Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

The skinny on PSN’s SocialLink app

August 22, 2011

You may have heard a little whisper from PowerSports Network recently about an app that it deems the “missing link” in making your Web initiatives a little easier to manage.

It’s called SocialLink (promo video above), and it acts as a bridge between PSN-powered websites and dealer Facebook pages. With SocialLink, says PSN national sales manager Dave Valentine, dealers can have their website inventory automatically fed into their Facebook page in real-time, without having to take any additional steps. The app also allows fans to sign up for store email blasts.

“It’s simple to use,” Valentine says. “We do almost all of the work for the dealers.”

PSN subscribers need only click on a button that says “send to Facebook” when they’re uploading their inventory. The action will lead to a window where you can edit text and schedule the Facebook post to go live immediately or set a date for the future. Dealers also can schedule up to three “Featured Units” per day to show up on their Facebook pages. Facebook fans are able to view photos, review prices and Like or Comment on individual units.

“We’d like dealers to use this tool as more of a social thing, for example asking customers, ‘What do you think of this bike?’ rather than just using it as a sales tool,” Valentine says. “If they just did sales, it would turn off their uses.” PSN also plans to add social event posting capabilities in the near future.

The SocialLink add-on tool is $49 per month. Since it’s August 1 launch, more than 100 dealers have started using the tool, including Buddy Stubbs Harley-Davidson in Phoenix, a store that incorporates both of its branches into one Facebook page.

For more information, contact PSN at 800-556-0314.

Facebook for Business is a one-stop shop

July 27, 2011


For dealers still needing a nudge to join Facebook, the social networking site has just made it easier for you to set up a business page.

Facebook this week launched Facebook for Business, an information hub that lists all of its pertinent business information on one page. Everything from how-tos on creating pages to adding targeted ads and plug-ins is now in one convenient spot for you to peruse.

(Aside: It’s interesting to note that this launch comes on the heels of news that spanking-new social networking competitor Google+ has been deleting business pages and turning away businesses from its site.)

So have at it, folks. Visit www.facebook.com/business to create a page, or learn about all the features that you can plug into your existing one.

Cellphones replacing loyalty cards?

June 1, 2010

By now your business surely has a Facebook fan page, and some of you are even actively using it to promote your store/product/whatever. We even know of some Top 100 dealers who offer Facebook-only specials to its base of fans — usually, a 10-percent off something or other special. It’s a brave new world, this social networking stuff, and it’s sometimes hard to tell if all the work keeping up with it is for naught. 

Sure you have 500 fans on Facebook, but what does this mean? Has it translated into more sales or door swings? 

Well, the New York Times is reporting on a number of social networking companies who are turning their social media skills towards programs that can help you track your more loyal customers — at least those who are actively engaged in Facebooking, Foursquaring, etc. 

There are already several tech companies — Foursquare, Shopkick, Gowalla and Loopt — that have turned shopping and visiting stores into a game. Consumers using the social apps on their smartphones mainly use them to “check in” to different locations to let their Facebook friends know where they are or where they’re shopping. They can also collect virtual points, prize badges and titles such as Mayor or some such. They’ve basically turned running errands into a game. 

Sound silly? Yes, sort of, until now. A couple of these companies have introduced partnership programs that allow you to reward loyal customers for coming into your store and “checking in.” This is basically mobile marketing that allows you to offer such perks as discounts or free gifts to loyal customers. The idea is that these targeted bonuses will help increase repeat visits in addition to foot traffic. 

The New York Times reports that such companies as Gap, Burger King and Universal Music have plans to use Loopt Star to reward loyal customers. The participating companies can tailor the program to offer different “rewards” for such actions as “checking in” a certain number of times, or give out an extra perk to those with a specific number of Facebook friends. Retailers can design “rewards” with their own graphics, special offers and the actions they’d like their loyal customers to take. These include:

  • check in to selected venues with Facebook friends
  • check in to selected venues and broadcast this on Facebook
  • check in to selected venues at certain times of the day
  • check in to selected venues a specific number of times  
  • Foursquare, the most popular of the “checking in” apps, allows businesses to offer Foursquare Specials, a program that includes a set of analytics to gauge consumer behavior. The free program allows you to collect behavioral data about customers such as:

    • most recent visitors
    • most frequent visitors
    • the time of day people check in
    • total number of unique visitors
    • a histogram of check-ins per day
    • gender breakdown of customers

    Foursquare also encourages businesses to promote their involvement with the service via Twitter, with signs at the cash registers or sidewalk signs, and can help stores market their Specials via window clings or through downloadable PDFs.  

    Here’s an idea. Why not combine the Motorcycle Industry Council’s Revive Your Ride program and one of these mobile marketing services to promote the upcoming riding season?

    It’s undoubtedly frustrating keeping up with technology when you’re running a dealership, especially the rapidly evolving social media world. But it might be worthwhile to investigate what’s out there as it’s very likely a large swath of your customer base is already clued into this stuff. Also, a lot of a it is free and who doesn’t like free?

    Stopping Internet-Phone Use In Your Dealership

    March 4, 2010

    Or Can You Make That Phone Habit Work For You?
    Some Retailers Have. Here’s The Story.

    It was the second day of a 20 Group meeting and the discussion turned to employee cell phone use. It was one of the hottest topics of the weekend.

    “How can I stop my employees from spending so much time on their cell phones during working hours?” one asked. “They’re on the Internet all the time.” The question struck a nerve, and the discussion was off an running.

    The consensus: Internet phone use in dealerships is out of control and there doesn’t seem to be any easy way to stop it. But do we really want to stop it? Using that ingrained habit has proved profitable for some retail operations like yours.

    (more…)

    A Saturday at Harley-Davidson of St. Augustine

    January 18, 2010

    Dealernews Top 100 Dealer Builds Traffic Several Ways

    ST. AUGUSTINE, Fl. (Jan. 16, 2010)—Owner Clark Vitulli opens his small Harley-Davidson store here before 8 am this cool, drizzly Saturday morning, making last minute preparations for a couple of special events and the shooting of several TV commercials.

    Sales of all makes of new and used motorcycles were down more than 40 percent in Florida last year, but Vitulli’s operation bettered that sad figure; his sales were off by less than 30 percent. The operation generated revenues of nearly $10 million last year. One reason for his success is that he worked hard on promoting the store and giving prospects many opportunities to visit his 16,000 sq. ft. facility. It has a 9,000 sq. ft showroom and a 7,000 sq. ft. service department with 10 service bays that is completely air conditioned with an AC duct in each bay. There are 20 full-time and part-time employees.

    There’s a picnic area and a band shell for live music every weekend. There’s also a shuttle bus running to the huge outlet mall nearby.

    Clark Vitulli

    Today, the store is promoting a 9 am blood drive, followed by the monthly meeting of the store’s HOG group. After the meeting, the film crew will move in to shoot footage for a series of 30-second TV commercials featuring customer testimonials. The shoot will last a couple of hours. After that, traffic should slow down this afternoon.

    While it seems a bit crazy here, it’s a typical Saturday for the store.

    The dealership also operates a tiny retail satellite operation (Harley calls it an Alternate Retail Outlet – ARO) a few miles away in St. Augustine’s Old Town, the center of this delightful historic tourist attraction. St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States, older than Jamestown by 42 years, in fact. It was founded in 1565, 55 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. Vitulli and his business partner, Allen Good, opened the small 1,500 sq. ft. store to sell apparel and accessories in December, 2009. It’s in the high rent district of splashy retail shops on St. George Street, the main tourist venue, but with the high pedestrian traffic, it generates sales of about $200/sq ft and helps drive riders to the main store located on the edge of town, just off I-95.

    (more…)

    Reaching Powersports Customers with Social Networking

    January 4, 2010

    This story originally appeared in the Dealernews December 2009 issue.

    Happy New Year, all. We’ve made it through 2009 and the mad rush of the holiday shopping season and are now edging our way toward Dealer Expo and the great unknown of 2010.

    I spent a lot of time online over the holidays (possibly too much) frequenting the social networking site Facebook, obsessively checking my e-mails, perusing various dealer and other industry-related websites. Along with figuring out that I need to get out more, I noticed that a lot more dealerships are embracing the online world.

    Facebook pages. E-mail newsletters. E-commerce sites. Websites that are more than a store’s cyber-billboards. It seems that many more powersports retailers are starting to grasp the possibilities of the online world — but not all just yet. In fact, it’s going to be a long slog up the learning curve for the bulk of dealers. But the small empirical slice I saw looked promising.

    Why is this so exciting for me? For one, I’m in a demographic that straddles the divide between the digital natives who have grown up surrounded by and regularly using technology and those whose VCR clocks (those who still have VCRs) will forever be flashing 12:00. I’m (more…)

    Smart Dealers Use Facebook (Or How to Pimp a Holiday Sale)

    November 30, 2009

    Admittedly, I’m a bit of a Facebook junky and spend a lot of time on the social networking site. OK, it’s probably far too much time but that’s a topic for another, more humiliating conversation. For the sake of this post, let’s say I was on FB several hours a day over the four-day Thanksgiving holiday. (Hypothetically speaking, of course.) Over that time I saw many postings from people I’m friends with or businesses I’m fans of (FB lingo) but there were a handful that really stuck out.

    During this holiday break, you couldn’t click a radio dial, open a newspaper or turn a channel without reading something about the retail orgy known as Black Friday and its post-consumergasm follow-up, Cyber Monday. Everybody knows that many retailers count on these two big holiday shopping days to push the books into the black. But did you know that many powersports retailers are also latching onto the idea that building sales programs and marketing efforts around these two days is a great idea?

    And why not? Consumers of all stripes are conditioned to view these days as days to GO OUT AND SPEND MONEY. (more…)

    Deadline on Lead Content Rapidly Approaches

    February 3, 2009

    A Dealer Could Be Liable for Up To $15 Million In Fines

    But Enforcement Is Another Question

    The deadline for retailers to stop selling children’s products that violate lead content limits, set in a new consumer safety law last year, is only one week away.

    Unfortunately, many powersports dealers apparently don’t realize that they could be liable for penalties reaching $15 million for violations of the law.

    OK, that’s perhaps unlikely. But the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) calls for a maximum civil penalty of $100,000 per violation up to a maximum of $15 million for a series of related violations.

    And, according to one attorney who is very familiar with the law, there are also criminal penalties of up to five years in jail for a willful violation of the law.

    That’s a big OUCH.

    (more…)

    CPSC’s Recent Action Doesn’t Help Powersports

    January 31, 2009

    Dealers Still Face Feb. 10, 2009, Deadline

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission Friday pushed back the testing and certification deadline for its lead content rule in kid’s ATVs to Feb. 10, 2010, giving dealers and OEMs an extra year to test and certify to the safety of products. That’s good news.

    But this is the bad news: The action provides no real help to our industry because dealers still must obey the Feb. 10, 2009, deadline prohibiting the sale of kid’s products that exceed the lead content limit.

    Here’s the situation, as explained to me by the CPSC today:

    ALL PRODUCTS SOLD BY DEALERS INTENDED FOR CHILDREN 12 AND YOUNGER MUST COMPLY WITH THE 30 YEAR OLD LEAD PAINT STANDAND AND THE NEW TOTAL LEAD CONTENT LIMITS STARTING ON FEB. 10.

    DEALERS ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO TEST, BUT THEY MUST ENSURE THAT THE PRODUCTS THEY SELL TO KIDS ARE SAFE AND IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE LAW.

    In a nutshell, if a retailer has a product made for kids that does not meet the (more…)