Stone Meta Describes ‘Swarm and Herd’ Strategy to Improve Auto Dealership Social Media Results

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This swarm and herd strategy creates a sense of fun, community involvement and trust, and as the page continues to capture more fans it creates opportunities for the dealership.

Social media strategists Stone Meta Media tells auto dealers the key to creating Facebook fans and keeping them engaged in the dealership’s postings is a ‘swarm and herd’ strategy.

“We use a ‘swarm and herd’ strategy to first build a large Facebook fan base for the dealership and then we use techniques like coupons, games, contests and other fan incentives on the page to begin drawing or herding fans into the dealership,” says Stone Meta CEO Rob McClurg.

Dealers like Apple Chevrolet in Tinley Park, IL, use this strategy to empower their Facebook pages. “The strategy keeps our fans paying attention to our site,” says Tom Gorham, the dealership’s Internet Sales and Marketing Manager. “They have to be checking out our page often if they want a chance to win one of the many promotions we run all the time that help us draw customers into our dealership.”

‘Swarm and herd’ is a phrase first coined in the book Nature of Marketing, and the idea as adopted by Stone Meta for social media is highly relevant. It refers to creating a large Facebook fan base foremost and then herding those fans to the dealership through very specific Facebook engagement events.

“This swarm and herd strategy creates a sense of fun, community involvement and trust, and as the page continues to capture more fans,” McClurg adds, “it becomes alive with engaging conversations, monthly promotions, special coupons and local links to coincidentally create business opportunities for the dealership.”

“This is a delicate situation, herding people to the dealership,” notes Gorham. “The effort cannot be obvious or it will turn people off. It has to happen in a special and careful way, which is why we use coupons – and we’re experimenting with Groupon to offer LOF services at ridiculously low prices – to get people in on word of mouth, where we can win them over and make them lifetime customers.”

Apple Chevrolet and Chevy Chase Acura-Nissan of Bethesda, MD say their social media provider suggested a number of fan-engagement tactics to support their swarm and herd strategy. For instance, Chevy Chase Acura-Nissan engages fans using giveaways -- iPad and other popular electronic incentives that encourage fan growth. Apple Chevrolet uses gas card rewards for Facebook sweepstakes and game rewards to create swarms of new fans.

“Chevy Chase started its social media marketing with about 1500 fans and after using the swarm and herd strategy grew the base rapidly to 6,000 fans. Apple Chevrolet uses the strategy and has seen its fan base jump from 300 to 3400 in just 90 days,” reports McClurg.

“Only when your social media efforts are building a large fan base can you start to herd these fans into your dealership and turn them into lifelong customers,” McClurg says.

Readers may contact McClurg at 815-333-3332 or visit


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Jim Leman
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