Are car dealers taking advantage of their own prominence and social standing within local communities? Are dealers leveraging their social media active employees to connect with car buyers and service department customers? According to some recent research, 47% of American consumers agree that they follow or engage with at least one brand on a social networking site. Why did I headline this article with a statement saying that half of automotive consumers engage with a business? Because every source of data I look at tells me that car buyers are more likely to use social media sites and networks than those Americans who are too old or too young to be an active automotive consumer. And, the Survey results from Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange puts American consumers at least 3 points above the 24-country average at 44% in social media based "brand engagement".
Among American automotive consumers, women are 21% more likely than men to say they engage with brands on social networks. As a whole, the 18-34-year-old segment of American car buyers and service department customers are more than twice as likely as those 50 and up to connect with any business on a social network (63% vs. 29%).
The Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange study also reveals some other interesting demographic based social media marketing dynamics for car dealers and any business seeking engagement with their customers:
- Married respondents are about 9% more likely than those who aren’t married to follow/engage with brands on social networks (49% vs. 45%)
- The employed are 21% more likely than the unemployed to follow/engage with at least one brand (51% vs. 42%)
- Chief income earners are 10% less likely than those who aren’t the primary breadwinners to follow/engage with a brand
- Business owners are 28% more likely than those who don’t own a business to follow/engage with a brand (59% vs. 46%)
- Senior executives, decision-makers, and leaders are 40% more likely than those without such authority to follow/engage with a brand (63% vs. 45%)
It seems interesting to me that there appears to be little correlation between the time spent social networking by an automotive consumer and their propensity to follow a brand or connect with a local dealership online. The data shows that the automotive consumer's demographic category has little impact on time spent carousing around social networks and a propensity to engage with a business.
However, it certainly does not shock me or seem particularly surprising to read the reports from recent research by Ipsos that Americans with low household income spend more time on social networks than those with high household income... Or how about this shell-shocker; unemployed Americans spend more time on social media sites than the employed (go figure)!
Those same gaps were not seen in their latest brand engagement study. Although I found it particularly interesting that car dealers, general managers, business owners and senior executives appear to spend more time social networking and are far more likely to engage with the brands they use as suppliers or are considering using.... Hmmm... Maybe that explains why so many suppliers seek to publish their content on sites like ADMPC.com, dealerELITE.net, AutomotiveSocial.com and AutomotiveReputation.com.