DONNA HARRIS

Penske wades in to social media with customer in mind

Donna Harris covers automotive retailing for Automotive News.
Dealers are eager to promote their businesses using social media. But the nation's second-largest dealership group is taking a conservative approach after doing some research.

Terri Mulcahey, Penske Automotive Group's vice president of business development, says people view social media as a way to keep up with family and friends. They want to limit their contact with businesses in that venue because they see this as their personal space.

Mulcahey says frequent users of social media don't mind hearing about an auto service special now and then. But try to connect more than that and it's intrusive.

She also is reluctant to give dealership employees access to social media, fearing some may spend half the day socializing.

So far she's seen some benefit using social media to recruit potential employees. Beyond that, though, Mulcahey says, she has “not found any real business results.”

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