Automotive Digital Marketing ProCom

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Social Media Matters Because Your Customers Do!

Most discussions about Social Media between automotive advertising agencies and their auto dealer clients center around R.O.I.; or their perceived lack thereof.

I accept responsibility for providing proof of my performance. However, I question short term quantitative evaluations that don't consider the qualitative long term benefits of customer loyalty, satisfaction, retention and residual income derived from a comprehensive marketing plan that includes social media.

 

A real world example of a vendor that uses conventional and digital media enhanced by an integrated message delivered through social media is Driving Loyalty. Their data base marketing platform relies on a proprietary algorithm that delivers relevant transparent messages on a regular basis. They use emails, direct mail, personalized websites and most recently consulting services that advise their dealer clients to leverage customer generated content on social networks to reinforce the dealer's online reputation and relationships with their past, present and pending customers.

 

Relationship based selling is a proven process that has been made more efficient and scalable through the use of social media and the viral nature of social networking. Forward thinking vendors, like Driving Loyalty, embrace the extended reach and frequency provided by customer generated content. They recognize that word of mouth advertising and referrals must originate from like minded customers vs. the dealer with their presumed self serving agenda.

 

Fortunately, the R.O.I. from social media can be proven when it is properly defined. Increased traffic to websites sourced from social marketing messages, posts by customers on the dealer's Facebook pages that evidence positive experiences and improve the dealer's online reputation and even sales and service appointments sourced from social media tracked by analytic tools built into most technology driven sales and service platforms are all verifiable returns on investment.

 

Next generation social marketing applications, such as Helios being introduced by xChangeAuto, are even providing conversion platforms that reside on Facebook with integrated real time communications to the dealer's CRM and DMS. This seamless integration between the customer's social networking habits and the dealer's sales and service processes provides the first tool with a verifiable R.O.I..

 

Simply put, social media matters because in today's internet driven marketplace the customers are in charge. Auto dealers that prioritize their customer's experience before, during and after their sale or service at their facility will attract and retain more customers. Social media has the unique ability to insert the auto dealer into the conversation that is the market without having to time their message.

Views: 237

Tags: Automotive, ad, advertising, agencies, agency, auto, automotive, database, driving, industry, More…loyalty, marketing, media, networking, online, philip, social, zelinger

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Comment by Alexander Lau on April 11, 2014 at 7:02am

Comment by Alexander Lau on April 10, 2014 at 8:29am

Yes! :-)

Comment by Philip Zelinger on April 10, 2014 at 8:29am

Thanks for the comments Mark and Alexander.  Social media applies proven best practices of conventional media that are based on human nature and a free capitalistic marketplace.  The truth is that practitioners of social networking aren't reinventing the wheel; they are merely balancing it a bit.

I often have to remind my vendor/dealer clients and partners that the one constant that they can always invest in is human nature.  People will always prefer to do business with people they like and consumers will always take the path of least resistance to accomplish their goals.

The opportunity for advertisers to influence consumers is to first recognize that they don't know what they don't know and then to provide them the information that they need vs. what they thought they wanted.  Of course they have to be willing to listen to you first and that is where the friend part of social marketing kicks in.

After all, what are friends for.

Comment by Alexander Lau on April 10, 2014 at 5:42am

I measure all aspects of conversion through Social Media. You better have the right Social / SEO CRM in place, otherwise you're shooting blanks. Give me a ring. Facebook for one, organic is DEAD, it's not coming back and they know it. Pay to play!

Comment by Mark Dubis on April 10, 2014 at 5:38am

Phil, thanks for sharing this information.  We have certainly seen changes in our communications landscape, but remember the saying, "The more things change, the more they stay the same."   I interpret this to mean that while we have new online communities it all comes down to how we engage our visitors to these communities.   Garbage talk and canned sales pitches are still garbage whether you are on the dealership lot or on Twitter. 

Content is no longer King!  Engagement is the new King!  If you are not providing something of value in your content on any of these channels dealers are wasting their time and money on social media.  The outward message to the public comes from the inward culture of the store and how it treats its employees and customers.  The consumer currency of today and growing stronger every day is transparency and openness.  The good news is neither has to impact profitability.

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