Monthly Archives: July 2013

Module 2.2: Differentiation

Standard

Identify two companies in the same industry that utilize social media. Compare and contrast their social media efforts. How does each organization use social media to differentiate the brand as well as advancing differing strategic goals?

Social media has changed the way that automotive dealers not only do business, but the way that they reach out to their customers and handle customer relations issues as well. AutoFair Automotive and Grappone Automotive groups are two of New Hampshire’s largest auto dealer groups. Both hold some of the same franchises, including Honda and Ford, and both auto groups are highly active in social media, particularly on Facebook.

However, the two dealer groups could not be more different in their Facebook approaches. Grappone uses a single centralized login for all of its six stores, while AutoFair’s seven dealerships each have their own accounts.

Grappone is highly active and posts frequently, sharing images and human interest stories from other local businesses, promoting its grassroots and community outreach campaigns and, occasionally, advertising business-related specials, like 0 percent financing and holiday sales. But Grappone’s Facebook page is renowned for its monthly Grappone Cares contests, during which the company allows users to nominate local charities for a $5,000 cash award from Grappone. This not only helps increase traffic on the company’s page but also serves as an excellent tool to humanize the dealership employees, especially sales people, whom customers generally anticipate to be underhanded and deceitful.

Some of the AutoFair stores use their Facebook accounts for the same general idea, humanizing the employees and the industry, promoting positive feedback about the stores and, every so often, spreading the word about an upcoming sale or promotion. AutoFair’s Honda store is the most active dealership. The store posts daily and encourages feedback from clients and challenges users in trivia, in addition to giving out prizes, such as baseball tickets and concert tickets. The Honda store has more likes than any of the other stores and, not surprisingly, sells more cars, month over month, than any of the other stores as well.

From a marketing standpoint, Grappone does a phenomenal job maintaining its Facebook page and engaging users. It couldn’t hurt the company to throw in a few more posts that are business-related. Additionally, it would be in the best interest of some of the other AutoFair stores, especially its newest franchises, Volkswagen and Nissan, to post more frequently and even roll out a program through which to donate to local charitable organizations. It is not recommended that the AutoFair stores combine their Facebook accounts, as the stores are physically too spread out. Additionally, the company’s Facebook pages are individually managed by each store’s internet manager, whereas Grappone’s internet department is centralized.

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