With the increase of consumers preferring to use online channels for communication, it’s crucial to devote attention to who might be best equipped to handle these valuable relationships. Social media is marketing, sales and customer service wrapped up into one now, and social media managers need specific, unique skills to ensure a dealership’s digital reputation is protected.
“Hiring the best is your most important task.” -Steve Jobs
Who exactly is the best person to speak for a dealership’s brand? There is no simple answer. After all, their job duties encompass so many different aspects of visibility in the customer’s purchase journey.
Customer Experience is the sum of all experiences with a brand and those include a customer’s behaviors, attitudes and emotions about the store. Savvy strategies are mandatory to navigate the nuances of each online property and it’s not a job that just anyone can handle.
Many dealerships leave their digital reputation susceptible to digital destruction.
It’s surprising to know that many dealers haven’t put much focus into this social media manager position. Some haven’t even designated someone to manage all of the components of their online marketing, thereby leaving their digital reputation vulnerable.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your digital reputation is “just fine” without your attention. Believing that it’s unnecessary to go to the expense or trouble of making sure your reputation is protected will come back to bite you.
Managing conversations is key.
Conversations about your store(s) should be monitored and managed accordingly. Someone must make sure they’re legit, informed and a mirror of the customer experience delivered in real life. Leaving this to chance with an inexperienced team is dangerous and leads to lost sales.
“Savvy strategies are mandatory to navigate the nuances of each online property and it’s not a job that just anyone can handle.”
10 Qualities of a Remarkable Social Media Manager
If I’ve done my job, I’ve convinced you to employ someone to oversee your online assets. Before you make a decision on who that will be, it’s crucial to identify the ideal skills they should possess.
1. Social Media Savvy
She/he should be a regular user of social media personally and should be well immersed in the social environment.
She/he should be able to tell a good story. If they have a blog or write for online media, check out what they’ve written. It’s a great way to observe their skills and decide if their personal brand fits the company’s criteria.
2. Branding and Marketing Experience
Social media is equal parts marketing, branding, sales, PR/crisis management, reputation building and data analysis. I can’t tell you how many employees I’ve met who’ve been put in charge of a dealership’s social media and digital reputation that have ZERO branding and marketing experience.
Social media is simply a channel(s) with which to engage customers and deliver key messages that are relevant to their needs, concerns and challenges. Experience is evident in your message and results.
3. Ability to Focus
Focus is fast becoming an essential marketing skill. Amid the many distractions facing social media managers, the ability to concentrate has become increasingly complicated.
We lost focus to social media, which has made interruption an art and science. The very medium we work in has provided so many distractions that it’s a gigantic task just to keep track of what we were doing 15 minutes ago.
From meetings to conference calls to compliance training to social community management, the sheer deluge of interruptions is an apocalypse waiting for critically acclaimed leadership.
Until then, focus remains an individual skill the modern marketer must work hard to master.
4. Emotional Maturity
A social media manager must have the ability to maintain perspective and above all, not take things personally.
The ability to understand and manage one’s emotions supports a dealership’s healthy online community.
Here are the signs of emotional maturity:
- You notice and verbalize (with composure) when you’re wrong.
- You’ve created a space between feeling and reacting.
- You’re compassionate to yourself and others.
- You know when to quit and when to persevere.
- You know when, who, and how to ask for help.
- You’ve realized the more you know, the less you know, and you’re OK with it.
- You seek self-mastery.
- You maintain a positive attitude
- You’re independent
- You’re truthful
- You’re responsible
- You’re accessible
- You’re gracious and giving
5. Empathy and Patience
Empathy is the key to great customer service and make no mistake, social media IS customer service.
The act of putting yourself in your customers’ shoes helps a great deal with understanding their needs and addressing them accordingly.
In tense crisis situations, where there’s an audience watching, a social media manager may not always deliver a solution but she/he can always deliver empathy.
Empathy is also vital in creating high-quality social media content. Content hits the mark when the customer is left thinking, “Wow, that was meant just for me!” Empathy is what allows a social media manager to create such content.
A social media manager’s job is not easy.
Sometimes, customers will be angry with you.
Sometimes, customers will need extra attention to understand things.
Sometimes, things will simply be difficult.
The worst thing you can do in these situations is lose your cool.
Impatience not only impedes our ability to enjoy life, but it makes us worse at doing hard things (like being a remarkable social media manager).
Understanding the addictive nature of anger, irritation and outrage helps you prepare for crisis situations. The more people feel these emotions, the more likely they are to keep feeling them. Understanding that makes it clear why it’s so important to be more patient.
6. Clear, Concise, Professional
When a prospect engages with a brand, they expect (often subconsciously) proper grammar, spelling and punctuation. This is an easy one to forget, so don’t.
User-generated content is representative of the experience another buyer can expect. Reviews are examined to further the potential buyer’s knowledge; responses to all reviews are included in their research.
Poorly written responses or robot-sounding corporate speak will work against a dealer’s digital reputation. They can damage any goodwill you’ve earned because it looks like you don’t care.
7. Ability to Recognize Leads
Social media, including online review sites, are places where people share their experiences and opinions. Often during those conversations, questions will arise.
A social media manager’s job is to recognize those questions as opportunities to bring a customer closer. She/he must be able to distinguish a lead and treat each as though the person were physically in front of them.
Pro Tip: Prospects ask questions. Answer their question, and then pose another consultative question that will help them think through their decision and lead them to the sale. These are the tenets of consultative sales but to the buyer, it’s advocacy.
8. A Sense of Humor
Let me preface this by stating that humor is not for amateurs. Humor on social media is only meant for those who master it. And by master it, I mean a reasonable person would laugh or find humor in your content.
I’ve included a sense of humor in my list here because you don’t have to be funny to have a sense of humor. I have many friends who can’t tell jokes or write funny posts, but they laugh at funny stuff.
Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.
Laughter is a universal means of communication. Humor humanizes a brand. In social media (and all marketing), people pay big bucks to reduce the distance between people so if you can master it successfully, humor rules.
9. Industry Experience a Plus
While it’s an added bonus that a candidate has experience in the auto retail industry, it’s not a requirement. An overview of operations and an immersive trek into company culture will go far.
With a high empathy quotient, she/he will quickly get up to speed on how the industry works.
10. Ability to Resolve – Not Inflame
The capacity to balance a timely response with a reasoned response fosters resolution.
Inflammatory remarks and behavior don’t do anyone any good. A social media manager may often be working on their own without supervision, so a calm approach to any conversation, including conflict resolution, should be in their wheelhouse.
A Social Media Manager Must Have Authority
An empowered social media manager takes responsibility and becomes accountable to see every issue through to the end. With authority, they can escalate an issue, follow-through with the players involved and respond to the customer in a timely, respectful manner.
Without authority, they are crippled and the customer receives poor service and support.
A social media manager speaks for the brand.
Today, every dealership must develop and implement a sensible social media strategy to manage its digital reputation and secure it all by choosing the right person, with the right skills, to maintain it.
Author: Kathi Kruse
Kathi Kruse is an Automotive Social Media Marketing Expert, Blogger, Speaker, Coach, Author and Founder of Kruse Control Inc. Born in the heart of Los Angeles to a family of “car people”, Kathi’s passion for the car business spans a 30-year career managing successful dealerships in Southern California. Kathi is the author of “Automotive Social Business – How to Captivate Your Customers, Sell More Cars & Be Generally Remarkable on Social Media”.