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Last week, AutoTrader.com released a study revealing that social media hasn’t impacted millennials’ car buying process...
While this may sound discouraging for dealerships, ruling out social media might not be the best option. What if your dealership’s just not doing “social” the millennial way?
A more important question to ask is: What’s really important to the millennial consumer on social networks?
I disagree with the general notion that millennials are narcissistic and that we’re the “all about me” generation. We were born into a society that was already starting to embrace diversity and individuality -- so that’s what we’ve become and what we want to read. We like to read content that is unique and custom-made, just like we are.
Dealers: If you’re trying to reach millennials online, don’t give us cookie-cutter content. We don’t want generic information with dealer jargon or content that shows you’re trying really hard to appeal to our interest -- it just doesn’t resonate with this generation.
Give us entertainment, advice, and knowledge, but do it in a way that shows who you are as a dealership. Showcase your employees and let your social media followers know who your team is. I’d even go a step further and encourage customers to connect with your team first! Social media started out as a place to connect with people (friends and family), so let’s keep it that way!
GenY is much less trusting than other generations. It’s not because we’re fickle, as we’re commonly portrayed to be, but because we grew up around access to instant information and research. If the information you feed us doesn’t come with data or some kind of evidence, we’ll probably look for it. More importantly, as you’ve seen in cases like the Union Street Guest House debacle, if you’re wrong, we’re happy to call you out on it online.
Also, millennials are less patient when it comes to transparency -- we want answers fast. The more you wait, the harder it becomes to trust you. Not to mention that it’s magnified on social media by the amount of other people who stumble upon this content.
Dealers: Being transparent is not always about having it all out in the open, but being able to respond to questions and concerns when we have them. If we’ve reviewed you anywhere on the web, you should be finding this feedback and responding to it, especially if it’s negative. When we’re on your website shopping for a car and can’t find information about a vehicle, you should give us tools like live chat to reach out to you immediately, and get answers.
Just by being present online, you are already encouraging us to trust you.
You’ve heard this one before, and believe me when I say that it’s true. Millennials care about brand ethics, and it definitely affects where we shop. We want to support brands that align with and reflect our values. In other words, we want companies that recycle, volunteer, and give back to the community. We also want to read all about it. Generation Y is highly optimistic and we like to be advocates for social change, so when you share your involvement in the community with us, it’s sure to peak our interest.
Dealers: Community involvement benefits your company in more ways than one, and there are many ways of doing it. An important step here is to share your good deeds with the online community. Even inviting your online consumers to participate in fundraising with links and contents is a great way to get the word out. While this alone won’t sell your cars, it will definitely help close the gap between your dealership and your millennial customers.
Millennials don’t want shallow or simple content -- give us the good stuff with links and pictures. Yes, we want short and concise content, but we don’t want to compromise between length and quality. We want hard news and latest automotive trends, but the way you present this information to us is just as important as the information itself!
Speaking of presentation, we want this quality content strewn across all devices. Given that 30% of us millennials use 4 different internet devices a day, it’s safe to say we don’t depend on desktops to stay connected.
Dealers: Stay ahead of the game by watching social media updates like Facebook’s latest News Feed algorithm. That way you can tailor and optimize your content so more people will see it! Also, don’t just embed a video or share a link on your social media, give us a reason to click! Tell us why you posted or shared something and why it would interest us.
Also, try using a responsive website design that will automatically adapt your content to other devices. It will simplify your life and optimize your content so customers can see it just as well when they aren’t on their desktop. (If you’re looking to mobilize your dealership, check out this free eBook: “Are You Mobile and Tablet Ready?”)
While I previously mentioned millennials want a sense of individuality, we also want to feel like we’re a part of a collective group. We want to be a part of a community, which means we want to socialize and communicate with others. We like sharing content and our opinions of them with friends and family. Millennials want to connect with others-- that’s why we value businesses that create or engage in conversations.
Dealers: Be relevant. Staying current on the Internet where things change minute-to-minute, will be the difference between engaging millennials and losing their interest. Comment (tactfully) on current events, ask questions about new trends, have raffles and contests, use live chat on your social media to open up conversations, and most importantly...reply to people who write you.
By opening up the doors to conversation (along with your paid advertising) you won’t necessarily always earn business, but you’ll earn a place in millennials’ minds. And in the over-cluttered online world, that makes all the difference.
What are your dealership’s strategies to engage with millennial consumers? How has this worked, or not worked for your business?