My tire dealer (Western Tire) and my local car dealer are using social media in an innovative way – different from what people may think and very successful.
First what they didn’t do:
– No fan page
– No online community
– They have both no blog or any major “presence”
Now what they do:
– The majority of their team mates have an account in Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace
– They asked their clients if they are in the social web and if they may connect. In order to make it easy for all parties to exchange the sites and networks they asked them to share their Xeesm (a little free tool to keep all your social sites).
– The car dealer sales people start in the morning and visit all the clients they have so far and visit their profiles to know what is going on in their client’s lives. Some chat about vacation photos or whatever is appropriate. They do that until a client enters the store and then often get back to their laptop and again meet clients in the social web. It shifts the “image” of the ugly car dealer sales guy to a much more caring person. They use our Social CRM system to visit on average 50 contacts a day. With 4 sales people that is about 4,000 customer touch points a month. Is the social car dealer a new chance for the car dealer guild? This one certainly is.
– The Tire dealer is different as they have high noon early in the morning. Once the daily dose of tire repairs is in, they start to connect with clients like the car dealer above. The tire dealer is now thinking about renting an old airfield to let customers on it and “burn their tires” literally. Simply because they found that a lot of their customers are 19 year olds who secretly burn tires on the street and share their photos on Facebook. But only if you care about your customer you know what they actually do – once in a while ;). The guys in that tire shop are very different. The live in their cell phone and push us hard to change the app to make it better work for them. There is only one computer in the shop.
Now this started a few month ago when one of my tires blew up and we chatted about our respective business. The next step now is building a fan page – but with a specific theme, content and purpose – not to just have one.