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Car dealers don’t listen on Twitter either

Late last year I performed a few simply Twitter tests for churches.  I found 36 churches that had their Twitter account listed on their home page, and sent them a simple message to see how many would respond.  Out of the 36, only four of them replied — just 11%.  If you missed those posts, here is the test with the first 11 churches, and here is the test with the other 25.

I recently sent a tweet to my car dealer to see about coming in for an oil change, but they never replied.  Despite the big dollars that car dealerships throw at TV and radio commercials, I began to think that they were likely ignoring Twitter as well.

I did the same kind of test that I did with the churches.  I found 20 local dealerships that promoted their Twitter account on their home page and sent them all a simple tweet — “What time is your showroom open this Sunday?“.  As before, I wanted to keep the question simple as to not waste much of their time.  The tweet was sent around 8:05 on Wednesday evening, giving them plenty of time (and two full business days) to respond.  As with the church example, all 20 tweets were sent from different accounts so we wouldn’t look too obvious.

The results?  Almost identical to the churches, with just 2 out of 20 replying — 10%.

The Good

Two dealerships replied.  @MariettaToyota wrote back to say “Marietta Toyota is open from 1 pm to 6 pm on Sundays! Is there something special you’re looking for?“.  Perfect!  @LandmarkDodge was the other that replied, by saying “11am, hope to see you!“.  Very solid.  They both took about 24 hours to respond which is a bit slow, but certainly acceptable.

The Lazy

Nine dealerships simply haven’t tweeted since we did the test, much less replied to us.  A few notable ones:

  • @SandySpgsToyota — Just a dump from their Facebook account, but it’s been over two weeks since they’ve said anything.
  • @RickCaseMazda — No updates at all since last November, but they have 252 followers.
  • @GeorgiaFord — Just dumping everything via  Ping is a fine service, but you can’t just post info and never follow up on it.
  • @HennessyHonda — No updates in over a year, with the last update saying “The dealership is closed now…“.  Given the context of no updates in a year, I thought perhaps it meant they were closed for good.  That doesn’t seem to be the case, but this stream is quite a mess in a number of ways.
  • @CobbCountyKiaGA — Using some service called “ReachCast” for their service, but they haven’t tweeted in a month.  Perhaps someone needs to build “ListenCast” instead?

The Bullhorns

Nine other dealerships posted at least one new update since our inquiry, but (unknowingly, I hope) completely ignored us.  Some highlights from there:

About Facebook

Most of these dealerships do a fine job with Facebook, and that’s certainly a great thing.  Facebook is an excellent tool to help keep your brand front of mind, introduce new products, answer questions, etc. It just seems silly to have Twitter plastered all over the site and then just ignore people when they try to engage with them.

The other thing that I’m seeing more of lately is people simply using their Twitter account to drive people to their Facebook Page.  Someone has chosen to follow you on Twitter and hear what you have to say, and you simply push them to your Facebook Page instead of engaging with them?  That’s so foolish.

What’s the solution?

It’s pretty simple — listen.  Use a tool like TweetDeck or HootSuite and start paying attention.

If you don’t have time to monitor these social outlets yourself, then hire a company to do it for you.  In most cases, it costs far less than even a part-time employee, and you’ll be able to keep things monitored 24/7.  There are tons of companies out there that can help you with it; just be sure to check them out carefully to make sure they really know their stuff.  You can start by asking these five questions, check out their Klout score and find out how long they’ve been on Twitter (“experts” didn’t just join last year).

What do you think?

Is it worth the time/effort for these dealers to get more involved on Twitter?  It looks bad to say things like “socialize with us” (like this one) or “connect” (like this one) when they’re clearly not doing either of those.

Are they dropping the ball, or am I being too critical?

About the Author

Mickey Mellen

Co-Founder and Technical Director

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