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Is social media right for you?

Social media is a big part of today’s daily lives for many people. You’re reading this, so you’re a social media user.

 

But some researchers warn that it’s not the end all answer to marketing your shop or parts store in today’s world. A four-member panel broached the topic during the first day of the Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS).

 

“There’s been a huge assumption on the part of manufacturers and folks, and I think a dangerous assumption, that I can throw all of this stuff out on Twitter and I’m going to drive all this business,” says Tom Langer, president, TLG Research. He adds that a good portion of today’s businesses still are in rural or semi-rural areas. “You have to be very careful to rush into social media as a primary or only marketing strategy.”

 

Before starting in on any marketing strategy, look at your customer base. Do you have enough people who would be using social media regularly that it should make up a good portion of your plan? Or is it just something you need to do because there is reach, but other media still makes more sense.

 

“Friends buy from friends, and it’s driven this market forever,” Langer says. “At least at this point, it doesn’t appear social media is going to change that attitude.”

 

Change? Maybe not. But affect? Absolutely.

 

“They’re going to connect the dots at some point, and they’ll make it reliable at some point,” says Bill Thompson, CEO of IMR Inc.

 

Dennis DesRosiers, founder and president, DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc., offers a unique idea on who might be more affected by social media: companies like J.D. Power and Associates and other customer satisfaction survey companies.

 

“(Social media is) quicker, more hands on surveys. It pretty well decimates these guys that classically go out and survey on customer satisfaction and then sell it back to companies,” he notes.  “It’s another way to reach consumers, rather than the classic way.”

 

While social media might not be the answer for how you should be spending the majority of your marketing focus, it still is important in today’s market. And the use of it will continue to change.

 

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