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Social Media is not about hugging people. Some people are just jerks.
So goes one of the most famous quotes from the Social Fresh Conference, and those of us who tweet for food know exactly what it means. There’s a myth in social media that being a maven is like being sort of a glorified online flight attendant. You roam the corridors with your cheery cart of auto-responses, address grouchy customer complaints with a perky smile, and try not to bump anyone in the knee. This is wrong.
Social media has traditionally been pure brand management; but it can be more if you make it more. It can be sales. It should be sales.
Relational. Educational. Soft. But still sales.
The way to change your social media game from a sideline cheer show to a strategic conversion machine is to start where all sound sales processes start: set up a funnel. In this case, a content marketing funnel. Here’s an example of an automotive content marketing funnel in action:
Monday: Run a “Car Wash Flash Sale” on Twitter. From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., anyone who clicks through your Twitter link and subscribes to your blog on the accompanying landing page gets a $2 car wash. (Bonus points for getting some buzz going by reaching out to your local bloggers and press to let them know about your new all-new Twitter Flash Sales)
Tuesday: Send your first piece of content marketing to your new subscribers. I’d suggest a humorous blog post to break the ice like: “Polyester is Itchy: Top Myths about Car Salesmen.” You can then list the top concerns about the car-buying experience and how your dealership specifically combats them. Wherever possible, support your content with hard facts i.e. “Every member of our dealership has X certification and Y training to ensure our sales process is as respectful and efficient as possible,” and/or humor, i.e. “Plus, we shoot hard-sellers on sight.”
Wednesday: Take a Break; Overkill is a Turn-off.
Thursday: Send your second piece of content. This time try a podcast, i.e.: “You had us at Hello: What to Expect When You Walk into Our Dealership.” In this round, outline the steps of buying a car at your dealership from A-Z. Be sure to address top fears around uncomfortable subjects like pricing, credit etc. as well as frequently asked questions like how long the process usually takes, what you need to bring with you, etc. Not only will provide reassuring answers to their burning questions; hearing your voice will help them get a better sense of who you and feel comfortable interacting with you.
Friday: Lighten up! Send a fun video with a tour of your dealership. Have each of your salespeople make a cameo, giving a short intro and personally invite the prospect into the dealership.
Saturday: Send them a one-day-only coupon, like free CD player installation on a car or a free gas card just for coming in. Make it seem fun, casual, and URGENT that they get in right now.
This is just one example of a social media content funnel; there are endless varieties to try. The point is to move beyond "rah rah" tactics and focus on driving real ROI.
In conclusion, ask more from your social media strategy. In the future of social media, a Facebook like is not a conversion. A Twitter retweet is not a conversion. A conversion is a conversion. Make it your goal over the next six months to create a trackable conent funnel. Once this becomes the norm, we can definitively prove the truth that we mavens have known all along: Facebook likes are the true source of all car sales. Go team!