Social media marketing hits the mainstream


Kathi Kruse
Social media columnist

Just a short year ago, smart marketers could frolic in the medium and achieve pretty good results. Now that social media has become more widely accepted, the competition is heating up.

Social networks have seen the profit potential and they’re asking more of brands. More time, more budget, more engagement.

If you’re new to social marketing or if you’ve tried it and it hasn’t been successful, it’s time to go back to your roots.

You must develop a solid foundation from which to market from. If you’re not ready, don’t do it. If you are ready, let’s make a commitment and develop a solid plan for your store. For some, that means learning to crawl before you walk, run and eventually fly.

Until now, a lack of budget and clear outcomes have caused hesitation from dealerships and lots of other businesses.

Dealer skepticism is fairly common and a lot of that has to do with the lack of a clear social marketing strategy. Owners and GMs are still looking for social media ROI. It’s there. It’s measurable, and it’s time to move.

The goal is to take your social marketing from disjointed, ad hoc tactics to a focused, lead-generation machine. These six specific tips will help you start things off on the right foot.

Define your objectives
Identify your KPIs – key performance indicators – and establish the framework for measurement. One of your first objectives should be growing your fan base. Do you have a clear promotion strategy? Measurement is about more than just results. It must tie back to your objectives.

Put your listening process and tools in place
There are many software solutions to help you listen and monitor conversations on social media. Take time to decide which one fits your needs and budget. Use time-saving tools like Hootsuite, PostPlanner, Bitly and Heyo. These will help you become efficient at listening and more effective at engaging.

Establish your clear social media policy
Your employees can be your best “brand ambassadors.” Many dealers are beginning to use these relationships to their advantage. But many are leaving the door open to problems because they don’t have a proper social media policy in place.

Hire your community manager

Social media marketing and online reputation management is time consuming. Many dealers are moving a portion of advertising expense over to the personnel column. Designating one person to be the liaison between your store, your employees and your customers is a proven strategy that will get you farther faster.

Establish your content development process
It’s important to identify your audience and what interests them. But designing a content strategy is only the beginning. Whether writing your own content or curating others’, it’s a big job.

Inviting employees to contribute will make the job much easier. They are the people who talk to your customers everyday. They are in a unique position to know what your customer wants.

Run your controlled paid social marketing campaign
Start slowly with Facebook ads. Give your self a limit of $10 a day while you’re getting your feet wet. These ads can laser-target your ideal customer and they take a lot of thought and consideration.

Monitor your ads at least twice daily. Remember, measuring your results means tying each one back to an objective.

Kathi Kruse is an automotive social media marketing expert, blogger, speaker, coach, and Founder of Kruse Control Inc. She can be reached at or visit