Blessington: 'Social media is not going away'

Publish Date: 
Feb 18, 2011
By Cynthia Furey

It’s great that you’ve got a Web site for your store. But as social networking continues to grow in popularity, just one Web effort on your part isn’t enough. The cold, hard reality is that you’ll need multiple platforms — like Facebook and Twitter — to reach your customers.

“Social media is not going away,” said Heather Blessington, co-founder of Duo Web Solutions, in her “Social Media: Creating a Strategy for Your Dealership” marketing seminar Friday afternoon. “You need to commit to this.”

Luckily, as vast as the social-media world may seem, it’s a lot easier than you think. “You guys have the ideal market,” Blessington said. “People are tattooing brands and logos onto their bodies. This is a social media marketer’s dream.”

Below are just a few key points Blessington has for various platforms.

Blogging. Your blog should act as a home base — a hub that links your store’s website and your social networks. Most blog platforms like Wordpress.com have features that automatically feed your blog posts to Twitter and Facebook, a convenient feature for those that can’t commit a few hours a week to Tweeting or posting updates on Facebook.

Though the rule for blogging has always been to blog early and often, Blessington disagrees. “Blogging is very organic, so post when you have something to say,” she said. Blog posts can be about a new product or an event, or a few lines about a store special or coupon. You don’t have to write a lot — the important thing is that you’re writing.

Twitter. About 78 percent of small business owners surveyed say they use Twitter. To get started, sign up for an account and start using “hashtags” to build a community. For example, “#dealerexpo” is a Twitter hashtag. Search for that in Twitter, and it’ll show all of the tweets that feature it — currently a mix of people talking about the show, posting photos, etc. It’s a great way to filter out posts that you don’t want to see from the general Twitter community, and to help build a community around the posts that you do want to see. “It’s a great way to network,” Blessington said.

Facebook. About 75 percent of small business owners surveyed are on Facebook. 31 percent of them have more than one Facebook page. Sign up, and start posting about store coupons, events, and other things pertaining to your store. You can also link Twitter and Facebook, so that you’ll only have to sign in to one platform to get your message across in two places.

What do you do about negative posts and comments? “Never, ever, ever delete them. You have to respond to them honestly,” Blessington says. “A lot of big brands have gotten slammed for deleting negative posts. E-mail the person for their phone number and call to talk to them.”

Blessington also will lead this Learning Experience seminar from 12:45 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Saturday.