When evaluating marketing strategies for your business, the top priority is always ROI. Dealers want to know how their resources and money are helping them reach their overall goal – selling cars. The problem? Social media doesn’t help sell cars. Then again, neither do radio ads, billboards or even commercials, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t integral to a good marketing strategy. Having a consistent and positive social media presence is still a valuable piece of any marketing puzzle because these sites offer unique opportunities that aren’t afforded to other advertising platforms. While social media can’t sell a car directly other advantages such as connecting with customers, influencing purchase decisions and taking control of the brand conversation are incremental.
When customers are “in-market” they are spending four to five times longer researching a vehicle online than they are spending time at the dealership – car shoppers now only visit 1-2 dealers for actual test drives. As a result, customers don’t rely on the physical showroom; they rely on the dealership’s online showroom. This is where social media helps. Your customers and potential customers are already on sites like Facebook and Twitter every day, sharing their experiences, asking for advice and communicating with the world around them. By having a strong presence on social media, your business gets to be a part of that conversation and form a connection with a person before they even set foot on your lot.
Being an active presence on social sites puts you in the forefront of your potential car buyer’s mind. Sharing deals, events, promotions and ways your dealership interacts with its community all hold special value in building relationships. While this tactic doesn’t necessarily relate directly to the sale of a car, it does influence the customer’s buying journey in a positive way.
Social media also lends a hand when it comes to repeat business. You can target your customers on Facebook with service specials, lease offers and more to ensure that they continue to choose you for their car needs.
Another benefit of being active on social media is taking control of the conversation around your brand. Customers are more likely to trust their peers, relatives and connections on social media, almost as much as experts. That’s why it is important to monitor what is said about your dealership on both social media and review sites like Yelp and Google My Business. By responding to reviews and interacting with the people talking about your brand, you’re showing your customers that feedback is important to you and illustrating to a potential customer that you are dedicated to the customer’s needs. By maintaining positive reviews and engaging with the people on your social pages, you control the conversation around your dealership and paint a positive picture to all potential customers.
Despite the fact that it is hard to track the return on investment that comes from maintaining a strong social media presence, it is clearly an important part of any marketing strategy. The ability to connect with customers, influence purchase decisions and take control of brand conversations are all vital in creating and maintaining a relationship with a customer, which will eventually help you reach your goal – selling cars.