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The Only Two Rules for Ridding Trolls from Your Dealership’s Online Presence


Jordan Wall

Newton’s third law of motion doesn’t exclusively apply to gravity – it’s dealerships too; what goes up, internet trolls bring down. At least they try.

When you’re riding the highest of highs with impeccable Google ratings, winning awards, and offering fantastic deals, you become a target. The following two rules are essential in bulletproofing your online reputation when troll-pocalypse reigns down upon your dealership.

1.   Determine if it’s an internet troll or a “passionate” customer

Yes, there is a difference. Assessing if it’s someone raising hell or raising concerns are vital in correctly handling a situation. Take time by thoroughly reading their comments to determine their validity by looking out for these details and taking the interaction offline to discuss it through private messaging or email:

  • The use of employee names. Get their side of the story and come to a compromise with the commenter.
  • Reoccurring incidents. If it looks like more than one person commenting on the same subject, act fast, as it can quickly escalate into a mutiny if they begin commiserating with each other.
  • Timeline. Check sales and service records to see if evidence corroborates the comments and talk to the employees who interacted with them.

Social media comments are like picket signs surrounding your dealership; they’re public, and they’re visible. But no matter what, empathize and apologize. Focus on making a diplomatic first impression in extinguishing these verbal fires and establishing ordinance.

Set a high-level of decorum for your online community by encouraging positive interactions and fostering a respectful environment. If there is a description option on your social platform, write your policy there, reminding everyone what your channel condones.

Facebook tip: There’s an option to hide comments where only their friends can see their posts. They are under the impression they’ve “won,” but in reality, it’s as if it never happened!

2.   Stay on brand

Companies need to establish a unique tone and voice to create a unified online persona. Start by understanding your “brand’s archetype” which encompasses your brand’s values and culture. OEMs generally perceive themselves as the “ruler” archetype, showing they are an expert in their field.

Creating a style guide makes your social media administrator’s job exponentially easier. It rids the subjectivity as to what’s appropriate for your brand across all networks, assuring a standardized online interaction with your clients. HubSpot’s 21 Brand Style Guide Examples shows the 21 companies whose style guides are the best in the business.

Having a defined brand archetype and style guide narrows your focus to what content you publish online. Without one, it only takes one off-brand post to tear down your well-established reputation, and it’s open season for trolls.

Avoid controversial topics that put you at risk of alienating potential clients or belittling your competitors. Research your region and post localized content as its relatability will drive a higher engagement rate and build a rapport with your customers.

Brush the dirt off your shoulders, my friend. You’re now troll-free certified.

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  • car sales
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  • dealer advice
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  • google analytics
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  • sales advice
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