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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Chris Costner

Chris Costner Account Executive

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SOCIAL MEDIA ROI: You Have to Create It.

 

The discussion still continues today with dealers nationwide on the effectiveness of marketing through social media.  Dealers are still questioning if social media should actually be in their digital marketing efforts and also wondering if it actually works.  These are great questions that should be asked as we work to build a broad digital marketing strategy.

I haven’t commented much on the somewhat recent news regarding General Motors ceasing their multi-million dollar Facebook display advertising but is a perfect example of marketers not asking the above questions early enough. So what really went wrong for General Motors to make such decision?

After reviewing the Facebook page of General Motors, I must first say that it does have a lot of great content in my opinion.  It has some great videos, pictures and the timeline looks great giving a visual story around their brand.  I see engagement and a well-managed page.  Many of us have come to learn with social media marketing is to keep it conversational for the most part and create engagement.  At some point, an opportunity for conversion needs to take place whether the brand or consumer initiates it.  With that being said, I do not see a spot to sign up for a test drive or a way to get in contact.  The point I am trying to make is that there is no real clear conversion goal from the OEM perspective, which is a complete opposite of their websites.  It doesn’t really matter how much of an investment in advertising, it is very unlikely General Motors would see an impact on their sales without a conversion process to back it up.  I would even venture to say that if General Motors directed certain clicks to another destination outside of Facebook to address my above points, it would still have a very small chance of being successful as Facebook users don’t care to leave the platform once logged in.

I think what General Motors failed to do was to understand how Facebook fits into broader social media campaigns.  It is a very common mistake made many times every day in social marketing efforts.  Social media demands corporate communication, brand building, customer service, customer acquisition and often all of these can get confused.  These different organizational objectives often are run in separate departments, which can make the integration poor.  What General Motors and the rest of us in business need to understand is that the customer doesn’t care about any of these differences.  They perceive a brand as a single entity and expect a cohesive message.

Part of a well developed social media strategy is defining what a customer will be doing when they get to our page and what they expect when they arrive.  Something many of don’t think about is the frame of mind the customer will be in when they get to our page.  We can look at this in terms of awareness.  Traditional marketing works well close to the time of purchase for the most part, search works well when your market is researching vehicles you sell and social works best for all of the above.  The customer may not be thinking about making a purchase but by capturing their information we can lead them in the right direction.  What this means is by the time the customer gets to a search engine they are searching for your brand in particular and not just a category.  It’s about taking the tools we invest our money in and using them to their full capacity.

Just as in any marketing venture, spending the time and money to develop a quality social media strategy is very important.  Think about why you are investing in social media.  What do your visitors expect when they arrive and what do you expect of them? There has to be a point when a customer interest is converted into sales.

How are you making this happen? Are you even asking?

Ron Henson
Great post Chris. Are you indeed the smartest guy in the car business? I think yes.
Chris Costner
Thanks Ron. Probably not the "smartest guy in the car business" but I appreciate the kind words. Thank you. It hit me like a ton of bricks however regarding social media. I too have written many times as keeping it "conversational" for the most part and have drifted away from capitalizing on the conversion itself. I mean, ultimately that is the direction we want all of our efforts to lead to.
Jim Bell
Great points. When GM decided to abandon their Facebook advertising, I went to all of their branding pages to see what was going on there and you hit it on the head. Lots of engagement and videos. They have over 4 million likes between all of their brands so something must be done right. I think it all came down to their strategy as you stated. Now those 4 million people will probably miss posts made by them throughout the day and won't see that ad on the side to keep GM front and center. Ron...I thought I was the smartest in the car business. :) If we were, we all would be rich so I guess I'm not there yet.
Jeremy Alicandri
I'll vote for you!

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