OK, so you're on Facebook -- now what?
Ryan Beene is a reporter for Automotive News.
Don't just build a Facebook page or a Twitter feed. Use them.
That's what Jeff Cryder Jr., digital communications director at Lebanon Ford in Lebanon, Ohio, says he tells dealers struggling with social media. He says dealers get so preoccupied with feeling like they have to be on Facebook that they fail to grasp what to do with Facebook.
"Being involved in social media doesn't just mean being on social media platforms," says Cryder, 23, one of four people on the dealer's digital team. He says you have to monitor your platforms constantly and use them to your advantage.
Lebanon is a leader in social media, offering Facebook and Twitter accounts, blogs, Flickr photostream galleries and networking sites such as Foursquare, a location-based site accessible through mobile devices.
Cryder says that after establishing a social media portal, dealers have to listen to their Facebook friends, accept feedback from customers and be proactive.
"It means embodying the philosophy of being social," he says. "Be open, listen, take feedback from your customers and give them a fair experience so that they can go out to the Internet and share it."
It's not about the tools. It's about how you use them.
Cryder tells a story about a local Toyota owner having regular problems with the door handles on his new car. Cryder says the customer turned to Twitter after his dealer failed to help, posting this plea: "I've had this problem multiple times. Why do I feel like Toyota isn't listening to me?"
Cryder was listening to Twitter. He wrote back to say that Lebanon Ford cared about his situation. If interested, the customer could visit the dealership's Web site and schedule a service appointment online and get $5 off the service.
A few days later the Toyota owner was in the service bay of Lebanon Ford. "This person doesn't even know we exist, and we come out of the blue saying, 'Hey, they might not be listening to you, but we are and how can we help you?'" Cryder says.
It's those customer service moments that get talked about the most. And everyone is listening.
You can reach Ryan Beene at firstname.lastname@example.org. -- Follow Ryan on