It is no secret that social media has been discussed in the automobile industry for what seems to over a decade now. It was remarkable just ten years ago to attend conferences and learn from experts about YouTube video marketing and the early stages of discussing Facebook strategies. Let’s fast forward to 2018 where the social media game has changed from every angle.
So many social media resources have been developed over the years. We have tools such as Pinterest, Instagram and snapchat just to name a few. We also have tools that help enhance the content that we post. However, there is one huge problem that auto dealers have when it comes to social media. The biggest issue is that auto dealers are still demanding is lead generation. Everyone is so conditioned to focus on instant ROI but very few sit back and think about their brand.
The brand of a business is what people will remember the business. Think about the logo and style of a company like “Target”. The red circular bulls eye graphic is branded so well that people everywhere can recognize the brand. Along with the logo comes the style of advertising that they employ and the culture that they provide as a company. Now check out the social media for the company and consider their content marketing strategy. “Target” has created an image that society follows and can appreciate.
So my question to auto dealers is why are you ignoring the brand of your company? What is the message that you want to give your followers? A very bold statement but a true one in my eyes is that car dealers are missing the boat with how to effectively use social media. Advertising agencies are charging dealers huge money to post generic content that can be found on the OEM’s site. Some of these agencies setup as few as two posts per week and later deliver reports of how much traffic the dealer is generating. I have news for you Mr. Dealer. That is not social media!
Social media involves a strategy where the dealership embraces being social. It involves getting out of the comfort zone of hiding and putting yourself out there. You need to have a content strategy and an effective partner that can create valuable content with the right descriptions, hash tags and links. The paid advertising is great to have to attract new eyeballs and some leads but the organic content is what will keep people following the dealership. The organic content needs to include videos of anything related to the dealership that includes promoting the staff, new specials, delivering a valuable message about the process of selling and servicing vehicles, any ties to the community and many more.
In addition to creating video content there must a process for creating beautiful graphics that tie in the current events or promotions. Believe it or not people engage well with nice quality graphics on Instagram. Every single “like” on an Instagram post is just one more person that saw your brand and may one day remember seeing it because it was different and unique. I notice dealers doing a better job of posting pictures of happy customers and that is a great start. In fact that is one part to showcasing what an incredible culture the dealership has.
This is barely scratching the surface. Why? There are more and more dealers doing this now which means that it does not showcase what sets a dealership apart from the rest of the competition. The goal is to be unique and tell a story that people want to watch. It is a common fact that people are addicted to social media and will believe everything that they see. Social media has replaced televisions because we spend more time on Facebook and Instagram than anything else. This is the number one form of communication in 2018.
This means that the ability to stay in front of people and build a following is greater now than ever before. To prove the point of this statement all you have to do is Google search “social media vs. TV” and read what is being written by advertising experts. The bottom line is that now is the time to capitalize on the opportunity and dominate with social media in the market place. A great example of this is Brooklyn Mitsubishi, a dealership that has been consistently selling over 300 units per month for over six months now.
At the end of the day the big question for dealer is “how does it make me money?” I challenge anyone reading this to find a dealership that is taking their social media efforts to the next level and ask them that question. The results might just shock you. A sales consultant from a dealership client of mine recently was having dinner at a restaurant that was located about thirty miles south of his dealership’s location. Someone walked over to him and told them that they recognized them from social media. They talked for a few minutes and exchanged business cards. Now imagine if this started to happen more often. Do you think you will eventually pick up some new customers?
The ROI is not instant. No one should ever sit back and think that this is a waste of time and money because branding is a long-term investment. There cannot be a price tag on the value of a brand. How much is the branding for “Target” worth? If I had to guess I would say that at this point it is priceless. Auto dealers need to consider the value of the brand and what they are missing out. Stop just relying on advertising agencies selling thousands of dollars of paid ads and start to focus on the brand. The traffic will come.
About the Author
Stan Sher is the founder of Dealer eTraining and Social Sher. Dealer eTraining is the leading automotive retail internet sales and marketing training and consulting firm. Social Sher is a social media content creation and management firm that services auto dealer marketing needs. He brings over 15 years of experience from selling cars to building and managing some of the biggest dealerships in the country to training and consulted hundreds of dealerships in the United States. Additionally, Stan has done consulting and facilitator work with some OEMs.