INDY LIVE 2012: Millennials talk about social media

Publish Date: 
Feb 17, 2012

If taking advantage of newfangled channels like Facebook and Twitter sounds intimidating to you, here’s an encouraging thought: Your fear of using social media isn’t so much different from a new or prospective rider’s fear of hopping onto a bike and zipping out of the dealership.

In both cases you someone has to try something new, rely on someone more experienced for advice and get comfortable that they are learning from the right source before taking off on their own.

A panel of experts -- four rider/industry up-and-comers under 30 – in the “Thirty Minutes With Buyers Under 30” seminar Friday had some tips for dealers who feel like they need learner’s permits to operate social media tools like Facebook and Twitter.

“We get as much information before we do things as possible. If we see [a social media page] that has a lot of interaction, a lot of activity, we are going to see that as a step above in terms of engaging…we are going to go that dealer first,” said Mark Buche, 25, who’s in communications at MIC’s Discover Today’s Motorcycling.

With so many places for riders, new or experienced, to buy everything from bikes to PG&A, dealers looking to entice the elusive under-30 customer will have to get his or her attention with things they can’t get anywhere else.

“To get the customer talking, it’s the entertainment side that brings them in,” said Derek Jones, 22, a parts counter man at Pony Motorsports in Westervile, Ohio. “Really engaging them in the entertainment side, posting a funny motorcycling quip or a photo of someone wearing a half-helmet backward -- it really gets people going and coming back to our page. The entertainment part is more important than the information.”

One of the best uses of social media is to take the pulse of potential customers, said Dealernews’ own Bruce Steever. “People definitely want to buy from people that can relate to whatever segment they are in. If you’ve got someone coming in who’s into stunting, he’s not going to buy that from you even if you have it, unless you have someone who knows that lifestyle at the dealership.”

It’s also important not to be condescending or assume you can rehash information that riders can get from any source they go to.

“Be sincere about it. Genuinely interact with someone and care,” said Troy Hopper, of Iron Pony Motorsports. Even if it’s posting on a website like Facebook, “faking is going to leave a bad taste in our mouth not only about your social media but about your store.”