Automotive Digital Marketing

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Depending on the amount of friends you are connected with on the social media sites, often the thought of reviewing the posts of others seems daunting. 

Even with Facebook, for instance, sorting through friends’ posts (even with FB determining what you want to see) brings with it a myriad of issues.  Being connected to businesses on these sites even makes finding engaging content more difficult.  How much is truly relevant to you?  Your consumers are asking themselves the same thing before they even decide whom to follow and unfollow.  So how do you stay intriguing and worth following?  By offering a buffet of social media postings.

Many social media experts have their own ideas (or acronyms) about what content your dealership should be sharing with fans.  The truth is, short of a running stream of your inventory, all answers are correct.  There could be someone that follows your page that finds value in every piece of content you post.  Or you might update your status with something that only one person “Likes”.  Or no one.  While there are some statistical reports citing the most engaging items to post, we at DealerKnows believe you should simply blend together a little bit of everything.  Post a smorgasboard of soc med-style content.

When choosing what to post, realize that you shouldn’t act like a dealership, but still remember that you are a dealership.  Don’t be pitchy.  Don’t feed into stereotypes.  Don’t be too “sales-oriented”.  Instead, be brand, community, fun, and familial in orientation.

Here are a few things that we see consumers and “fans” responding to, commenting on, sharing, retweeting, and “Liking” across the social channels.

(In no particular order)

  • Philanthropy and Charitable involvements
  • Photos of new customers with their vehicles
  • “Caption This” pictures
  • Video customer testimonials
  • Random pics of humor, quotes, or thought-provoking imagery
  • Questions to engage (think Trivial Pursuit, 1st date-style questions, Family Feud, or hypotheticals in orientation)
  • Reviews/Ratings from happy customers
  • Service Discounts, Coupons – Not ‘sales-related’ content. (No “3.9% on Tiburons until month’s end”-style posts)
  • Upcoming community events (and your involvement in them)
  • Nearby school events (and a mention of current employees from there)
  • Good staff bios
  • Job openings
  • Very odd vehicles taken in on trade  (a 2006 Chevy Malibu isn’t a worthy vehicle to share on your wall regardless of the “low miles”, but a DeLorean would be).
  • Interesting facts based on that date in history
  • Service How-To Videos
  • Very high profile OEM/Dealership updates that are actually in the news (with your dealership’s response to it)

There are countless others (though, as I mentioned, I recommend that almost no inventory is ever scene or discussed.)  You are a dealership so you don’t need to remind them that you have cars for sale there.  Truth is, to be successful on social media, you have to stop thinking about yourself as a dealership, but instead, think of yourself as a company that helps out the local community.  Carry that underlying mindset and you’ll be well-served delivering posts so full of likable, yet different content that you’ll see a wide array of people sampling your social profile.

Giving people a social media smorgasboard of posts to review makes you more well-rounded.  Like any delectable sampling of food does.

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Tags: consulting, content, dealerknows, joe, management, marketing, media, post, social, to, More…training, webb, what


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Comment by Alexander Lau on February 15, 2013 at 7:52am

The demographics of Social Media users:

Comment by Joe Webb on January 18, 2013 at 4:20am

Manny - Thank you!

David - Absolutely.  A company that is as dedicated to the content posting strategy in play below must also recognize that it is their responsibility to stay aware and engaged after each post as well.  Great addition to the conversation.

Tom - You couldn't be more right. Buy-in is critical yet so few dealers are hiring a full-time dedicated individual for this role, but instead make it more of a "side project" that will never fully develop without constant care and attention.

Comment by David Johnson on January 17, 2013 at 1:03pm

Good post. I'd like to add that while posting content that people find valuable is great it's even more important that the dealership be present in the conversation surrounding it. I don't want to pick on just dealerships because it happens in industry after industry that a good piece of content is shared and it sparks a conversations but the business is not involved in the thread of comments that come after it.

That's why I like to point out that one of the best way's for a dealership to come across as human is to have a dialogue on your social sites, it's what it's there for after all.

Comment by Big Tom LaPointe on January 17, 2013 at 10:56am

Not enough adjectives to describe the amount of wisdom here  - for ALL businesses. . . FB is already over-saturated. I think forward-thinking stores would allocate a portion of budget just for social media - not just to pay for someone to do it at least part time, but treat it like a sponsorship -

people still use the WIIFM filter - have a monthy iPad giveaway. test drive incentive. pet videos. etc.

Comment by Joe Webb on January 16, 2013 at 5:13pm

Gary - Absolutely.  It is hard to know the best content to post if you haven't first researched the engagement on the posts with the tools available.  Good insight on the linking to the charities to ensure a more "sharable" content.

Alexander - People and, more importantly, cooperation are imperative to any long-term content posting strategy.  In the end, someone has to find, research, and create many of these elements I've listed.  As we all know, it takes a village, but it is better if it is a village of people that understand what is truly for the common good.

Comment by Alexander Lau on January 16, 2013 at 6:28am

This might be all good info, but if there isn't a dedicated outreach / community team and someone writing this content or driving it, it makes it very difficult for the dealership to perform these social media tasks. You're asking for a lot. I supported a super-dealership in my previous job, they had an outreach team and someone that wrote it, so it was easy to get that original content and place it socially. Granted, they had the money and resources to do it. You're going to find it hard to convince smaller dealerships in doing this, at least on a consistent / best practice basis. That's when a dealership acts like a dealership, because they are forced to, with little content else.

Comment by Gary May on January 15, 2013 at 7:20pm

Nice Joe, agreed. Only one missing component that is the real ingredient to ensure at least nominal, if not significant, improvement over time: Use analytics (Facebook's back end for example) to see how many people are interacting with your content. Remember that "likes" on posts do the least to move your content to more people's home stream. And if some of the posts about the "more sharable" content (charity, etc.) have links to the main page (as in a Charity page with photos, videos and links to involved companies on the dealership's website) and those drive traffic.

Posting content for content's sake is as exciting as watching a new digital wheel alignment....or paint dry. Which ever is more obnoxious...

Comment by Joe Webb on January 15, 2013 at 7:18pm

Thanks, Jim.

Comment by Jim Radogna on January 15, 2013 at 7:17pm

Good stuff Joe!

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