Don't 'drop everything' for social media, says Hornsby

Publish Date: 
Feb 17, 2013
By Cynthia Furey

Twitter is best for sharing photos and behind-the-scenes info about your business. Though Hornsby considers Twitter much lower on the social media scale than Facebook, he still believes dealers should have a presence on the site. “At bare minimum, create the account, show that you’re trendy, and at least integrate Facebook and Twitter so that if you post something on Facebook, it automatically puts it on Twitter,” Hornsby said. Though most experts will tell you not to link your Facebook and Twitter accounts to show the same content, Hornsby disagrees. Dealers are busy and don’t have the time to think of quips and other things to put on Twitter.

Hashtags are things you can use in Twitter (and other social media sites) to group your tweets into a subject.  For example, if a Twitter uses the hashtag of “#DealerExpo,” they will find all of the tweets from every user who has put “#DealerExpo” into their tweet.

Google + is the largest-growing social media outlet. Though this is true, one has to join it if you want to use any of the Google products — like Google Docs, YouTube, Newsgroups, etc. “It’s intended as a hub for all of Google’s services,” Hornsby said. Google + combines the best of Facebook and Twitter, he continues, and G+ is more business-oriented than Facebook.

On Google+, you can “Follow” items of interest, add them to your “Circle,” which enables chat and Hangout (video) capabilities. The equivalent of a Facebook “Like” in Google+ is a “+1,” where users who find things interesting will give it a “+1.”

YouTube is a great place to share and store videos. Many dealers already are taking advantage of filming and posting store videos. They’re creating video content showcasing pre-owned inventory, staff interviews, dealership tours, a “unique selling proposition,” event coverage, and other things of interest to customers and prospects.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest Rolodex. “This is not made for businesses to connect with consumers,” Hornsby said. “It’s more for business to business contacts.” Hornsby ranks LinkedIn low in a dealer’s social media toolbox.

Pinterest “is a passing fad for our industry.” Powersports University’s Brad Cannon called it last year in an issue of Dealernews in terms of how effective Pinterest is for businesses: not very. Currently, its users (who are 97 percent women) mainly use it to share recipes, crafts, and home-related photos — so it does not serve a purpose for dealers at this time. One can still use it marginally effectively, however, if you want to post photos on motorcycle apparel and fashion. Overall, however, Pinterest is “not a dealership best practice,” Hornsby said.