If you haven’t heard, there is a bit of political campaigning going on right now. Candidates are using every medium of communication to engage potential voters. They are using the social mediums, but, shockingly, that isn’t all they are using. They are out stumping. They are shaking hands and kissing babies. They are standing behind podiums in public. Are you campaigning for customers in the same way? Not sleazy, like a politician, but publicly in the community?
It is amazing how social networking has connected us as a society and, at the same time, seems to be making companies less social. Too many people are touting social media as the primary focus for consumer interaction, but ignoring real interaction. Well, I have a news flash for you (read: “news flash” was a colloquialism said back in the days of newspaper and television). Companies that are active in their communities, participate in local events, and THEN celebrate their grassroots efforts on the social platforms will be those that truly drive business forward.
Social media cannot only be about asking interesting/cute/engaging questions or holding self-serving contests, much like campaigning isn’t just about writing idealistic memorandum. You need to share your involvements with your constituents. People like watching others interact. You must socially share your attendance in different organizational activities and local events. Much like your dealership has always done (attending local chamber of commerce events, hosting job fairs, supporting a little league team or sponsoring an event for a charity), the same involvement in your local community is as crucial as ever. Only now, you must broadcast it to your social supporters.
So I urge you… press the flesh. Get out in your community. Let the sun splash warm across your face as you shake hands with the people around you. Then, simply document your activities. This type of content far outweighs the OEM-induced vehicle/product blogs that are far too common on Facebook walls for dealerships. Just recognize that, in an effort to capitalize on your grassroots efforts, you want to be press releasing about your involvement in said events beforehand, taking photos and videos while on-site at these events, and blogging about your participation afterward. Highlighting this type of local, out-and-about, multimedia-enriched content will be the key to truthfully being more social in social media.