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Turning Social Media Into Sales
By: Susan Givens
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Five years ago, none of that would have made any sense. Now, when it comes to marketing, it’s all you hear.
Having a presence for your dealership on social media sites is all well and good — conventional wisdom tells us it’s a must these days — but when it comes to converting that presence into sales, social media can be a bit of a black box. We’re told it works, but how it works can be mysterious. Sometimes, it can seem like the point of social media is to generate more traffic on social media, when what you want to do, of course, is convert those “likes” into “sales.”
The key to social media is to treat it for what it is — an excellent way to build awareness and for allowing customers and potential customers to get to know you, your staff and your dealership. It’s not a sales tool in that you can regularly sell cars directly off of a tweet or Facebook post; think of it as more of an introduction tool.
Another way to think of it is to imagine being at a party. Someone comes up to you and you start talking. Maybe you mention the business you’re in and, if you made a good impression, your name pops to the top of their radar when they are ready to buy a car.
Now, imagine if, at that same party, you told them your name and immediately whipped out a set of photos of cars on your lot and tried to close the deal then and there. That’s not an impression that will drive people into your dealership.
So, how do you make a good impression and turn social media into a way to get customers onto your blacktop?
• Be Enticing — The first step is to give the customer a reason to follow you. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. If all a business did on social media was sell, sell, sell, would you follow them? Followers need to be engaged. Post content your customers want to read. The more intriguing your content is, the more likely your followers will share your posts, which leads to more visibility, more followers and more potential business. While you can promote your dealership on social media (more on that a little later), mix it up with interesting articles, industry news, photos and other information that your potential customers would find interesting and entertaining.
• Know Your Audience — “Social media” is made up of different platforms, and each platform has it’s own audience with their own interests and behaviors. Twitter, for example, with its limit of 140 characters per post, is ideal for quick updates and interesting links. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is great outlet to share industry knowledge because of its professional user base. Facebook has great reach and the ability to post longer entries, so it’s a perfect method to stay connected with customers. Each platform also has different effectiveness based on gender and age ranges, so do some homework and come up with a strategy that makes the most out of each opportunity.
• Call To Action — When you do run promotions through social media, make sure you treat it as any other sales event, by including a clear call to action (“Learn More.” “Click Here.” “Act Now.”). Once the customer clicks on the CTA, be sure this action sends them directly to the landing page you’ve designed specifically for this event. You wouldn’t run an unclear ad; don’t post an unclear social media promotion.
• Landing Page — Landing pages are crucial elements to any online sales promotion. Dumping a lead onto your general dealership page leaves the customer feeling lost, and probably more than a little upset. They’ve clicked on your offer, and now they have to navigate to find more information? There’s nothing to keep them from bouncing away with a bad taste in their mouth. Landing pages allow you to control the transaction, capture the lead and measure the results of your specific social media efforts, all while keeping the customer happy and engaged.
Social media is a great tool for communicating with your customers and getting in front of those looking for your services. Just be sure that your efforts aren’t wasted — or worse, driving customers away — by using the platforms improperly. You wouldn’t “wing it” on television ads or billboards; build a strategy for your online marketing. http://autosuccessonline.com/news/blog/771-47