Best Social Media Practices for Auto Dealerships
A car purchase is a big deal and in today’s ‘plugged-in’ world, it’s no surprise that people go online to research auto dealerships before visiting one. Potential buyers today will not only do a basic search on Google, but they are also likely to research your company on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as review sites like DealerRater or Google Places (now Google+). In this digital age, what consumers see or don’t see about a dealership online could have a direct impact on if they even set a foot on the car lot.
Potential buyers are interested in what your customers have to say about your business, but also how your business interacts and treats its customers. A social media presence validates your dealership. However, to be effective that presence needs to be well managed. This means that, like every media channel, social media has its own ‘code of conduct’ or ‘best practices’ that any successfully marketed company can refer to.
Here’s a list of best practices that have been compiled by a team of experts, with years of experience marketing and managing social media for auto dealerships:
1. Do use photos of happy customers with their new car purchase.
This shows your customer appreciation. Not only will it make that customer feel special and appreciated, and therefore, more likely to come back again, but it can also attract potential customers to your dealership. A photo on Facebook or Twitter becomes an implicit recommendation by the buyer for your dealership. It’s like that customer just told all of their friends on Facebook, “Hey, I made a happy purchase at this dealership, you can make one too.”
However, before posting any photos in a public space such as Facebook, make sure you have a waiver or release form signed by the customer stating that you have permission to use the photo.
2. If you sponsor a sports team or a charity, share it!
Sharing that you sponsor a local team or charity connects you with your local customer base. In addition to the perk of free publicity, this practice gives you a more positive image, which will come in handy for reputation management.
3. Put a snapshot of your inventory on Facebook.
People are inherently visual, especially when it comes to shopping for things like shiny new cars. Having an inventory tab or application on your Facebook page allows users to view what your dealership has to offer without redirecting them off of the social media site. This makes for a convenient, user-friendly way for you to market your supply to viewers without having to post your inventory on your page.
4. Don’t treat your social media page like the sales floor.
Social media is the place where you establish that connection with the client. Constantly giving followers a sales pitch will not only make them lose interest, but also weaken or eliminate any relationship you may have built.
5. Post more local content.
Local events or news helps add a human touch to a car dealership’s social media presence and establishes a connection with the primary buyers—local fans.
6. Do treat social media like a platform for customer service.
Use of social media as a channel for customer service is rapidly rising and expected to continue.
Keep these tips in mind when approaching social media in a customer service situation:
- Don’t ignore or delete the negative comments, as stated before.
- Craft customer friendly responses.
- Always respond and handle the situation professionally. It is only after a customer or situation gets extremely out of hand (excessive profanity or over-egregious statements of threat) that you should delete any comments or block any users.
What are some of your own tips or best practices for using social media for auto dealerships?
Geng Wang is the CMO and cofounder of Rent Jungle LLC, where he manages public relations and marketing operations. Jon Pastor is the CEO and cofounder of Rent Jungle LLC where he oversees business development, organizational, and strategic marketing operations.