Putting Social Media to Work at Your Dealership
There are two opposing schools of thought regarding social media and business; some believe social media can boost your brand into orbit, while others are steadfast in their belief that no amount of social media interaction will have an effect on your success. After reading this article, you’ll not only know why this argument exists, but you’ll also finally get an answer to your questions about whether social media really can work to boost your brand.
The purpose of social media is to be social. It’s all about sharing and having conversations and interactions with a community of individuals who share your interests. When it comes to your business, social media’s purpose is much the same. Your goals are to interact with others, build a community, find potential leads, and grow awareness of your brand. When your dealership decides on a game plan for implementing social media as a marketing tool, it is important to remember that, although it is a powerful way to reach an exponentially higher number of consumers, it must be done correctly in order for it to be successful.
For Brands, There’s a Right Way and a Wrong Way
The varying opinions regarding the success of social media for brand growth stem from the fact that dealerships everywhere take different approaches toward using social media outlets. Some businesses dive into the social realm without a plan and continually post memes or selfies as their way of updating a page. Other dealerships feel it’s in their best interests to bombard consumers with pictures of inventory and updated sales specials. A few take the time to lay out a well-planned platform that consists of a social media calendar, professionally curated content that is interesting to their potential consumers, and interact frequently by engaging consumers on popular social media forums like Facebook and Twitter. Any guesses as to which method is most successful?
If you guessed the dealership that is actively planning and interacting with potential consumers is the most successful, you are correct. While it’s easy to throw content onto social media, true engagement with your consumers requires careful planning and reflection regarding what is really important to your audience. There is a right way to do social and a not-so-right way to do social, and those who are speaking out and saying it doesn’t work for dealerships are likely not doing social the right way.
Doing Social Right
Dealerships already know they have an uphill battle to climb when it comes to gaining and maintaining a pristine reputation in the eyes of their consumers. After all, we’ve seen the slick car commercials that run on TV, and we’ve all received the “winning” scratch-off ticket in our mailboxes that promises a brand-new car if we just visit the local lot, right? So upstanding businesses that are working to gain consumer trust have a hard battle ahead of them when it comes to convincing people of their authenticity. Social media can be the key to engaging shoppers and strengthening relationships if it’s done right. So what is right? Check out some tips to get you started:
- Connect with shoppers. The majority of shoppers do online research before going to a dealership, and since you are working to build your brand, you need to be where the shoppers are. Get in front of potential sales by being online where the customers are and provide content, feedback, and interaction that is relevant. This will position you as the expert and keep you top-of-mind with shoppers.
- Post great content. Post professionally curated, relevant content that grabs the attention of your consumers. By positioning yourself as a subject-matter expert, you will be seen as the dealership to go to when it’s time to buy.
- Build relationships. By making your online interactions about your customers and potential customers, rather than solely about products, you will build valuable business relationships. Instead of just talking toward your audience, be sure to engage them in online conversations and interact with them.
- Respond to feedback. Negative online feedback is unavoidable, but no matter the feedback your business gets, be sure to respond to it in a professional manner and offer practical solutions to help in every situation. Remember, everything online is visible by potential customers, and the way you react and respond affects your future business.
- Be consistent. Once you develop an online following, your posts will be expected. Be sure to provide content on a regular basis to keep people coming back for more.
- Use images, videos, and infographics. Today’s world moves quickly, and online users prefer posts that are clear and concise; images help to make a post quickly understandable and also entertaining. Posts with images get more interaction!
- Personality is important. Build your online profile; whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, or the myriad other social sites you can choose from, be sure to let consumers know who you are, what your business stands for, and how they can contact you.
- Think culture and engagement. When you build a culture every employee is proud of, you’ll end up with a dealership full of engaged employees, and that means every employee will want to share things on social media. Encourage that and leverage the power of positive social word of mouth. Your employees are a valuable tool, and engaged employees will be excited to help grow the business.
- Authenticity is key. Remember to be yourself and reflect your brand when you reach out to customers via social media. You will be reminding your audience your dealership is unique, is present where they are shopping and researching, and is the expert in the subject matter they are researching.
It makes sense that people disagree regarding whether or not social media works for building business, because the truthful answer is actually complicated. Social media will do amazing things for your business…if it is done right. If it’s not done right, it will fall flat. Overloading consumers with content that isn’t relevant or that doesn’t resonate with their current needs will end up getting you unfriended faster than you can click the refresh button. However, if you take the time and plan content that truly speaks to consumer needs, and if you engage consumers with topics that interest them, the time you spend planning your social media marketing will be well spent. You will end up building your customer base, increasing loyalty, and positioning yourself as the expert in your area. Simply stated, social media works if it’s done right.