The New York Times recently published a post describing the pain auto dealerships feel using social media. It focused on auto manufacturers like Hyundai, Ford, and Cadillac spending tens of millions of dollars every year on social media marketing efforts while local dealerships largely ignore it.
According to NYT:
“A 2014 global study by the consulting firm Capgemini captures the predicament. The survey of more than 10,000 active car buyers found that social media ranked far below dealer websites, web searching and the automotive news media as a source of information for buyers. But most respondents also said they used social media to research cars, planned to post something about their buying experience and expected dealers to have an active social media presence.”
Overlooking social media is a fatal mistake for local businesses. Social media marketing is a vital part of any omnichannel marketing initiative, which includes Internet, radio, TV, print, and event marketing.
A breakdown of the top eight social media sites shows the user base on each platform ranges from 110 million to 1.6 billion. This is entirely too large of an audience to ignore.
A presence on each of these social networks can transform your business, bringing in new sales, building brand affinity, and helping to retain lifetime customers by providing valuable service and repair advice.
You’re not just a car dealership – you’re an industry expert in financing, insurance, auto repair, and maintenance. These are all subjects the general public isn’t too savvy on, and you can easily grow your customer base by using social media to showcase this expertise.
Social Media Lets You Communicate with Customers
Like a telephone number or email address, a social media account is an avenue to perform customer service. People communicate through different methods, and you’re catering to younger generations by using social media as a method of communication.
Mercedes used social media to transform their brand image, as Keith Quesenberry at Harvard Business Review points out, during a social media race event.
“Four two-person driving teams were recruited on Facebook to take on the challenge. Powered by online supporters’ tweets, each team created social media engagement to drive real Mercedes-Benz vehicles forward, moving one mile for every four tweets. The contest’s results included a 7% increase in Mercedes scheduled test drives, a 6% increase in first-time owners and leases, and 27,000+ active participants who generated more than 150,000+ tweets, reaching 25 million people.
Using social media as a (excuse the pun) vehicle to engage consumers is the modern age equivalent of offering hot dogs and punch at your dealership to draw customers in.
Millennials spend more time on social media than watching TV, listening to the radio, or reading magazines and newspapers, making it the best place to reach and interact with them.
Offer exclusive deals to Facebook users, Tweet event details, or show off your latest inventory on Instagram to motivate this audience to come to your lot, take a test drive, and speak with one of your experienced sales professionals.
Video Content Is King
Nothing beats video content on the Internet. By 2018, analysts predict 79 percent of online traffic will be video content, and everyone from marketing agencies to brand influencers to Hollywood executives like Jeffrey Katzenberg at Dreamworks is focused on creating bite-sized, professional 3-5 minute videos.
Television ads are expensive and, as pointed out above, reaching smaller audiences. By creating viral video content on platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, and Instagram, you not only drive traffic to your dealership, but you can generate revenue through affiliate advertising to help counterbalance the costs.
In addition to mobile video, MYM has the necessary equipment to film 360-degree video for use in creating virtual reality experiences to keep your dealership on the cutting edge of local marketing.
Social Networks Enables GeoLocation Marketing
Some social networks like FourSquare, Google Maps, and even Pokemon Go encourage users to get out into the real world and visit places to review for others. These platforms are great places to build customer connections and market your site.
You should already be registered on Google MyBusiness, which literally puts your business on the map and allows you to respond to customer reviews.
Claiming your business on FourSquare gives you the same functionality for the services 60 million registered users, who love sharing ideas for places and businesses to visit, and if you want to be included on the phenomenon that is Pokemon Go, you can request a pokestop or gym added to your business location to encourage local players to stop by your showroom during their hunts.
Since most social media use is on mobile devices, social networks monitor geographic location data, so when you promote a post or advertise on these platforms, you can target local audiences easily.
As explained on SearchEngineLand, you can also target specific locations, such as the local mall, college campus, or even rival car dealerships so when customers check their mobile phone at these places, they’ll see ads for your dealership.
Geotargeted marketing is an essential tool in a successful social media marketing campaign that is sure to raise your conversion rates by driving traffic to your lot.
Review Sites Are Social Networks Too
Don’t forget that customer review sites like Yelp, Google Maps, Consumer Reports, and even the Better Business Bureau website are social networks too. These sites are commonly used by consumers to communicate their brand experiences with the greater community.
Review sites are typically skewed with only customers who have been severely burned or ecstatically surprised bothering to add their reviews, but they’re still among the most trusted platforms used by consumers before making a major purchase.
Interacting with consumers on these sites and showing your dedication to resolving customer complaints can go a long way in pushing a consumer who’s on the fence into your yard where the grass is greener and the deals much better.
Social media is more than just a passing fad or a marketing platform only useful to international conglomerates. They cater to local businesses too, and by implementing social media into your sales and marketing strategy, you’ll easily outdo the competition.
Contact an experienced digital marketing specialist at Make Your Mark today to learn how we can partner with you to create a killer social media marketing campaign to slay the competition today.