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Smart businesses everywhere are using social media to help them build and improve their fan bases in order to increase brand awareness and boost sales. So what makes them so smart? They know social media is where it’s at for companies that want to quickly reach the most people and earn word-of-mouth marketing. A heavy majority of marketers—72% in fact—say social media helps them develop loyal fans and keep their businesses top of mind in the marketplace. So when it comes to earning the trust of potential shoppers, one of your goals should be to gain online visibility for your dealership and expand your reach by getting in front of online consumers.
Today’s busy and fast-paced lifestyles have left consumers to lean on online interaction as the most efficient way to get and share information, leaving marketers to figure out the best ways to connect with shoppers and disseminate targeted content. Perplexing as it may sound to businesses, shoppers don’t necessarily buy online for the purpose of obtaining lower prices; in fact, convenience, speed, and flexibility are high-ranking motivators that drive online shopper behavior, and the businesses that have taken these learnings to heart are the ones that are winning in the online loyalty department.
When consumers are online, they gravitate toward brands they know and find familiar, highlighting the fact that social media serves more as an online advocacy plan rather than a brand awareness campaign for those consumers who haven’t yet been introduced to a brand. In other words, social media will be your best friend when it’s time to build loyalty and enhance the relationships you’ve already begun to create, however it’s more difficult to find new followers on social media and convert them into loyal brand enthusiasts if they have no prior knowledge of your brand. Social media is a great fire-spreader, and keeping that in mind, businesses will do better when they bring with them a spark to help the fire spread.
Your customers are the spark that will start your online fire. They are your cheering section, your fan base, your pep squad—and you’ll want to keep track of them even after they have made their purchases so you can invite them to be a part of your online social circles. Every time your dealership provides top-notch customer service, you’ll want your customers to advocate for you online, because when they share their experiences, word will spread to their online friends and acquaintances. Sure, you could post all the great things you do all on your own, but you don’t have nearly the combined reach as that of your customers. By continually adding to your fan base of happy customers, you’ll grow your dealership’s online reach, increase brand recognition, and keep your dealership front of mind with potential future shoppers.
As you build your social media presence, your loyal customers will want to contribute and interact with your online content, creating a natural advocacy plan for your business. A great way to ensure consumers continue to interact with you online is by continually updating your platforms with relevant and interesting content that is helpful to shoppers. Don’t overload them with sales pitches; instead, offer quality content that gives consumers something they can use. Consider car-buying tips, maintenance how-tos, or vehicle comparisons. Whenever you think of a topic your audience will love, take the time to post it—and then, remember to also take the time to interact with your fans. It makes a difference, and they’ll notice when you make a point of chatting with them or answering their questions.
We like to think things move at warp speed on social media, but it’s important to remember that building and growing your fan base takes time. Think about your favorite sports team. Or your favorite band. Or your favorite anything. It took time for them to ingratiate themselves with you. Why? Because they had to prove themselves worthy of your admiration and loyalty. It’s works the same way for every business, and that’s why you need to stay the course by providing consistent great service, a dependable online presence, and quality content to back up your brand. Customers will begin to see you as a thought leader and a dealership that deserves their loyalty when you continuously provide for their needs both in the dealership and via your social media platform.
Many businesses look at social media as something they have to do in order to keep up with today’s consumers, but this mindset often doesn’t allow them to prepare a complete game plan in order to can reap the true benefits of social. Social media is a tool that, if used correctly, can boost your business exponentially—by way of bottom-line numbers and consumer popularity. The trick is this: You can’t just “set it and forget it.”
In terms of things you must care for, your social media platform is more like a puppy than a pet rock. In other words, you need to have follow-through and take care of your platform. Not only do you need to continually post unique and updated content, you also need to be aware of how consumers are interacting with your content. Do you know how many of your online fans actually shared your content? Do you have a way of finding out which online supporters walked back into your dealership for repeat purchases? The metrics behind your social media work are integral to your success as you build your network of loyal fans.
If you’ve provided great dealership service, you’re already off to a great start. Simply continue where you left off by offering quality content and great online interaction, and you’ll see your fan base steadily grow. Be consistent and be a presence consumers can’t ignore. Tell a story that’s worth sharing—and then follow through to see who’s passing it along, who’s visiting your dealership, and how your content is affecting purchasing decisions. Use the power of social media to build your fan base and keep your dealership top of mind with consumers, and in turn, you’ll begin to see greater brand recognition and improved interaction with your audience.