How Miss USA Can Hurt Your Dealership’s Reputation

By Christine Plunkett Automotive Content Comments Off on How Miss USA Can Hurt Your Dealership’s Reputation

For my talent, I’ve prepared a divisive viewpoint

Recently the new Miss USA was crowned, but her victory was not without controversy.  What does this have to do with your social media marketing strategy?  I’m so glad you asked.  Every business has a decision to make about what type of personality they want to portray online.  At every onboarding, Dealer Authority strategists ask questions to determine whether our new partner is more playful, or serious.  Are they open to pushing the envelope, or do they prefer a more buttoned-up approach to engaging with their community?

As a default, we have a few topic pillars from which we rarely stray.  The three pillars are local, dealership, and brand. If a social media post topic doesn’t fall under one of these three category umbrellas, or very close by, it is not the right post for our dealers.  In addition, we stay far away from any topics which invite arguments.  Think about the things you shouldn’t discuss on a first date, job interview, or with your girlfriend’s parents:  Politics, religion, and the like.

Nice to meet you. What are your views on Planned Parenthood? Personally, I’m Pro-Life.

It may seem counter-intuitive to neglect hot topic items over which other outlets fawn in an attempt to generate as many reactions as possible.  At the end of the day, our goal is to get engagement from our audience, right?   Right, but we want POSITIVE interactions.  You would be amazed at just how rowdy a comments section can become over seemingly innocuous conversation topics.  You don’t have to post “I hate Donald Trump” to receive a flood of supportive and contradictory opinions which can quickly spiral into hate-spewing and threats.

We have experienced rabbit hole phenomenon on posts discussing traffic lights, potholes, police officers, and more.  These posts have the potential to invoke strong emotions and invite opposing viewpoints.  The problem with a dealership involving itself in the conversation is that you could be perceived as having a strong, definitive stance on the topic at hand, even if one is not deliberately stated.  The perception can be that if you remain silent while others comment with abrasive viewpoints, you must agree.  Or, if you delete a vitriolic quip, you must disagree with the entire stance being supported by the potty-mouth.  You can’t win.

“Dear Dealership. I’m shocked and offended that you didn’t ‘like’ my comment about how much I love pugs. Clearly, you all hate animals.  No one from my lineage will ever buy a Chevrolet again.  #Ever #PugLivesMatter #PugJustice #BradsWife”

Back to Miss USA.  While the crowing of a beauty queen doesn’t fall within our three pillars for most dealerships, it is a good fit for the “local” category in Virginia Beach because the “most beautiful girl in the world” graduated from a local high school there.  It would be easy content for the social media manager to select, but it would be a mistake.  You see, during the question and answer portion of the beauty pageant, the soon-to-be-crowned Kara McCullough shared an opinion about healthcare which set the opinionated masses ablaze with fury.  She stated that healthcare is a privilege and not a right.

It matters not where you, or your dealership, fall on this issue.  Stay away from this, and all potentially inflammatory conversations for the sake of your sanity and, more importantly, your sales.  While it is easy to say, “people are too sensitive” (which they are), or “I’m not going to censor myself for people who can’t handle opposing viewpoints” (good for you), or “You can’t please all the people…”, etc.  Let me go ahead and save you the time. On your own personal social media outlets, go nuts. Be a social warrior soldier or freedom of speech fighter on your own time, but when representing a business – zip it.  

Be Switzerland. You’re Switzerland.

Your goal is to engage your audience in enjoyable, entertaining, interesting, and relevant exchanges which will build up the opinion of your brand.  You want all the warm, fuzzy feelings you can cultivate and NONE of the downers.  Hell, even cause marketing is not without nay-sayers.  We’ve seen dealerships supporting the SPCA or giving a car away to the Wounded Warriors Project, both incredible and generous endeavors, only to be met with, “Well, why didn’t you donate a car to [insert their charitable organization of choice]?!”

While there is plenty of truth to the adage, “You can’t please everyone,” where marketing your dealership is concerned, you must try.  Put aside your personal struggles with the snowflakes and social justice warriors and at least attempt to “please” everyone.  Keep your conversation topics light, uplifting, and happy.  Don’t court controversy.  When a curmudgeon poo-poos on others in your comments section, utilize the hide button for the first offense and block if he becomes a repeat offender.

Bye, Felicia!

If you would like to learn more about cultivating unique, creative, engaging social media content to boost your sales and how to appropriately interact with your audience, contact Dealer Authority for a consultation today.  

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