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Brand Management = Brand Sales

February 16, 2011

Here’s a great article from Dealer Refresh about how Twitter can be used for promoting and maintaining a positive brand image. If approached responsibly and correctly, Twitter can be a great marketing tool. Read on to learn more about how to implement this social media tool into your dealership’s 2011 campaign.

CarMax Rockin’ Their Twitter Brand

CarMax on Twitter

Guest Post: Laurie Halter, owner of Charisma Communications

I have a confession: when I first jumped on Twitter I had no clue what I was doing. I would log-in from time to time and retweet an interesting article or add what I thought was a nugget of wisdom, but overall I had no clue what a hash tag was, much less a retweet.

After I had a bit more experience and actually threw myself into using it, I realized the golden rule of Twitter – the entire system is built on relationships. You can’t jump on and off, posting vehicle inventory or your newest YouTube ad and expect to build a following. You have to invest the time and energy to actually engage with people in your network.

Twitter has a language all its own and the more you tap into the power of receiving and sharing relevant news, the wider your network will grow. Below I want to share best practices from a dealership I’ve seen rocking their Twitter brand on a daily basis.

The dealer brand is @CarMax. If you don’t follow these guys, stop reading and follow them this instant. You will see on a first hand basis why Twitter can be such a powerful PR tool for a dealership when used correctly. Here are just a few real Twitter postings from @CarMax from the last few weeks:

  1. In response to a person who tweeted she was not happy with an aspect of her CarMax experience. (Keep in mind, she tweeted this to her list of followers, not directly to CarMax.) @CarMax
    Response: Hi, we saw your tweets. Pls give us a call. (phone #) We would like to look into this.
  2. In response to a post from a woman who tweeted: found a great car @CarMax, but I think the dealership sold it. @CarMax
    Response: We have other great cars too!
  3. In response to a Tweeter who said she had to go to @CarMax to get a new car after an accident. @CarMax
    Response: We’re so sorry to hear that! Here’s a ten percent off service coupon for you.

A couple of things strike me about these responses.

1) @CarMax Needs a Raise
First and foremost, whoever is handling their Twitter handle should be getting either a fat bonus or a raise. The online presence created for CarMax from this Twitter account alone is a huge public relations success. CarMax customers no longer feel like they’re being handled by a faceless dealer group, there’s a person behind the twitter handle and what’s more, the person cares enough to reach out to them.

2) @CarMax is Creating Active Discussions
Secondly, notice how @CarMax is creating discussions with these users? They’re reaching out directly to individuals – that’s powerful stuff! Imagine what all of these twitter user’s followers see from @CarMax. They see a dealership that cares more about the people in their store than the inventory on their lot. They see a company reaching out to instantly right wrongs and to truly engage them in a discussion. And speaking of righting wrongs…

3) @CarMax Is not Shying Away from Negative Tweets, But Actively Embracing Them.
So often in public relations we hear that clients don’t want to open themselves up to negative comments and perceptions when dealing with social media. But here’s a player that’s using negative tweets to change the game. By reaching out quickly to those Twitter users who have had a less than ideal experience, CarMax is showing they care about customers and want to turn their experience around. Just think of the good juju that comes from righting a wrong in front of the user’s entire network. Makes me want to buy my next car from CarMax, don’t you?

I’m still a long way from knowing the secrets to Twitter success (how in the world are people getting 15,000 followers?), but by following dealerships like @CarMax, I’m closer to understanding the power of this channel.

Are you creating active discussions and embracing negative tweets for your dealership?

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