Carter Myers Automotive, a major presence in Central Virginia, is a family business: four generations have kept this dealership chain running in Charlottesville, Richmond and the surrounding area.
The dealership's web site now includes details of that history, which spans more than a century. And like other "legacy businesses," Carter Myers is becoming serious about pursuing the potential of something that previous Carter Myers generations would have never dreamed of: social media.
"You want to drive messaging to customers," Vice President of Operations Matt Walsh told Mega Dealer News on Feb. 13, describing efforts within the last few months to consolidate and universalize how the group's stores leverage social media platforms.
In the past, Walsh said, stores have used Facebook pretty heavily, but sometimes with very different types of campaigns. In general, he said, social media generates buzz, but it's more effective in creating sales opportunities with an ordered strategy that takes into account cohesion and coordinated efforts.
"It's kind of like the Wild, Wild West," Walsh said of social media marketing as an often fragmented and under-used medium. "We want to coordinate the messaging -- social media ends up being a part of that."
For local branding, interactive customer experience, and cutting-edge "agile advertising," more and more of these companies are moving assertively into social media marketing spaces. Walsh said Carter Myers is partnering with a full-service marketing firm to work on digital strategy, media buying, reputation management and more. With 13 stores, he said, if the group can create even a 10 percent efficiency in marketing, the revenues will be impressive.
"Social is an opportunity," Walsh said.
Top brass at auto dealerships are realizing the power social media has to create vibrant outreach campaigns to reach customers. This is just one example of how the industry as a whole is embracing the idea that auto dealerships should add modern means of marketing to more traditional media.