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I caught this video Socialnomics on YouTube yesterday. It is an awesome representation of the statistics and power of Social Media. Make no mistake Social Media will make as big if not bigger impact on marketing than the internet did during the early 2000’s and more than any other medium in history to date. With that said Social Media Marketing is not an advertiser push medium, you cannot and will not be able to control the message, Social Media is a pull medium and is driven and controlled by the user. The dealership advertising has no place there. In this space you will have to be authentic, you will have to be different, you will have to be remarkable or you will be invisible. So what does that mean, well it means the saying “Without the customer there is no car business” a mantra we in the car business have been paying lip service to for far too many years will now have to be true…REALLY! Then once you deliver on this promise you must make it easy for the customer to share their opinion of the experience with their Social Media friends.
Your dealership will have to make it easy for the customer to buy the car the way the customer wants, on the terms the customer wants, when the customer wants. You don’t have to like this fact but as they say….you can look it up. Your dealership will need to provide more than just good service it will have to be remarkable service. This is not just about price, as a matter of fact price isn’t even the main factor “Most customer are not shopping for a car…they already know what they want to buy and they know pretty much what they need to pay, they are shopping for a dealership and a salesperson they are comfortable buying from.” The pre and post sales service you provide is not just an important thing it is the ONLY thing.
Some common social media myths and mistakes:
A dealership MySpace, Facebook ect. – this is not for promoting cars as much as it is a forum for the dealership to promote itself as a great place to do business and more over a great place to work. Here post pictures of company outings, the bar-b-cue you had last Friday or Saturday for the sales dept. for lunch. Post job openings, post a bio of the salesperson / service person of the month (not because the salesperson sold the most cars, but what they did for a customer that was outstanding). Post pictures of the little league team you sponsor or the school event you sponsored. Think of your dealership as a family and place the pictures and events that a family would on this medium. It’s great if customers join, but you're not talking to them about sales through this medium you’re talking about how great the PEOPLE in your dealership are and letting the customer decide how important that is to them.
Share-to-Social – this is where Social Media can have the biggest marketing impact. On your main random access website, your Microsite network, your landing pages or conversion paths, where ever you are making a sales or service offer allow anyone to share that offer on their Social Media page. When users share your offers it carries 1000’s times more impact than you trying to push the offer to someone. Here you must track when an offer is shared and test…test…test to find the offers that will be shared most.
Twitter – a one to many instant messenger. First you need multiple Twitter accounts by geography. Twitter is for small meaningful offers that promote dealership interactions mostly. Anecdotal information on Twitter is an audience killer. I outlined Twitter examples in an earlier blog post entitled “What place does Twitter have in your dealership”.
Social Media is NOT FOR SELLING its for TELLING so when I hear people say we don’t think we’re selling anything from it, it make me cringe. YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE… that’s the point your supposed to be telling the story of why a customer would want to buy from your dealership. Social Media can and will do more for your brand that any 1 million dollars of TV advertising ever will.
Hope this helps