Dealer Chat as Part of Your Social Media Mix
Compared to relatively recent internet sensations such as Facebook and Twitter, one could make the assertion that online chat was a social media tool long before the term “social media” was part of the marketing vernacular. Since the mid-nineties, online chat has been available from providers like AOL and Yahoo, and people have used those services to have instantaneous conversations across the planet.
Still, those conversations were typically one-to-one conversations. What makes social media unique is the ability to spark a conversation from one-to-many. Indeed, when a message really resonates, and is repeated across the social media ecosphere, it is said to have “gone viral”, effectively taking on a life of its own and spreading far beyond the initial audience.
The question, of course, is how can your dealership take advantage of the power of social media to engage with prospects and generate qualified leads?
There are multiple ways to engage prospects with social media. Yet just like with a dealer chat session, a common mistake is to try to sell a vehicle directly online. Instead consider these concepts:
1. Strategize.Simple to say, a challenge to get right. While every dealer wants to sell cars, we’d caution you to not just pump out you current stock and specials on Twitter. Consider offering tips on how to enhance fuel efficiency or explain why scheduled maintenance is important. Do this and you’ll gain followers and become seen as a trusted resource.
2. Listen.When people buy a car, they tend to brag about it. Follow your buyers on the social media platforms while also searching for relevant hash-tags on Twitter. When appropriate, add comments and links back to your chat-enabled website. Don’t be pushy though, the goal is to build rapport.
3. Engage.They call them social networks for a reason—be part of the conversation. Answer questions when you can, and strive to be objective and don’t denigrate other dealers.
4. Tie it together.Consider building a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on your site. If an online conversation warrants, provide a link to that page. Ensure that page is chat-enabled. Doing so allows the prospect to engage you directly if their specific question isn’t addressed, or if they seek additional information. This is where you really get a chance to shine in the prospect’s eyes. You’re offering direct and relevant information in real-time.
A chat-enabled website combined with effective social media strategies, act like runners in a relay race. By this we mean that the first legs are driven by Tweets or Facebook posts. The next leg is handled by your responses and engagements which drive the prospect to your chat-enabled website. Chat then provides the real-time answers the prospect seeks and solidifies the rapport. The last leg has the prospect scheduling an appointment for a test drive. Then it is a matter for your sales team to get them across the finish line and close the sale.
Bill Sengstacken is director of marketing at dealer chat provider, Contact At Once! For more information, visit www.contactatonce.com.