Social Media Presence Alone Doesn’t Mean You Have a Strategy
It’s time to create a social media marketing strategy—a plan of action that will guide you to specific goals you want to achieve
Just because your dealership has presence on several different social platforms doesn’t mean you have an effective social media strategy.
If you’re like many dealers, you jumped onto the social media bandwagon because you heard from numerous marketing experts that you “must” be on it.
You created profiles, post, tweet, share, and even advertise, but you’re not really sure what, if any, ROI you’re getting for your efforts.
If this sounds like your experience, it’s time to create a social media marketing strategy—a plan of action that will guide you to specific goals you want to achieve using social media.
It gives you purpose and enables you to track whether your social media presence is effective or not.
Creating a strategy takes time, but it doesn’t have to be complicated, and it’s well worth the effort.
The following steps will help you rev up your social ROI.
Establish goals, strategies, and metrics
First, choose your one or two primary business goals. Don’t try to accomplish five things at once, or your efforts and results will be watered down.
Do you want to increase your customer-pay RO count? By how much? Do you want more leads coming in from your website? How many more leads?
Get specific. Your goals should be measurable with metrics, and be attainable. Set a deadline to accomplish the goals.
For example, you could set a goal of increasing RO count by 5% within six months, or of averaging 20 more internet leads per month, starting three months from now.
It’s also important to identify the source of your conversions. If you want more customer-pay ROs, do you want to drive people to your online scheduler or a service specials landing page, or have them to call your service phone number?
If your goal is more website leads, do you want them to come from your VDPs, trade-in calculator, or another conversion tool?
Choose your channels
Next, think about how to accomplish these goals. Similar to limiting your business goals, it’s wise to limit how many social media channels you’re on.
It’s difficult to dominate more than two or three channels at a time. Facebook is especially recommended, because it has the broadest audience reach. Choose one or two other channels to focus on, such as Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
Your goal with these is to increase engagement with your current audience, and expand your audience to reach to as many new people as possible. The more followers you can engage with, the more website traffic you’ll generate.
With social media, the only way to accomplish this is with great content.
Take a look at your social media content. Compare the content other dealerships are posting. Is yours similar to theirs?
If you’re not willing to invest resources in creating original and engaging content, you’re going to have a difficult time on social media. Most people don’t want to see sales pitches online. They want informative, educational, exciting, or funny posts.
Posts and content with vibrant images or videos are required. Facebook has confirmed that images are shared, commented on, and liked twice as often as a simple text status updates.
Additionally, Facebook has updated its News Feed ranking to favor video content that inspires interaction and conversation among people watching it.
When you post content, include links that lead back to the pages on your website that you’ve already identified as the best conversion sources. To help your content get seen, you may also need to invest in Facebook Ads and/or boosting your best posts.
Your content should be automotive- and/or community-related. If you’re not sure what type of content to create, here’s a list to get you started:
- Photos or videos of your employees for your customers to get to know
- Photos or videos of your customers taking delivery of their new vehicles
- A monthly video featuring photos of your happy customers
- Local news, especially traffic and weather-related content
- Posts from local organizations and charities you support and sponsor
- Information about local events and/or volunteer opportunities
- Great reviews that your dealership has received from online review sites
- Tips on car maintenance and ownership
- Photos or videos featuring your principal talking about your dealership’s value propositions
- How-to videos about your website’s trade-in calculator, selecting the best vehicle for your needs, saving money on gas, etc.
- Information about apps your customers may find useful or entertaining, such as Waze, GasBuddy, Honk, Car Minder, or racing games
- Your dealership’s opinions and/or policies regarding trending automotive news
Get creative and think outside the box. Posting effective content doesn’t have to take a lot of time, money, or effort.
Much of your content can be shared from other Facebook business pages. The nice thing about sharing content is that these business pages may well share your content in turn, expanding your reach even further.
Listen and respond
The word social implies a two-way conversation. This is by far where most dealerships fall short in their social efforts.
Take the time and allocate resources to listen to what your customers are saying, and watch how they engage with your posts.
Simply posting content without responding to comments or questions is poor social media etiquette, and will negatively affect your engagement rates.
Once you’ve established your social media marketing strategy, give it a chance to succeed. Take three months before you step back to review your metrics to see if you’re on the right track.
If it’s not working, then you’ll need to make adjustments. Don’t give up. Mastering social media will help raise your dealership’s brand awareness, improve customer retention, and increase sales and revenue.
Paul Moran is president and CEO of Vboost, Inc., the first proactive process to create positive viral marketing in the retail automotive space. He has over 28 years of experience in creating digital marketing programs and introducing dealers to effective technologies. His expertise covers all aspects of traditional, digital, and social marketing. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.