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[Author: Cindy Feldman, 01.17 | Keywords: Marketing, Social Media]

Leveraging the power of social media marketing can help elevate your dealershipís customer base in a dramatic way. But getting started without any previous experience or insight might be intimidating. It is important to understand social media basics. From maximizing quality to increasing your online entry points, abiding by these 10 suggestions will help build a foundation that will serve your customers, your brand andóperhaps most importantly—your dealershipís bottom line.

1. Listen – Success with social media requires more listening and less talking. Read your target audience’s online content and join discussions to learn what’s important to them. Only then can you create content and spark conversations that add value rather than clutter to their lives.

2. Focus – It’s better to specialize than to be a jack-of-all-trades. A focused social media plan intended to build a strong brand has a better chance for success than a broad strategy that attempts to be all things to all people.

3. Quality – Quality trumps quantity. It’s better to have 1,000 online connections who read, share and talk about your content than 10,000 connections who disappear after connecting with you the first time.

4. Patience – Social media success doesn’t happen overnight. Commit for the long haul to achieve results.

5. Compounding – If you publish amazing, quality content and work to build your online audience of quality followers, they’ll share it with their own audiences. This sharing and discussing of your content opens new entry points for search engines like Google to find it in keyword searches.

6. Influence – Find online influencers in your market who have quality audiences and are likely to be interested in your products, services and business. Connect and work to build relationships with them. If you get on their radar as an authoritative, interesting source of useful information, they might share your content with their followers, putting your business in front of a huge new audience.

7. Value – Don’t spend all your time directly promoting your products and services or people will stop listening. Add value to the conversation. Focus less on conversions and more on creating amazing content and developing relationships with online influencers who may become powerful voices for your business.

8. Acknowledgment – You wouldn’t ignore someone who reaches out to you in person so don’t ignore them online. Building relationships is one of the most important parts of social media success, so be sure to acknowledge every person who reaches out to you.

9. Accessibility – Don’t publish your content and then disappear. Be available to your audience. That means you need to consistently publish content and participate in conversations.

10. Reciprocity – You can’t expect others to share your content and talk about you if you don’t do the same for them. So, a portion of the time you spend on social media should be focused on sharing and talking about content published by others.

About the Author

Cindy Feldman

For over three years, Cindy has managed marketing and communication efforts for the Association and Power Farming Shows through print, electronic and social media. Outside of work, Cindy can be found traveling, gardening, hunting for cool vintage finds, running, biking and hanging out with her dog, Jack.