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It's a topic that has been covered ad nauseam here and on every business website on the internet. We can all see that social media is big, but how is it translating to the bottom line? Is it directly increasing sales? Are people realy in "buying mode" when they're looking at pictures of their friends at the bar last night? Is it worth the investment.
The answer to the question really comes down to three things: the industry, the personality of the business, and the strategy.
Many in the automotive industry have clearly demonstrated that social media can be very effective in generating business. Just read the automotive social media white paper as a single shining example from Jeff Cryder (who will be speaking at Driving Sale Executive Summit in Vegas).
As far as personality at the dealerships, that's, well, personal. Is your dealership aggressive with its marketing to the point of being public and open about the people and happenings at the store? Are your salespeople and internet people tech-savvy enough to engage in a Facebook conversation with someone before and after a sale? These are all individual questions.
When it comes to strategy, there's winning and losing. Most strategies, unfortunately, are not very effective. I'm not going to go into the bad that's out there (another blog post altogether) but I will say that just because you have a bad experience with a strategy doesn't mean that you should abandon social media altogether.
To get a general view, we have an infographic from our friends at MDG Advertising that breaks down the ROI aspects of social media marketing.