Automotive Social Media Charlatans Exposed

I have been a part of the automotive aftermarket for over seven years now. Companies and brands of all shapes and sizes are realizing the relevance and power of social media. While their efforts are admirable, many are not capturing the characteristics of the aftermarket that make it unique from all others.  That being said, there is a stark contrast within the measurable, mechanical world of the automotive aftermarket with the fluffy, mysterious world of social.


Bobby Likis host of the Bobby Likis Car Clinic radio show.

So I was wondering…
Does the mechanic ask you what type of wrench to use in fixing your car?

Would you trust a Ferrari mechanic who has never seen a Ferrari before?

Pros fix your problems, have legitimate certifications, and can provide a well-defined outcome with reasonable certainty.

But in social media, we have no such thing yet.
So to avoid being a self-proclaimed social media expert, focus on being a driver (no pun intended) of business value in your area.

There is an assumption that if you know how to post to a social media account is sufficient.
This ability alone does not make you an expert.

The automotive aftermarket segment is like no other, with companies that operate as B2B, B2C and hybrids of both.
Knowing the tone and personality of the brand, and having an understanding of the customer base and audience will allow for good content and even better targeting.

If you don’t know about antifreeze, you’re not going to be able to credibly write content for Prestone.

If you don’t know about how to modify Corvettes for maximum performance, you’ll fail responding to die-hard Lingenfelter fans.

The social media expert dies

Sure, there still will be colleges offering degrees in social media.

And the need for strong measurement in social isn’t going to go away either.

But the one-dimensional social media expert will be extinct.

If you don’t have deep vertical expertise for a particular client, you can’t help them in their social media.

Sorry.  Just won’t work.

Your knowledge of how to pin and tweet won’t make up for lack of vertical knowledge.
Same is true for whatever set of tools you employ.

Here’s Rob Schermerhorn, who is a Ferrari mechanic.

Because he’s able to post content that Ferrari owners relate to and because he knows where Ferrari owners hang out (Ferrari Chat), when he runs ads, he gets leads.
This is the GCTA viral cycle:

viral circle V4 20140506

Goals: Drive leads for his Ferrari tuning service
Content: Lots and lots of examples of him tuning Ferraris over the last 20 years– going faster for cheaper. You’d be surprised at what penny pinchers these guys are, but that’s another story.
Targeting: Ferrari owners, not the 18 year olds who are fans of the Ferrari page. Choose the right interests and demographics. Income works, too.
Amplification: This is where we run ads, but we call it “amplification” instead– the combinations of content and targeting to drive relevant traffic.

These are the mechanics of social media amplification.

  • Miss any part of this cycle and the wheel collapses.
  • If you don’t have awesome content, all the analytics and targeting in the world won’t save you.
  • If you don’t have proper targeting, no amount of measurement or content will win.
  • If you have clear goals, solid content, and strong targeting, but no amplification– well, you still might win, but you’ll be running on a donut tire.

How are you doing against these factors?

They’re not magical.
It’s just that not many people get this owner’s manual when they get their Facebook page, twitter account, or whatever network profile.