ORLANDO — Before Tim Jackson arrived at a 7:15 a.m. breakfast meeting at the NADA convention here, he was already posting to his Twitter followers and Facebook friends.
Eight months ago, the president of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association didn't have a Facebook page. Now Jackson has more than 2,300 Facebook friends. At the bottom of his business card, he lists links to his Facebook page and Twitter feed.
"A vast majority of my Twitter and Facebook posts are done early in the morning," says Jackson, who rises at 5 a.m. every day and typically works until 10 p.m. four days a week. "I grab my iPhone as soon as I get out of bed."
He uses social media as a tool to keep his members informed on the political issues affecting their businesses.
But marketing is his main emphasis. Jackson helps his 250 dealer members navigate the new world of social media and Internet marketing. The Colorado dealers' group already has hosted two seminars on search-engine optimization. A conference on social media is in the works for either May or August.
"Dealers know it's out there. In a lot of situations, they're playing catch-up to maximize its potential," Jackson says.
So far, the social media have opened new avenues of communication for dealers between consumers and dealer associations. But, Jackson says, dealers have yet to "put Twitter to work to sell cars."