I started in the car business in the late 90's. The majority of our traffic came from the lot or the phone. The follow up cycle was pretty short. We were taught that fresh ups would buy within 7 days. One of the reasons probably had to do with our follow up system (or lack of). The other reason was that we got involved toward the tail end of this buying cycle.
The dealership I worked at wasn't an early adopter of technology, and I can remember getting handed a fax they called an internet lead. The process was to call and call. I had several people get angry and tell me they wanted to be contacted by email. I thought they were nerds.
Fast forward to the present. Dealerships are seeing a traffic shift where customers are moving online. The internet gurus tell us that we should follow an internet customer for up to 120 days. Today we have the tools to help us follow customers for that long and dealerships have email and call campaigns to actively follow these guests and help them with their research. We can get involved earlier in the buying cycle.
Now we have social media. We know that social media is all about relationships. It gives salespeople the ability to keep the initial rapport they established early on in the sales process, and dealerships have an opportunity to broadcast their message to the people that want to hear it. We can now start the buying cycle for their next vehicle when they take delivery of their current one.
Look at what Ford did with the Fiesta. Rather than spend money on thirty second Super Bowl commercials they used social media to influence potential buyers 2 years before the vehicle was to launch. We'll see how well it works when the vehicle is released this summer, but early indications are that the Fiesta Movement
has been a success.
The key to social media at the dealership level is the content. No one wants to friend someone on Facebook and get sold. I want to start a discussion about the "how". How can dealers used Facebook and Twitter correctly and effectively to continue the relationship with their sold guests? What are some best-practices when it comes to content?