Where does your dealership stand on the social media spectrum? When it comes to dealer social media, are you digitally savvy or is your online presence sporadic or worse even, non-existent? Let’s be honest. The buying cycle of consumers in the digital space has significantly shifted, and dealerships need to be prepared to adjust to changing consumer demands.
Take a look at some of these numbers from Think with Google.
- Sixty-six percent of recent purchasers say, “YouTube was one of the best places to watch ‘in-action’ videos of vehicles I considered buying.”
- Twenty-eight percent of the buying population feels that social media greatly influences the narrowing of their brand or model consideration.
- Twenty-seven percent said that social media greatly influences their identification of a dealership from which to purchase, with sixty-nine percent indicating that a friend’s favorable post about a dealership positively impacted their opinion of the dealership.
- Approximately two-thirds of those who use Facebook in the automotive purchase process indicated that a friend’s favorable post about a brand or vehicle positively impacted their own opinion of that brand or vehicle.
- Among the 2,000 car shoppers surveyed by Dealer.com, “Twitter has a 45 percent visitation rate, and 22 percent of respondents use it at least daily.”
These numbers paint a clear picture: dealers need to be leveraging the social media piece of the digital marketing puzzle. Whether you are just starting out or you’re a dealer social media expert, here are a few tips to ensure a successful social media presence.
Everyone’s goal is to turn social media likes and fans into real world purchases and referrals. A lot of dealers might say, “Social media is too much work and it won’t sell me any cars.” They don’t believe that it works if they can’t track it. Then those same dealers turn around and put thousands of dollars in advertising towards traditional channels like TV, radio and billboards, which arguably have much smaller measurable impact. The truth is, there are a lot of ways to measure engagement and sales through social media efforts compared to traditional advertising methods.
While it is possible to make sales through social media, keep in mind social media is really all about connecting with your audience. Boring content and a static account won’t bring people back to visit your dealer social media pages, or visit your dealership in-person. What content will your audience connect with which will consequently keep your brand in the spotlight?
Be Realistic and Consistent
With these things in mind, be realistic about the social media goals you set. Who is available to man your dealer social media and what content are you able to produce? How consistently are you able to produce it and can you maintain that workflow? After your content is published, how do you measure whether or not it was successful? With any effort, ensuring that clear objectives are set at the beginning is a key to managing and monitoring a campaign’s success.
Make Social Media Management Easy
Once those questions are answered, you can begin mapping out how you want to handle day-to-day social media management. Luckily, there are a numerous tools available to help you accomplish your social media goals.
- Scheduling Tools: Who has the time to log in to individual social media accounts to consistently post updates? Using social media scheduling tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout Social or Social Pilot enables you to schedule a number of posts in advance. These tools offer a number of other features like content calendars allowing you to schedule social media posts around events or annual sales.
- Understanding Engagement and Return On Investment: What did people do with your post? Did they scroll by it? Like it? Click through to your website and fill out a lead form? Most social media sites, and even some scheduling tools, offer a suite of analytics so you can dig into the audience’s engagement with your content. Google Analytics is an excellent free tool that gives you the ability to monitor what your audience interacts with on your website. When your social media efforts are integrated with your website, you can gain an accurate picture of your audience and the content they are interested in viewing.
- Use Your Resources: Your employees don’t just have one skill, for example, an IT member may have an excellent photography skills and be proficient on Instagram. Tap in to those accessible resources and reward employees who come up with posts that garner the most shares or likes to encourage them to continue contributing to the success of your social media. Allow your teams to freely brainstorm ideas, and don’t shoot ideas down. Powerful campaigns come from engaging with your customers, so talk to them about what they think and enable them share their story. This results in a free way of learning more about your demographic and in many cases powerful client testimonials.
Running a successful dealership and creating a strong dealer social media presence isn’t easy and can take a lot of time that you might not have. If you aren’t interested in managing your dealer social media yourself, there are services like Dealer.com that specialize in social media management for dealerships. They will work with you to make sure your dealer social media presence and overall strategy helps you to connect with your community and audience.
It starts with taking time to evaluate your social media presence and goals, then coming up with a content plan to make concentrated efforts to connect with your audience. Get these things squared away and you’ll be on your way to becoming savvy in social media.