Welcome to the Hope-Is-Not-a-Strategy post, where I remind everyone about the new way we generate buzz around our brand…hint: it’s not like the old way! Social media strategy for businesses used to revolve around a lot of hope—and also a lot of funny cat memes, but that was before we learned about the metrics that really matter. As dealerships and businesses work toward reaching a customer base that is largely mobile and increasingly insistent on being educated about the products and services they purchase, content marketing is more important than ever. In fact, it’s so important that a full 77% of your online posts should be content marketing pieces.
When you post something on Facebook, it’s natural to check the numbers that appear alongside your post to see if everyone in your friend list has either liked, commented, or shared your social media brilliance. It’s pretty fulfilling to see you’ve been able to entertain a large portion of nearly every acquaintance you’ve had since Kindergarten with the latest video of your dog’s skateboarding adventures, but—and you’ll want to hold onto your seat for this one—those numbers don’t matter as much as you might think.
We used to judge our online success by the number of likes and shares a post received, but things have changed.Consumers are no longer interested in seeing the same funny memes, videos, and pictures everyone else is posting; instead, they are holding preferred businesses to a higher standard, and that’s where content marketing comes into play. By providing the high-quality material consumers are seeking, you will position your dealership as a thought leader, and consumers will keep you top of mind when it comes time to buy, service a vehicle, or simply get valuable information.
Content marketing consists of materials that educate consumers and provide information regarding your brand, your culture, and the goods and services you provide. It is NOT a sales blitz, so when you’re considering content, don’t plan posts that will overload readers with inventory and sales-driven content. Instead, think of ways you can help shoppers by offering articles of interest. Consider, for example, educating new car buyers about the importance of following routine maintenance schedules or sharing information about the services you offer that make your dealership stand out from the crowd. If your dealership hosts charity events or is known in the community for supporting local schools or pet adoption organizations, be sure to post stories highlighting what you’ve been up to. Customers are interested in what your dealership is capable of professionally, and they also have an affinity for businesses that do good work in the community.
The key to providing the best content for your online followers is in posting material that is both relevant and valuable to them. Whatever you post should be useful and interesting—and it should place your dealership in the position of being a subject-matter expert. Content marketing is an integral piece of your overall brand voice, making everything you post a reflection of your business and your overall culture. You’ll want to post a mixture of pieces that are not only helpful to consumers, but also easily understood and not so overloaded with technical terminology and jargon that they become difficult to understand. Keep your posts friendly, interesting, and entertaining, and your online followers will be more likely to click, share, and interact.
The content marketing you post will catch the attention of your online followers because they will quickly see you are giving them valuable material that adds to their knowledge base. You are essentially empowering consumers, allowing them to step into your dealership with the confidence they need to make informed decisions—whether it’s about a purchase, maintenance, or repairs. While online shoppers may not comment or like your post, if they find an article interesting or informative, they will click on it to get more information. A back-end feature, clickthroughs are a form of measurable success. Unseen on the Facebook homepage, your analytics will often show your clickthrough rate on successful content marketing pieces to far surpass the visible numbers of likes and shares. It’s for this reason the quality of your content marketing is extremely important—the more value your online followers see in your content, the more they will click and share.
In 2015, content marketing is expected to be the most important digital trend for businesses—impactful information for anyone looking to gain traction with consumers in the digital world. By providing your expertise and professional know-how to consumers about the products and services they are seeking, you will position your dealership as a leader in the industry. Content with real value will be clicked and shared by your followers, and in turn, traffic to your site will increase as awareness increases for your brand.
It’s important to have a content marketing strategy; if you don’t yet have a strategy, it’s time to get one. Just remember, aim for 77% of your posts to be content marketing, because we have learned with time, technology, and better analytics that hope is not a strategy. Posting online and then hoping for likes and shares is no longer enough to propel a brand toward success. But if you happen to have a funny cat video or two, feel free to share them; just make sure they fall into the much smaller 23% of your content. When you stay focused on your strategy, your brand will win!