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Who is your customer? I have had many discussions concerning who the target automotive customer is and how to market to them. Social Media is obviously a relevant topic in this discussion, as it reaches customers where they are and is becoming a regular segment of the advertising budget (and growing with each quarter). But is it effective? Who are the impressions on your Facebook page? Who reads your tweets? And are they truly potential buyers?
There are some who say Social Media is the wrong avenue when marketing to our customers for a few reasons:
No one will buy a car because of a facebook like
The demographic of car buyers is older. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the Boomers (mostly aged 55-64) are the cohort purchasing cars. (Businessweek)
Millennials (Digital Natives) are not purchasing cars at a high enough rate to focus on, and fewer even have a license than ever before. (Time Magazine)
I see these figures and think this is EXACTLY why we need to focus marketing on meeting consumers where they are in their native language. Baby Boomers are using Social Media outlets such as Facebook and Linkedin, even if at a lesser rate, so your message will not be ignored by them. Millennials, though, use Social Media as their search options, their queries, and their market research. Get their attention now, and when they are in a position to purchase a car, they will know who you are.
Social Media is much more than just social. This concept that began just a few short years ago as a means to connect people has turned into a multi-faceted tool. Who knew the advertising giant it would become? You are not going to sell a car off of your facebook page or through a tweet, but you will generate awareness, which drives leads. If leveraged correctly, your internet presence will rise exponentially.
What do we know about Social Media and car buyers?
Millions of people have friended a brand or a company on facebook
9/10 Millennials use Social Media when shopping for a car. (NBC News)
13% of millennials view visiting a dealership as their preferred method of shopping, while 25% of older buyers prefer to go to a showroom. (NBC News)
87% of car consumers will use the internet and/or mobile device for research, price comparison, and sales. (San Jose Times)
Keep marketing on social space, and do it well. This platform is not going away. The vehicle may change (new Social Media sites are developing at an increasingly high rate), but the idea will not. If you meet your customers where they are and give them a welcoming, warm customer experience, they will engage and are more likely to choose your dealership.
Remember--as you increase your Social Media presence, you will increase your leads. It is the law of averages. Increased presence will increase lead generation. Make sure that you don’t fumble the ball at this point. Why spend money on advertising and 3rd party leads, only to lose the lead due to a poor response. Gaining consumer awareness is only the first step. Keeping the customer interested is the next, and that can happen with the initial contact. Selling is relational. There is no avoiding that fact. So when the customer sends in a lead, make sure you handle that like the gold it is. Respond Quickly. Respond Well. Respond Personally.