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Rules of Engagement: Following Up on Social Media Leads

There’s a lot of talk about Social Media ROI.  Blogs and books and discussions are everywhere about how to measure it.  For dealerships, I’ve found one simple conclusion, an easy way to know if your getting your money’s worth doing Social Media marketing:

How many leads are you generating?

Just like search marketing and paid advertising, you always want to know how many leads you’re generating with your Social Media campaigns.  If the answer is none, you’re campaigns need adjusting because your content isn’t relevant.  If you’re getting leads and your sales people don’t know the proper actions to take to follow up on them, it will cost you dearly.  It’s not only the lost time and money.  If you continue to lag in your follow up, your online reputation will take a critical hit too!

In dealerships today, I see traditionally-run sales departments who act the same way we did in the 90′s.  The internet was young and we had all the time in the world to follow up.  An email would come in, we’d respond the next day or the day after that.  There was no urgency because the customer wasn’t asking for or expecting urgency.

Today’s Social customer begins their inquiry with the expectation that you’re already listening. Just as if you’re having a conversation, a timely response is what you’d better deliver.   Think about it: if you’re on the phone with someone and they suddenly stop talking, you’re going to wonder what happened to that person (especially if they weren’t on a cell phone!).  If you lag or fail to respond to Social Media leads, not only will your sale go elsewhere but they’ll tell others of their experience on Social Media.

We had a client who had an inquiry from a customer on an update we posted on Facebook for a Service brake special.  She reached out and asked, “How long is this good for?”.  Boom, there’s a lead.  Because the store was listening, they responded quickly and continued to converse with her over the span of a few hours, with the store responding quickly each time she replied.   The next day, she came in for the service and even paid for an additional repair.  They were able to convert her into a sale because they were listening and responding.  The customer’s takeaway? She felt valued and appreciated and deepened her trust in the store.

The best practice for Social Media lead follow up is to train your sales and service staff and BDC department on the behavior of the Social customer. Empower your people to be champion “carers” dedicated to interacting and engaging with every customer they find, every inquiry they receive.  Customer service is over folks–everybody does that.  In 2011, it’s customer caring, supporting, listening and responding. Done right, you convert those conversations to leads and those leads into sales.

Your Facebook Fans and Twitter Followers have given you access to their world.  They’ve given you permission to market to them. When they’re car shopping or looking for service, they come to you with questions because they know you and they trust you.  Answering their questions, developing the lead and converting them to a sale is how you win at Social Media ROI.

Kathi Kruse
Social Media Coaching & Training
http://krusecontrolinc.com

Views: 62

Tags: automotive, dealership.social, marketing, media, sales

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Comment by Tom Gorham on October 16, 2011 at 11:40am
Hi Kathi.  I enjoyed meeting you at DD11 and I have a lot of respect for what you do.  However I don't think I'm confusing advertising for marketing... I did mention the word subtle.  For me, everything is marketing.  So I know the difference between blatant and subtle... and "content".  Is networking so different?  Social Media IS networking, whether it be with fellow industry professionals, as in you and me, or with customers and advocates, as in me and thee.  The real question is whether the customer or consumer realizes such distinctions...
Comment by Kathi Kruse on October 16, 2011 at 11:12am

Hi Tom,

I'm afraid that you are confusing marketing with advertising.  Most definitely people go on FB for fun and networking. I'm talking about CONTENT MARKETING, which is very, very different than the kind of advertising or traditional marketing you're referencing.  Networking is actually marketing yourself so your analogy of the Lion's Club works though. Content marketing builds relationships that convert into leads. Have a nice day and thanks for commenting.

Comment by Tom Gorham on October 16, 2011 at 8:00am

Hi Kathi, great post and one of my favorite topics.  I agree with much of it, but not all.  Do you really think that by "Liking" your Facebook page, people have given you permission to market to them? I've heard this before but I disagree.  They are not there to be marketed to, they are there to socialize and enjoy.  Many are absolutely turned off when they are subjected to advertising on your page unless it's subtle and sporadic. 

I truly believe Facebook, for us, is like the old "Lion's Club", "Jaycee's", etc. It's a place to build relationships and word-of-mouth advertising. Although your inventory and service coupons should be there on secondary pages for those who decide to take a look, I believe our focus should be on interacting with our customers in ways that keep them coming back.

How can you measure word-of-mouth ROI?  Watch your repeat business and referral business increase over the next couple of years.  Doesn't give immediate gratification, but neither does that expensive "rehab" we just did.  MHO

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