CEOs, executives, and all upper-management of auto industry dealerships should be making an aggressive stance in social media. With so many “free” platforms to spread the word, make an appearance, and even more importantly, leave an impression, there is no excuse for sticking to old, tired marketing methods (like radio ads).
One of the most noteworthy examples, used frequently by auto makers like Toyota, is Twitter. Toyota will often share news about incentives programs, as well as putting a face to their COO Jim Lentz, by live tweeting with customers. Other car makers have moved onto Twitter, and show no sign of leaving this free resource for exposure.
How else can the big car brands spread their messages? Facebook fan pages are an excellent example of using social media to target the next generation of drivers. Not only reaching current owner/fans, Facebook leaves an impression on all of those kids who are pining to turn 16. On Facebook, Kia has made the mistake of splitting their message onto more than ten fan pages. Not only does that increase the amount of labor necessary to keep their branding afloat, but it also fractures fan impressions.
Making good on Digg Dialogg, proving to other auto manufacturers that it is possible, Jim Lentz has reached out to fans personally. This is in addition to a good showing on YouTube, which other brands like Mini Cooper, Kia, and Porsche, have also succeeded in.
YouTube, unlike the other venues for “free” marketing, often requires funds up front to make a successful viral video. From singing hamsters, to pro skaters like Bob Burnquist, viral videos on Vimeo, Viddler, and YouTube have the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of viewers.
Big car brands have nothing to fear online, but their customers’ misconceptions about the car brand. This means that by sending a clear message across all of these platforms, auto makers can tie-up misconceptions, answer questions, and spread the word about a future image, effectively pre-heating the public to love what’s next.