Teachers can affect our whole lives. It’s hard to tell where the influence stops, even after all these years. Not every teacher has a profound effect, but most of us remember phys-ed. My teacher was a short, spunky lady named Mrs. Bruno. I was a cheerleader in high school (I know, you’d never guess it), and Mrs. Bruno’s leadership took us to many championships. The best teachers teach from the heart, and these lessons continue to resonate in my world.
Here are seven things I learned from my phys-ed teacher that influence my actions today with social marketing. See how many resonate with you:
1. “Failure is not fatal. But failure to change might be.” Marketing in the social media era is scary. Many dealers don’t know what to post on Facebook, or how to blog, or where to even start. The best thing to do is begin and fail until you succeed. Hire a mentor to guide you. Whatever you do, don’t do nothing. You need to be where your customers are, and that place is social media.
2. “If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” I hear many companies shouting, “Buy our product, and social media will be a snap.” Don’t believe it. Social marketing takes hard work, commitment, talent, and a budget. There are many obstacles but none that can’t be overcome. Once you’re on the right path, you’ll find your sweet spot.
3. “Enthusiasm is everything.” Social marketing succeeds because we are social animals. Sharing great information with other humans is part of our culture. How big a part does enthusiasm play in your overall business operation? Empower your staff to help create content for your social media channels. An enthusiastic team is contagious. Your customers will catch it and spread the fever.
4. “Teachers teach more by what they are than by what they say.” The same is true for your store’s brand. It’s not enough to advertise what great prices you have or what terrific service you deliver. Others have to be saying it, too. Use social media to communicate what it is about your store that makes it unique and why people buy from you. Enlist customers and employees to tell your story.
5. “Never mind what others do. Do better than yourself, beat your own record from day to day, and you’re a success.” I see many businesses that put a lot of weight on how many Facebook fans others have, and they judge themselves by that. What matters in social media is to have a highly engaged audience that wants to tell friends about you. Keep score: Set goals, and measure your progress. That’s how you succeed in social media marketing.
6. “People rarely succeed unless they’re having fun at what they’re doing.” Oh, I can’t begin to tell you the facial expressions I’ve seen when people bring up the subject of social media marketing. Whether you agree or not, having fun on social media is a great way to attract eyeballs (and customers).
7. “Experience is a great teacher.” I had a client last week who got their first “hater” on their Facebook page. We rode out the storm by remaining patient and having faith that the fans would right the ship. It worked, and they proved to themselves how social media improves the store’s image. Of course there will be others, but each time you experience these situations, you become a better social media marketer.
8. “Don’t limit yourself. What you believe, you can achieve.” With the right components (e.g., effective online marketing strategies) in place, you can sell cars and service on social media. Many dealers say they have to be on social media because everyone else is. That’s true, but they are limiting themselves by not going at it full force. Isn’t your store worth more than half the effort?
9. “It’s not where you start but where you finish.” Social media is a seismic shift for all business. Wherever you are right now is a good place to start. It’s a moving target, and action matters. Don’t just stand there. Ready. Set. Go.
Kathi Kruse is an automotive social media expert, blogger, author, speaker and founder of Kruse Control. A version of this article originally appeared on the Kruse Control blog.