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Dealerships are coming around and increasingly realize the importance of having a good social media presence.
Perhaps it’s due to the reach and effectiveness of social media ads, or the ability to stay top-of-mind with customers – both existing and potential. Regardless, dealerships are shifting their focus away from traditional media towards digital and allocating more budget to social media in their digital marketing mix.
But not all dealerships have social media down quite yet. Some simply post the same content to all their pages – at the exact same time. Even worse, some post nothing but vehicles for sale and/or specials.
Effective social media involves more than just displaying your inventory. It should include posts that capture your unique personality while providing opportunities to engage customers. Whether that engagement is through liking or responding to a comment, or seeking out conversations, dealerships who practice this type of social activity are much more likely to keep eyeballs and ears on their social efforts.
A new report by social media platform Sprout Social reports that 86% of surveyed consumers think transparency from businesses is more important than ever, and 40% attribute the importance to the influence of social media. In addition, more than half of consumers, or 53%, said they would be more likely to consider brands that are transparent on social media for their next purchase, while a lack of transparency might lead 86% to purchase from a competitor.
Transparency can be a scary word for car dealers.
The first thought that may enter many dealers’ heads would probably be that transparency involves giving out pricing on the Facebook page, exposing them to the world. But I’m here to tell you that’s not the case.
In terms of social media, transparency has a whole different meaning. Transparency in this sense simply means being human. Consumers don’t want to interact with just vehicle ads, displayed over and over again. However, they will interact with people and personalities such as employees and customers.
Don’t believe me? Test it for yourself. Instead of posting that newly acquired trade-in, or new model year vehicle, take some pictures of your staff having a good time, interacting with customers. Or snap a pic of a customer jumping for joy next to their newly acquired vehicle. Supplement those with pictures of special occasions or other events that show off WHO your dealership is such as food drives, charity events, the local school football game you sponsor, etc. Consumers already know what you sell – cars. What they’re more interested in is who you are; your personality as a dealership – do they like you enough to do business with you? This is why consumers read reviews.
Think about it. Consumers now read reviews as a key part of the research and car buying process. Part of this is to see how the dealership treats its customers. Those reviews share other customers’ perspectives of who you ARE as a business.
It helps the consumer choose whether to do business with you or your competitor.
Similar to when you meet a new person at a party – or even online -- If they’re mean or rude, you probably don’t want to be their friend. On the other hand, if they are nice, friendly and interesting, if they share good stories and information that make them real and someone you like, they could well be someone you chose to hang out with in the future.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t post any promotional content. Got a hot new vehicle in inventory, heck yes, post it. It just should not be ALL that you post. Balance is key. Good quality, interesting content on your dealership’s Facebook page is simply an effective way to share your unique personality and value propositions with those considering doing business with you.
Make a good impression and it may be the least expensive form of customer acquisition and retention you could ever make.
Keep your content fun. Keep it people-focused. And, most of all, be transparent in those efforts. If you do this, you will find that consumers will return the sentiment and you’ll end up with a lot of new friends.