sites where you can sell you vehicles...WRONG! These sites are here for you to keep your followers, friends, or fan in the loop of the great things that is going on with your dealership and your manufactures. You bombard your customers with specials of this vehicle or post your whole inventory and any other useless information you THINK they want to know. Then we start to concentrate on one site and start to neglect the others but wait here is the good part we finally remember and..We send all types of useless and annoying information to the ones keeping track and they now start getting annoyed and tired of reading the garbage so they drop you from their feeds, friends, or stop following you. But hey we can't seem to figure out why our fans numbers keep dropping by the minute and oh well we have the other people on the other sites so lets just let this one go.

The Circle of life starts over..we move on to the next and repeat the same dumb stuff until you have no one left but your immediate friends that you convinced and the beginning and your co-workers that are following you now. Once you finally wake up from that daze you've been in there is too much damage like the F5 tornado that just ripped through the local trailer park there is nothing left. We go round and round and.. well you get the point!

To avoid all of this confusion and stress for yourself, not to mention the people you interact with come up with an action plan. Meet with your owners,GM's, GSM's, and anyone else that will help you figure out what is important to the company that you work for. Remember you are the front line for your department and the dealership. Write down a clear process that everyone in your department will understand and follow. Make sure that you are open to suggestions from those that work with you. Most of the time your dealerships already have vendors and programs in place, try to learn how to effectively use them first. Every company that you do business with has a representative assigned to your account..USE THEM because that is what they get paid to do. If you still are not getting anywhere, then branch out to other Internet managers in your dealer community and see who they use. Most people are welcome to the idea of helping someone out because they remember what it was like when they were in your shoes. Trust me there is a perfect fit for everyone out there. With the social media hype start out small with a Facebook page and encourage everyone you know to add it. Don't over post and give helpful information and before you you know it...You are on your way!

Bradley Belford

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Comment by Mike Sheehy on June 7, 2010 at 10:44am
I couldn’t agree more, Bradley. Although we can wish Facebook and Twitter will sell vehicles, these sites are primarily tailored for friends to share pictures, videos, and other updates with each other. Bombarding customers with information and filling their news feeds will eventually make companies lose followers. My company tries to form contests for fans. Our latest one asked fans to get their friends to follow us on Facebook. The winner was able to get us over 230 new fans and she received $250 in return. I would recommend this to any new company starting out on social media.

-Mike
J&L Marketing, Inc.
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