5 Simple Twitter Basics for Auto Dealers

Twitter is good for several things, including improved SEO, customer communication, active listening, personalizing a business and connecting to the industry conversation. Twitter accounts, if used properly, can add a page-1 Google result for your dealership. That can knock a bad link off of page-1, or simply add another link that you control. Another great use of Twitter is for listening to your customers as well as helping you discover new tools and best practices.

1. Setting up your account:

Name your Twitter account as closely to your dealership name as possible for easy recognition. Also, fill out all the profile fields like bio, web address and location. In the Bio be sure to use your dealership name, city, OEMs and any other unique tags that will help you come up in search. By doing this you are optimizing your SEO. Be sure to add a nice picture that doesn’t get cutoff on the edges (make it square, not rectangular).

2. Who should be in charge of your account?

You should! Don’t let the intern or the new kid do it. There are thousands of abandoned Twitter accounts out there that were started hastily, abandoned early and are now hanging around in cyberspace cluttering up the images of those dealerships. People looking for your dealership might also follow an old account and miss you completely. Set up a dedicated Social Media email account (socialmedia@dealership.com), and assign all the social accounts to that email. Once all the social accounts are fed to one email, you can simply assign that email to a new user, rather than going into each account and changing the email. A trusted sales person or manager should be in charge of the account, there is a lot of power in social media, and you want to reduce risk wherever possible.

3. Connecting

The power of Twitter comes from followers. So how do you get them? Time, searches and account raids, that’s how. Start by searching for your OEM twitter accounts (@Ford, @GM, @Toyota). Search for nearby dealerships, local community groups, sports teams, and your friends. Once you’ve got a few people on your follow list, look at who they follow and start adding their followers. Keep interacting, and the followers will come. They won’t all be eager car buyers, but they could be local businesses or people who can help spread the word. Make sure that your Twitter account is easily found on your website, communications and blogs (and your SmartQuotes!).

4. Twitter Speak & Sharing Media

Twitter speak comes from the 140-character limit that defines the Twitter experience. This has created shortened words, a heavy reliance on symbols (@, &, $) and acronyms, LOL! If I wanted to say, “Get over to the dealership as soon as possible and hurry” I would write “Get 2 the dealership ASAP & hurry” (56 vs 33 characters). To share media on your website it’s probably good to use a link shortener like www.bit.ly. Because Twitter only allows 140 characters, many links won’t fit, much less any wording you might want to add. A link shortener will take any long web address and make it into a link with only a few letters. This allows you to add your own message. If you want to let someone else know about your tweet, use the ‘@’ character and add their Twitter name (Hey @JimZiegler, how are you?), this way they will see your tweet and know you were speaking to them, about them or in reference to them. Think of it as the CC of Twitter.

5. #Hashtags

Hashtags (#) are critical to Twitter conversations. They can be used like TV channels, exclamation points and filters. For example, the 11th Digital Dealer conference had a robust Twitter conversation. To participate, a dealer could search the hashtag for the latest conference (#DD11). By doing so, you would see everyone that included the #DD11 hashtag in their tweet, signaling that they are discussing Digital Dealer. You can also click on the hashtag in a tweet and get the same result, basically a channel of conference discussion. Popular hashtags are often shown on the Twitter website as “Trending Topics.”

Now that we know how to get a Twitter account up and running, here are some auto Tweeps (Twitter people) to get you started with: Jim Ziegler = @JimZiegler; ResponseLogix = @_ResponseLogix; Scott Monty, Ford Social Media guru = @ScottMonty; DrivingSales founder Jared Hamilton = @DrivingSales

Written by Jeremy Lipps, social media coordinator at ResponseLogix. @Lipps_RLogix


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