The Unpopular Perspective: Social Media is a Zero-Sum Game for Dealers (but it doesn't have to be)

Sometimes, you just have to call a spade a spade. The promise of automotive social media has been a zero-sum game for the majority of dealers. To get the most out of it, you have to give a lot, whether it's in the form of time, money, or both. This is not the case in most other forms of digital marketing, but social media takes effort.

Some say it's more effort than it's worth.

As we've discussed in the past, there are two paths to success on social media. One is to buy in all the way. Investing in advertising dollars and spending the time required to make it truly effective can yield results. Some dealers have demonstrated this. However, is the time and money spent on social media worth the return on investment?

The other way to make social media work is to take advantage of the tools and strategies that can generate good results without much of an investment of time or money. This is the path that we've chosen for our clients, which is why our social media program is designed to publish articles, videos, and inventory onto Facebook and Twitter at a low cost and without much effort at all on the dealer's part. In fact, it can be set on autopilot.

Some will say that this is not the best way to do it, which is why we believe this will be an unpopular opinion. However, we've found that dealers who are putting much more time and money into their social media marketing are not yielding much better results. Sure, they can get more likes and engagement, but at what cost? Could the investment have been used on a more tangible advertising medium?

Those who understand what we're saying here realize that we're not downplaying the effectiveness of social media. We're simply pointing out that most dealers fall in the middle where they're investing some time and money into the various social media platforms but not enough to generate better returns that an automated system like ours brings to the table.

It isn't the safest thing for us to say. We know there are plenty out there who are passionate about social media and who would say that we're going contrary to the purity of the medium. We would counter that we do believe social media can be great or it can be good. To be great requires a sizable investment. To be a little less great requires much less of an investment.

With most dealers finding themselves somewhere in between, they are spinning their wheels. Go all in or go with an easier solution. Being in the middle is taking more investment without yielding better results.