Social media – the next chapter

  07 February 2011

You know how sometimes you don’t really understand something, but somehow you know it must be important. I felt like that when I first heard about Twitter.

It was at an SMMT press test day and a colleague described how posting a Tweet instantly drove more traffic to his website. I didn’t use Twitter (I still don’t) but I instantly understood why and how it could become such a major commercial tool.

Right now, I feel the same way about ‘social commerce’. No, I hadn’t heard of it either until a couple of weeks ago but now I need to know more.

In essence, it’s all about harnessing the power of social media for commercial purposes. Two good examples are Facebook Deals and Groupon.

Facebook Deals is a product that allows you to create deals on Facebook and promote them via your social network to friends and followers. There are different types of deals you can create to achieve different business objectives; all of which, at present, are free.

Groupon is similar; an electronic version of the old coupon books you can still find in tourist information offices or local newspapers but with the extra power of social networking. Buy the deal that day, recommend it to your friends or on Facebook, get extra discount.

Neville Briggs, the clever man who runs DMS supplier Pinewood, says: “Social commerce represents a shift in consumer thinking and presents an ideal opportunity for dealers to increase footfall and workshop bookings for all kinds of aftersales items.”

And Mazda is already participating in the UK launch of Facebook Deals with a 20% discount on all MX-5s. The Mazda offer is especially clever because it also attracts footfall using Facebook Places.

So, I’m not the only person who thinks something important is going on here. Rest assured, it’s a topic we’ll be covering at our Web Workshop seminars scheduled for May. Look out for details and make sure you come along.

Have a good week, both in and out of the showroom. If you have a story for us, or want to get something off your chest, email rupert@auto-retail.com

Rupert Saunders

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