Imagine social media was a new radio station that opened down the road. You decide it’s a good idea to support the community and spend some advertising dollars with them. Unfortunately, 3 months later you look at the numbers and sales are still flat. You call the station, give the rep hell, and they convince you to try again for 3 more months. Alas, another 3 months later the needle still hasn't moved. The rep begs on their knees for another shot. You comply, change the message, change the timing, maybe even increase your spend and the needle again fails to move. Do you continue with this advertising spend? My guess would be no. So why are we doing it with social?
As dealers, we are spending a considerable amount of time trying to make social work, with little results.
Few independent franchises who operate as part of a manufacture chain have their own social media profiles. The McDonald's down the road doesn't have its own Facebook page. It isn't allowed, nor does it make sense to compete against the other 35,000 McDonald's locations worldwide. Pep Boys operates as a single controlled social entity and so does Midas. CarMax has 128 locations across the United States and 1 Facebook page.“A new report by Auto Trader found that only one percent of car buyers used social media sites to shop for a vehicle. “ i [Tweet This]
The Chicago Tribune ran an article last week with results from a study by Automotive News bluntly stating that social media doesn’t sell cars, that even Millennials are apathetic towards the automotive industry’s efforts on social media. Yikes!“I bought a car because of a tweet was said by no one ever.” i
Are you really surprised? As someone that has closely worked with social media in the dealership for the past 7 years I can say that I don’t disagree. In fact the more I research, the more it becomes apparent that the dots are not connecting.“Millennials are apathetic about whether auto Web sites or brands have a social presence,” Helms said. She added that 78 percent of Millennials in the study said their attitude toward a car brand would not change if the brand had a social networking presence.” ii
So why are we, especially the franchise dealers, trying to dig ourselves out of this social cavity? Is it time to pack up your Facebook page and go home? Not quite yet. Maybe the reason no one uses social in the car buying process is because we as an industry have not provided the right content. Maybe customers don’t care about our storytelling, delivery photos and testimonials we have been sharing on social? [Tweet This]
Or maybe, we are simply using social media incorrectly?
i Chicago Tribune: Auto Sales Not Influenced by Social Media: http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/automotive/chi-auto-sales-not-influenced-by-social-media-survey-20140813-story.html
ii Automotive News: Even Millennials Bypass Social Media During the Buying Process: http://www.autonews.com/article/20140812/RETAIL/140819982/even-millennials-bypass-social-media-during-car-buying-journey?cciid=email-autonews-daily&r=8554G4925134G2S
Robert Karbaum arguably has the best name in the automotive industry. His combined experience over the past decade in E-Commerce and the automotive industry has allowed him to master the art of “AutoSpeak”; the ancient language that bridges the gap between internet geeks, the showroom floor and everything in-between. He manages the E-Commerce, Social and Digital Marketing operations at Weins Canada Inc. (formerly Don Valley North Automotive Group); a prestigious automotive group in Canada which includes the #1 volume Toyota and Lexus dealerships in the country.
Catch him on Twitter (@karbaum) or DroppinBaums.com.