Asbury Automotive Group wants its dealerships more involved in the social media conversations automakers are having with consumers.
To get there, Asbury is rolling out a strategy to align the social media presence of each of its 80 dealerships with that of each store's brand.
"If we know that Volkswagen is posting YouTube videos and they're getting a lot of hits, we'll go to our Volkswagen store and do a YouTube video and try and get some live impressions and place it where the manufacturer would be," said Bob Murray, Asbury's director of director of operational marketing.
Asbury recently completed a social media analysis of 11 brands it sells. The findings point out which sites -- mostly Facebook, Twitter and YouTube -- see the most interaction. That analysis helps Asbury's dealerships focus their social media efforts.
"If Lexus is Twittering, we want to be Twittering at the same time," Murray said.
This is Asbury's biggest strategic social media play to date. Asbury stores have about 170 unique Facebook pages, and many have Twitter accounts and YouTube channels, Murray says. But some are more involved than others.
Content posted to Facebook profiles and Twitter feeds of many Asbury stores comes from Asbury's corporate head office. Updates are sent to each dealer's pages automatically using software.
Jeff Meadows, general manager of Plaza Lexus near St. Louis, says his store soon will become more involved in social media.
It's part of Asbury's overall push, Meadows says, to generate local content and follow the lead of his brand.
Said Meadows: "We feel if we can engage our team and let their passion drive us, we will get where we want to go faster."