Does Your Social Media Strategy Measure Up?

Although many dealerships are already participating in social media, few have a legitimate strategy in place, and even fewer can state whether or not their strategy is successful or needs improvement.



Social media success looks different for every dealership, but there are several key activities every dealership can engage in to create and evaluate its strategy. To find out how your dealership measures up on the social front, here’s a checklist of four best practices to put in place today to improve engagement tomorrow.

Social conversations

Are you tracking how many conversations your dealership engages in via social media? Consider keeping track of conversations as well as Twitter mentions for your brand, comments on your Facebook posts, and engaged opportunities with car shoppers or potential service customers, as well as the number of people posting on your Facebook page and sending you private messages. Note that these are only measures of success if you respond to all of them.

See if you can recognize trends such as more engagement on weekdays versus weekends, or when you post photographs instead of text. These results will help you make a plan, and should be constantly monitored to improve future strategy.

Website traffic

The best way to know whether or not your social media strategy is working—outside of engaging with potential customers directly—is if you can drive website traffic from your profile pages and updates/tweets. This information can be accessed by tools such as Google Analytics.

This can be particularly interesting for dealerships not currently using social media. For example, create a Twitter profile and track website traffic from the moment your Twitter feed goes live. Of course, make sure you are tweeting on a regular basis and sharing URLs to your website.

For dealerships that are already live on Twitter and Facebook, it’s important to look at how your website traffic trends month over month and even year over year. Maintain a log of weekly website traffic, or pull weekly reports from Google Analytics or your website dashboard.

Click-throughs

Do you know how many people clicked your link to view inventory, schedule a service visit, or read an article on your website? Try using URL-shortening services like bitly or ow.ly, which also track click-throughs over time. Not only can you find out which URLs are clicked most often, but you can identify those that aren’t performing as well, and try different text and images to increase click-throughs.

Remember, you want to increase traffic and click-throughs while reducing bounce rates. Bounce rate is a metric that indicates the percentage of people who visit one of your website pages, then leave without clicking to go anywhere else.

While a click-through from a social media post is fantastic, what’s even better are site visitors who stick around to view more than the page they landed on. If you notice higher bounce rates, it’s time to reevaluate your website content and navigation in an effort to keep visitors engaged for longer periods of time.

Incentives

Another way to measure if your followers and social media connections are clicking your links, visiting your site, and engaging with your brand is to make special offers available only on social media, then track how many are downloaded and redeemed. A discounted oil change, for example, is a great limited-time offer to make to Facebook fans for you to track redemptions.

Although the previous four metrics are worth tracking to determine social media strategy success, the following three are not good measurements of success:

  • Number of Facebook likes. Facebook page likes are valuable, but likes are just a count of your opted-in audience. The metric worth tracking is the number of people actually engaging with you. Most other people are not even seeing the content you share.
  • Number of Twitter followers. As with Facebook likes, your number of followers is just a count of your immediate audience on Twitter. The number who are actually engaging with your dealership is far more valuable than the total number of followers.
  • Facebook post reach or number of impressions. Who doesn’t get excited when one of their updates or ads performs well on Facebook? Don’t get carried away with the numbers, however. Post reach or impressions are decent ways to tell if your content got any traction, but it’s similar to measuring how many people drove by your billboard. If it doesn’t drive engagement, clicks, or some type of action, it’s not worth very much.

More important than the number of people who subscribe to your social feed is the number of engaged conversations, website visits, click-throughs, and showroom visits resulting from your social strategy. Start measuring the metrics that matter and you’ll find your way to a social media strategy that delivers.

Nate Marquardt is the co-founder and CEO of ChatterUP, an automotive social media management system that makes it easy for dealerships to deliver their message to more people, and brings the right people into the dealership at the right time. Nate has helped align the marketing and sales strategies for car dealerships through technology since 2001.

Nate Marquardt

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