Lexus Associates Learn About Social Media at Boot Camp

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Booting Up – The Lexus social media team gears up for a boot camp that gives associates basic training in Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Thanks to social media, Lexus customer service rep Don Lombardo responds to customer concerns faster than ever.
 
“Customers are amazed when I call,” he says. “They start laughing and ask, ‘How did you find me so quickly? I just tweeted.’ Then they say, ‘That’s why I bought a Lexus.’”
 
But even though Lombardo knows that social media works, he didn’t know exactly how it works until he attended a Lexus Social Media Boot Camp.
 
“I learned what we do, how we do it and why we do it,” he says.
 
That was the intent of the two-hour boot camp, which was offered three times in June and July. More than 200 associates not only learned the basics of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, they also got an inside look at Lexus’ social media approach and structure.
 
“Our primary goal was to have all Lexus associates fully understand the growing importance that social media plays in connecting, communicating and building relationships with our current and future customers,” says Monica Womack Peterson, Lexus digital marketing manager.
 
The boot camp evolved from Dealer Digital Roundtables held in each Lexus Area earlier this year. Dealers learned how to develop a social media strategy and how to use the various platforms. After receiving positive feedback, the Lexus social media team decided to offer similar sessions to associates.
 
“We wanted associates to know what social media is and what the current trends are,” says Dan Reynolds, Lexus social media planner. “We wanted them to understand how Lexus is using social media and to learn about our team, our processes and our policy. And we wanted them to start following the Lexus social media channels.”
 
Lexus.FacebookLexus has about 620,000 fans on its Facebook page alone, which bodes well for sales. Cars are among the top products discussed in social media, and a study found that 60 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase from a retailer that they’re a fan of.
 
But social media does more than sell cars. It also provides a forum for valuable feedback.
 
“This is like having a giant headphone on, so we can hear the voices of people who are talking about our brand, our dealers and our products,” says Reynolds. “We can pull that information out and direct it to the appropriate decision maker to make a change.”
 
At the boot camp, associates learned how to be part of the online discussion. In compliance with the Lexus Social Media Governance Policy, they should identify themselves as Lexus employees but make it clear they’re not speaking on behalf of the company. Official statements come from the social media team.
 
But associates may become brand advocates by sharing content already distributed through official Lexus channels. For example, an associate who drives a Lexus IS might tell her Facebook friends that she loves her car in a post that links to an IS commercial on YouTube.
 
Stacy Henderson, Lexus marketing strategy planner, found the guidelines particularly helpful, along with an introduction to social media terms and icons. Her new knowledge enables her to work more effectively with her colleagues in interactive marketing, she says, and helps prepare her for future roles in Lexus.
 
“I’m a toddler when it comes to social media,” she says. “I really enjoyed the boot camp. It was thorough, detailed and understandable for someone like me.”
 
To read the company Social Media Policy, go to Toyota Vision, click on HR (TMS), then search for Social Media Policy.
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