Archive for July, 2011

Who’s behind the wheel in driving your social media?

The fun thing about driving I find is how much you can tell from the driver in front of you and sometimes coming toward you. Are they brake happy, swerve when on their cell phone, constantly looking down texting or staying way below the speed limit.

This brings me to the subject of “Who’s behind the wheel in driving your social media”

Brake Happy: always hitting the brakes, bad habit? Or just loves to put a halt to all things at any giving time.  This can be an issue within the dealership when trying to start up a promotion, event or contest.  Always hitting the brakes can hurt your strategy you have obtained within your dealership to properly promote your fan page.  Being brake happy can also cause an issue with non post throughout the day or just once a week.  Staying social means daily!

Swerve when on their cell phone: this relates to getting too many things thrown at you once if you are doing your social media dealership.  Start on a path then swerving around it once you get another task put in place in front of you.  Being in a dealership this can happen more than we like to admit too.  You then find yourself pushing your social media strategy to the side and not properly maintaining it. Again, Staying social means daily!

Constantly looking down while texting: texting while driving. All it takes it to pay attention and keep aware of what is going on with your dealership & social relations you have within the dealership and your surrounding area. If you are looking down and away you may just pass up that opportunity that is right in front of you.

Staying below the speed limit: 45 in a 55… I think you get my point.  Especially when you have an appointment you are trying to get too.  If you are the driver, not staying on track and up to speed can hurt your dealership promoting on facebook.  Next thing you know you have other dealers driving right past you. Keep on track and in pace with the speed of social media.  Now if you are the driver behind the one driving below the speed limit, this can factor in on being held back from getting to where you need to be at.  Having the management team be fully behind you in marketing your social media can and will be successful to your efforts & your dealership branding.

Being a good driver can help you be successful within your dealership social media.

*** All views & opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author only. Jennifer Schrader

Jennifer Schrader


“This isn’t real.”

– Comment from business development manager about Facebook relationships

“That’s the whole thing about social media – either someone tells you something meaningful or he tells you he just got off the pot.”

– Co-worker, responding when he heard BDM’s quote

Actually, in one sense, they are both right. And, then again, they are both wrong.

To begin, Facebook relationships are not like offline relationships. We may be Facebook friends with hundreds of people to whom we will never speak directly. The threshold for accepting someone as a friend on Facebook is obviously much lower than for one offline. Many times, the relationships we build on Facebook and other social media sites are superficial. 

That is true up until the relationship takes on a new dimension. And this is why Facebook and other social media are “real”. If you do not have access to this superficial relationship then there is no way it can grow into something meaningful. So, for all those not on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn because they think these platforms are not “real”, the opportunity doesn’t exist to convert a superficial relationship into a meaningful one.

How much of the endless social media content is important? And how much is just a person enumerating the events of his day? The answer lies in what the definition of “important” is.

What people tell you on social media is often not useful to anyone, but that doesn’t mean it is not important. The person who actually types in the status update that he has vacated the bathroom is actually telling us a lot more than we might realize.

He has told us he has plenty of time on his hands. He has clearly shown he uses his computer often. And he has indicated that he feels the minutia of his life is important to us. Most likely, he will be there to hear the details of your business.

In essence, social media is real even if some relationships aren’t . It is meaningful even when it isn’t. The importance becomes discernment. How do you decide what relationships to foster? Which ones are ripe for cultivation? We’ll address those questions, specifically for Facebook and LinkedIn, in our next article.


Ignite XDS brings the auto dealership to Facebook, allowing dealerships to privately brand Facebook pages for deeper engagement and targeted campaigns. Through applications and dealer-specific content, Ignite XDS provides social media and web marketing solutions to car dealerships looking for efficient, effective, and measurable brand image and community engagement.

Why the Gen Y is in the driver’s seat & why we need to pay attention!

Are we still assuming the customer will come to you because of you? Or better yet said “They will come to you because of you?”  

Place your seat in an upright position and think again! You may end up kicking your own rear down the road.

A study was conducted earlier this year by Deloitte, which intrigued me about the Gen Y shopper & how important it is to “Simply Pay Attention” & conducting your Social Media Strategy the right way. They were able to determine:

  • How the approach shopping for vehicles from start to finish
  • Their experience with the service received from Automotive Customer Service
  • The impact social media has made
  • Their view of jobs that are held in the auto industry
  • Their underlying perception of automotive brands

You or your dealership may be thinking that the Gen Y shopper is all about new vehicles, yes they do think newer is better but not with vehicles.  More than 69% of the Gen Y will purchase a used vehicle in the near future.

Value is an important factor for 2011. As 67% of the Gen Y shopper claimed that the product recalls over this past year were a concern however the good news is more than 67% would still consider the brand despite the recall.

This now comes down to Brand Loyalty. 48 % of the Gen Y expects to be driving the same brand of vehicle in 5 years.  But hold your horses on that one as I get further down into the statistical information all that is listed determinations can make an impact for the Gen Y to switch brands.

How does your Domestic vs. foreign brands stack up next to each other for the Gen Y? 46.9% of the Gen Y says it is important to buy a U.S. OEM brand! But 50.8% say it’s important to buy a vehicle manufactured in the USA regardless of the brand.

With that in mind, 73% of Gen Y says they prefer an import brand which is up from 48% in 2009.

Now we are starting to get to the goodies here with the Purchasing Power & Influence the Gen Y can have for the Gen X & Baby boomers!   70% of the Gen Y is more likely to influence & sway a friend’s vehicle purchase; 60% of Gen X & 50% of Baby boomers claim the same also on influence.

With the Gen Y being such a large impact of influence, 61% directly influence their parent’s final decision on purchasing the vehicle.

Looking at peers & their thinking, Gen Y cares! 88.7% reach out to their friends for opinions about a brand / model before purchasing a vehicle & 79.6% say their friends have a large influence on their purchasing decision too.

With the large influence that is coming from friends, family and so forth; Social Media is playing a large role in the influence. The Gen Y shopper, which accounted for more than 67%, has looked for information on a specific vehicle brand or model within the social networking sites. This is up 25% from the 2009 survey Deloitte had conducted.

While the Gen Y is still in the bowl of unsatisfied with the overall dealership experience, 56% of them avoid face-to-face interaction with the dealership all together.  They would rather work over the internet to fully purchase their vehicle.  Test Drives? 82% of them would like to test drive a vehicle for 24 hours…..! So be prepared when they are looking for a nice test drive and not wanting to buy right then and there.

Over 53% of the Gen Y says that working in the US Auto Industry was not appealing to them at all.

My question to you is how do you perceive this about the Gen Y shopper? Do you just let them do their own thing socially as again their influence is more of an impact than you as a salesperson or do you assume they are buying from you specifically?

Just take a moment to think to yourself of how many friends & family the Gen Y has at their fingertips. Their influence won’t just make an impact to the social grounds but also build your brand of higher recognition.

Pay Attention!

Jennifer Schrader

Visit us on Facebook! or (231) 360-0730

### By creating a proper social media strategy for your dealership is the most important part of properly marketing to the Gen Y customer.  Not going in with a plan can come back and lose your influence to the public and the community.  If you don’t have a strategy for your social media please contact us so we can help you take the proper steps into making an impact to your community via social media and to the Gen Y customer. Why? It’s what we do best at Ignite XDS.

The Evolution of the Facebook Fan

By Paige Plant, Social Media Director, Ignite XDS

A coworker of mine, Jennifer Schrader, recently shared this infographic with me regarding the reasons behind why people follow brands. It led me to think about the overall brand of my different clients and ask myself if these are the reasons why people would ‘like’ a car dealership on Facebook, then what is the evolution of these dealership fans?

 Stage 1: The Draw

Facebook users may be drawn to your dealership’s Facebook page for different reasons, but no matter what that draw is, it has to be relevant for the Facebook user. Social media is all about creating a relationship with those similar to you. Having a solid target in mind is the best way to create the perfect draw. Do you want to bring current customers to your Facebook page? Then, your draw can be related to your service stations. Do you want special offers to be the draw? Then the target will be current customers and leads. Maybe you want to attract a specific demographic of potential customers. In that case, Ignite XDS suggests a heavily promoted contest centered around the interest of that demographic. No matter what you do or whom you target, make sure you have a draw. Without it, there will be absolutely no reason why a Facebook user should like your dealership page.

Stage 2: The Like

Once a Facebook fan is drawn into a car dealership Facebook page, they must ‘like’ your page. Just because they visit the page, it does not mean you will automatically get them to click the ‘like’ button. When users visit your page, you have to give them something to look at. This means that you have to follow the cardinal social media rule and keep your page updated! When a user is deciding to ‘like’ your dealership page, they are not going to read every post you’ve ever created, but they will look at the first few. If they are from last year, or even from last week, there’s a good chance that they will hit the ‘Home’ button before ever thinking about ‘Liking’ your page.

Stage 3: The Engagement

For a Facebook fan to continue to evolve, there must be some sort of engagement between then and your page. The formula that Facebook uses to decipher what content is lucky enough to show up in a users’ news feed revolves around they time they spend on your page and how engaged they are in it. Each time the user interacts with a business page, it appears in their feed more often. To crack this formula and be seen by the your Facebook fans as much as possible, you have to get them to engage with your dealership page. Keep your Facebook page updated. Ask your fans about their opinions on hot topics. Promote your OEMs and your employees. At the end of it all, if you find the content interesting, there is a good chance that some of your Facebook fans will too.

Stage 4: The Customer

The evolution of a Facebook fan truly ends when the fan becomes a customer of the dealership. If a fan makes the full evolution and is engaged in your content, your dealership will be the very first they think of when they want to purchase a vehicle. Your evolved Facebook fan will not just think of you as another car dealership, but as a brand that matches their personality.

Remember, 42.89% of people will buy from a brand that they follow on Facebook. Where else can you have you seen numbers like that?

Visit us on Facebook!  or email us at

Questions to ask yourself before taking your dealership social

Times are changing for the online consumer as they are now evolving towards social media trends we are now seeing.  Peer recommendations, custom news feeds created by the user, influences, reviews on businesses and products.

Understanding the real effect of Social Media and properly creating a strategy to brand your dealership; there are questions you will want to ask yourself before handing over the magic wand to your internal staff to take on the social media task.

How well versed are you on Social Media?

Do you know the effect of Social Media & what it can do for your business?

Do you realize creating a Social Media Strategy is a full-time, day in, day out & consistent effort?

How involved are you with your surrounding community?

Has the individual you plan on hiring ever create a Social Media Strategy for a dealership or are they just well versed in a Social Media World with friends & family? (Having a Facebook is different from a Fan Page for Facebook & holds many valuable tools)

Do you have a graphic team on hand to create custom images, graphics and promotional items / material for your dealership for your social media efforts?

Do you know the difference between a Facebook Profile Page & a Facebook Fan Page?

Do you know that Facebook is not fully intended to sell cars but to promote your dealership branding?

Do you expect results overnight? (Social Media cannot happen overnight but what it can do is be an everlasting impact for your dealership branding) 

These questions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes down to properly consider taking your dealership social & create a strong brand within your community.

Not having the properly trained individuals within your organization won’t just diminish your branding but can cause a Social Media Disaster!

Where I conduct sales at, Ignite XDS, we provide those services for dealers nationwide as we have seen dealers take on this new Social Challenge but have not had the time, hired the wrong individual or just don’t know where to start.  No, I am not trying to push a sale on you however am wanting to suggest tips & tricks with best practices to help you before taking your dealership social.

Feel free to contact me via email at as I am here to help!

The “Use of Common Sense” when it comes to Social Media

As we are seeing dealers nationwide take on the lavishing efforts of going social, we find ourselves seeking technology each and every day to make our lives easier & prosperous. A click of one button can distribute our feed, updates, blog notices and such to all varieties of media outlets. And all it had taken was one click of a button!

We wait for our coffee to brew longer then it takes to notify hundreds of our family, friends, co workers, resources & groups what we are up to. Yet we still ponder around waiting for our coffee.

Are we taking advantage of this technology and the benefits it does for us with just “One click of a button”…..?

Hearing many needs, wants, must haves for Social Media from all varieties of resources.  I have seen some powerful tools, effective tools and ones that look amazing but are too complicated to even use.

The only valuable thing that is missing & most important of all is “Common Sense”. Common sense is a tool that Technology cannot surpass or be taken advantage of. As you may have heard the old saying “I would rather be street smart than book smart”.

The social media generation that we are dabbling in is one of the most neediest, influential, tech savvy, inspiring and heavy buying power group of people.

Using the advantages of technology can shoot you in the foot.  Using common sense for their needs, wants and advice can take you to the next level with them.

They are not here to be overloaded with newsfeed updates about your cars, finance rates, free oil changes for a year to just like your page & so on! They are here to be influenced.

Place yourself in their shoes. Do you want your wall to be overloaded with what cars you have on the lot? I wouldn’t think so.

If you take the efforts of social media as you do to turn your desk top on in the morning and implementing Common Sense to your social group, your coffee will be brewed before you are finished!

Jennifer Schrader @ Ignite XDS

Follow us on Facebook or contact us at


Auto Dealerships are now scrambling to use Facebook and other social media sites to gain a competitive advantage. In the rush to be the most connected and the most responsive, some dealers lose sight of the real power of social media. They focus on inflated Facebook fan counts and numbers of Twitter followers rather than on creating new, lasting relationships with individual customers.


So how do you do this?

Here are three basic strategies for Facebook page administrators to create real relationships with the truly engaged customers.

1. Start with What You Already Have

No matter the size of your dealership, really effective social media efforts are shared across the organization. Find out which employees are using social media, especially Facebook. Make certain that these employees have profiles that transparently state they work for your dealership. Have these employees invite friends to become fans of your page and post a message on their personal walls explaining the benefits of being a fan (information on your brand, community news, etc.).

2. Highly Personalized Direct Messages to New Fans

Direct messages thanking new fans can be a tricky method of cultivating a relationship. Facebook users are mostly technology- savvy and can spot a stock message a mile away. Make certain you only send direct messages to new fans that are engaging and highly personal. To give a clear example how to do so properly, imagine a fan who uses a newborn baby as his profile photograph. To make this a personalized message, you might write, “Jason, congratulations on the new baby! We appreciate your support of our fan page. Please write on the wall any time you have a questions, concern, or comment.”

However, this assumes that Jason is the father of this tyke. This may not be the case. Perhaps the baby is his nephew or maybe it is Jason’s own baby photo. A better way to frame this personalized message would be to write: “Jason, that’s a cute baby in the profile photograph. We appreciate your support of our fan page. Please write on the wall any time you have a questions, concern, or comment.”

Be sure you phrase these messages in a way that does not assume information you do not have. When executed efficiently, highly personalized direct messages show fans (your customers) that you care about them as individuals.

3. Listen, Listen, Listen some more

Social media is a conversation and the most important voice is the customer who just spoke. Businesses that treat their social media platforms as PA systems miss the point of these technologies. Never more easily can a business identify and address customer issues. It is rapid response customer service, but only for those who truly listen.

Commit yourself to spending time every day listening to what your customers say about you, what they say about competitors, and what they are saying in places they do not involve your business at all.

Listen when a customer has a comment or complaint about your business. You should respond as soon as you can, always providing support and admitting fault if appropriate. Listen when a customer praises or disparages a competitor and learn vicariously how your business can better serve her. And listen to what Bob has to say in a discussion about fly fishing. Later, when contacting Bob directly, you can ask him how the trout are biting this spring.

These are some ideas for how your business can cultivate real, lasting relationships with Facebook fan bases. Keep in mind that these are templates for action. Always use common sense and respect when interacting with fans and followers. They are a class of consumers more demanding than any in history.


Ignite XDS brings the auto dealership to Facebook, allowing dealerships to privately brand Facebook pages for deeper engagement and targeted campaigns. Through applications and dealer-specific content, Ignite XDS provides social media and web marketing solutions to car dealerships looking for efficient, effective, and measurable brand image and community engagement.

Ignite XDS  on Facebook!