If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines thinking over social media as a marketing tool for your automotive dealership, I’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is that you’ve missed out on some revenue, there’s no other way to say it. Not possible revenue, real revenue. The numbers are in on car buyers and social media, and they’re strong.
The good news is that at this point the risk factor is determined by you. In other words, if you do social media well, you will get an ROI from it that is profitable. If you do it half-heartedly, your results will reflect your effort.
These four tips can apply to any business generally speaking, but they also have specific benefits to the car industry. In the first half let’s look at which networks to participate in, and next time we’ll look at three specific strategies.
Cover All the Bases
If you’ve been involved with marketing a car dealership, you know that the spectrum gets covered in print, tv, and radio. They each have their success percentages and demographics, and you cover as wide a range as possible. After all, your target customer is someone who drives, which is practically everyone.
Here’s an easy way to relate to the four social sites you should use as a dealership. First is the big one,
Facebook is the equivalent of TV on the web. It’s where the most people are, it covers the widest demographic, and it is as much a passive activity like TV as it is interactive like Twitter. Plus, as we’ll see shortly, Facebook is a very friendly place for car sales.
Twitter is the radio. Always on and active, to the point, without excess to trim through, and filtered down to the information you want on real time. That’s what the actual users do, not the millions of bot accounts and inactive accounts. Apply the thinking of radio advertising to your Twitter account and it will almost seem natural very quickly.
Pinterest is tailor-made for an auto dealership because of it’s picture-board design. Pinterest is the equivalent of the weekly and monthly auto exchange magazines and newspaper ads. People go to Pinterest looking for things to buy, studies show, and they are mostly women. Almost like they knew that you needed a new and perfect advertising outlet. Upload the pictures and descriptions to an ongoing board of inventory and wait for the contacts.
how do I say it? Google + is not (exclusively) a social site for you, it is your tool for search engine ranking. See, unknown to many, Google has other products than it’s social hub, and they tend to tie them all together. One of the, um, more prominent products is a search engine, and really the only one that is used statistically. I’m convinced that there is no one who actually uses Bing when they are in their homes. It’s all made up. So you do Google+ because it’s doing Google, and Google is the internet.
Buy Facebook Ads
Facebook says it can target auto customers better than Google, and even better than television. That’s a pretty bold statement to make. Just count how many car commercials you see in a single evening of television viewing. Don’t make it a drinking game or you’ll never see 8:30. They wouldn’t put so much money into them if they weren’t effective.
Facebook backs their claim with a study commissioned from comScore, which showed that browsers who viewed a Facebook ad about a car viewed a specific car model’s page 50% more than those who didn’t. Interestingly, the percentage of interest in another brand also dropped slightly after seeing the Facebook ad, and interest in a specific other model dropped almost 15%. Those are some pretty solid figures, and it’s a whole lot cheaper than a TV ad, especially a Super Bowl ad.
Make an App
An app custom-made for your dealership is a win-win for you and your customers. It helps to create loyalty from them and gives them a reason to stick with you for service and future purchases. The variety of things you can build into your app is broad, but here are some suggestions:
- Parking spot finder – use the GPS to find local available parking as well as finding where you parked when you come back.
- Gas station locator – like GasBuddy, to find close stations and possibly see their prices.
- Flashlight and multi-tool – could include compass, strobe light function, etc.
- Interaction tools – maintenance and service recording and reminders, easy to use contact button to call, push alerts for recalls or weather alerts, service scheduling within the app, send discounts and coupons.
- Updated inventory – entire car inventory available within the app.
- Make sharing easy – make sure that there is a check-in button and an easy way to share to the dealership on social sites. If they have to look for it or figure it out, it won’t happen.
Make sure that you require account creation to use the app, it’s essential to using many of the most beneficial features.
Monitor and Maintain Review Sites
Now this is news you can’t ignore. Digital Air Strike, the leading automotive social media, online reputation, and digital response company in the US, released a study last spring which showed that reviews of car dealerships on online review sites are now playing the single biggest role in choosing a dealership to purchase from.
The study included the methods that 650 dealerships use on social media and the replies to a survey of 2,000 consumers who had purchased a vehicle within the previous six months. Review sites are becoming a vital part of many industries, and the auto industry sits near or at the top of that list. Maintaining your reputation on these sites is vital. If you need help with this or any other aspect of social media for your dealership, talk to a professional right away.