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When it comes to social media, some dealers are uncertain of its benefits or unwilling to pay for the reach – and in some cases, both. Well, it is worth getting on the bandwagon as social media usage continues to expand with projections of over 3 BILLION users by 2021.
An interesting article on Entrepreneur.com explains why businesses should pay attention to social media and leverage any assets they do have to increase that reach, regardless of if they choose to use marketing dollars, or not.
The article shares five general strategies you can use to leverage social media to increase sales and revenue. I’d like to share those and put them in perspective as far as how a car dealership can accomplish those strategies. I mean, it’s one thing to sell lipstick or gadgets, and quite another to sell a customer on what is possibly their second most significant investment.
1. Use social media to drive traffic – While the article has an e-commerce focus, let’s be real, most dealerships are evolving more into e-commerce. Through the strategic use of relevant social media ads, you can leverage Facebook and Twitter data to target consumers in your PMA that are the most likely to be in the market for a vehicle. You can also use that data to drive service traffic by targeting current brand owners with service offers. Social media advertising can be lucrative if done correctly and is less expensive than most forms of traditional advertising.
2. Add video – Video is the preferred type of content for most social media platforms and, more importantly, for consumers themselves. It is easy to digest, engages the viewer and can elicit positive feelings.
Video is also an effective way to educate your audience. Think of the number of customers who would love to watch a video about how to turn off the tire pressure warning or how to pair their iPhone with the in-vehicle entertainment system. Consumers are indeed searching for this content so why not be the source of information rather than send them elsewhere, away from your site?
3. Brand Awareness – While the article discusses influencer marketing, dealerships have their own influencers – and the best part? They are free! Organic reach may be down on social media sites for business pages, but it is NOT down for individuals. By providing your customers with video and pictures at the moment of vehicle delivery, they then share that content with their friends. This is one of the best forms of advertising you can get, and the chances are pretty high that the content will influence someone in your PMA. It can even work better than hiring the latest Instagram star to show up at your dealership to sign autographs.
4. Value First – Many dealerships use social media as an extension of, or replacement for, traditional advertising. When it comes to those month specials, truck week, special financing -- consumers just pass those over them because there are so many. When they are ready to buy, do you think they will remember your dealership’s $10,000 off MSRP special when every other like brand dealership ran the same special? No. They will remember the dealership/brand that captivated them or, more importantly, used their content to educate and inform them rather than trying to sell them.
5. Tell your story – One of the most powerful things you can use social media for is to showcase your dealership. Highlight your staff, company culture and customer experience. When they view this type of content, car shoppers are more likely to choose you over your competition who simply push specials and sales messages. Use social media to differentiate your dealership, and you will see more interaction and sales, simply because customers are more likely to buy from a place they like and want to do business with.
In the end, social media offers dealerships the opportunity to engage and interact with their customers AND potential customers. That is something no traditional advertising can do. Give these five strategies a try. Embrace social media as an influential and relevant advertising channel, and you never know, you may find that you can gain more by “selling” less in your advertising.