As social media marketing has become an important part of many business’ comprehensive advertising and marketing strategies, automotive dealerships seem to be struggling to comprehend exactly how social media can help generate more business and how it should be used. An industry known for depending on a somewhat out-of-date sales model, car dealers often tend to view social media as just another conduit through which they can drive sales messages. Using social media to ‘push’ messages is never a successful or good strategy! At the same time, auto dealers need to move inventory quickly and must meet strict sales quotas. So how can car dealers influence social media in ways that construct their brand’s reputation, while impacting the company’s base line in an affirmative way?
Jeff Lupient has become one of Minnesota’s best car dealership executives by combining hands-on administration style with a deep understanding of dealership operations.
Develop a Solid Plan or Strategy
The biggest blunder many automotive retailers and dealers make is to jump in to social media without a game strategy or awareness of how social media association will impact their dealership brand long-term. What a business says and does and online has a huge impact on what prospective customers think of that brand, that is, how dependable it is, what type of customer service to expect and how competitive pricing is. Before ordering a sales rep or office admin to create a Google profile and Facebook page and start broadcasting the latest interest rates, dealership managers and owners need to first consider:
- Aside from increased sales, what long-term goals do one want to achieve with social media involvement?
- In addition to more sales, how could social media marketing positively impact the dealership?
- How could public media marketing destructively impact the dealership?
- What are some of the best methods for one to meet the long-term objectives and evade potential adverse impact?
- To handle the social media presence, who in the office is truly most qualified?
In order to build a genuine audience and connect with consumers, auto dealers need to be talking and listening about things that interest clients, not just their bottom line. Ask analytical questions about people’s favorite car models, their weekend travel plans, their automotive service experiences, etc. – and converse back. If consumers give feedback or ask questions, respond – without the high-handed sales arena.
Leverage customer feedback to create a more positive online presence and brand. Customers are talking about your online dealership – why not take control of the discussion? Claim as much of your brand’s online space as probable by creating and/or demanding business profiles in frequently used online small business manuals, such as Merchant Circle and Google Places, then engage and monitor in the conversations there and in other social media stands.
According to Jeff Lupient, this can be a great chance to show what kind of quality customer service your dealership provides; rapidly address any problems, offer whatever resolutions are most suitable and for any misconduct on the dealership’s part, offer sincere apologies. Onlookers will appreciate your listening and brand’s forthrightness.