What Every General Manager Needs to Know About Social Media
Social helps you sell cars.
That’s not all you need to know though. You can create leads, book service appointments, grow your customer and email base, and showroom traffic by an effective social presence. But what are the key elements to using social media to your dealership’s advantage? It’s simple.
Give the Customers What They Want
Flyers? No. A carbon copy of your latest email blast or newsprint ad? Not that either. Remember why you personally use social media. For photos; to see friends & family; to find ways to save on purchases; to complain or ask questions about products; to do some research before you visit a restaurant or store. So use social the same way in a business perspective. Recognize who makes up your audience and cater to them. Share photos of happy customers with their new car. Showcase manufacturer events, showroom celebrations, or employee achievements. Got a mascot? Let’s see it! Does everyone wear Hawaiian shirts on Thursdays? Snap a photo of it! Think of the simple things that set your business apart from others, because are what makes people intrigued to shop there. Be sure to make their social experience something that they can value before, during and after their car buying experience, whether that’s in the form of unique content, offers, or social only service deals.
Deal With It
Never dodge questions or ignore people—be there, and respond to everything in a timely, helpful manner.With the good always comes the bad. Face it, even with a 5 star rating, you will encounter an upset customer at some point. Don’t be fast to hide bad reviews or complaints; take accountability and let your fans see it! You may be surprised to see that you can change unhappy minds, get them back into the dealership, and turn them into advocated for your dealership. Plus, putting on your big boy or girl pants and dealing with an issue head on shows to other customer that this place cares about their business and setting the record straight. Before responding and asking them to contact you. Take a peek in your system. You may already have their information & contact number on file so you can take the imitative to call them.
Whatever the case, let them know that you’re willing to help them out. Unanswered complaints speak volumes, but facing an unhappy customer in the face and doing your best to proactively resolve the issue speaks volumes about you, your staff, and your dealership as a whole.
Back It Up
Curating a social account means nothing if no one sees it. So promote it! Include links in all email blasts and signatures, on all in store displays, and in all advertising. Social is not a silo. You’ve got to have an advertising strategy in place to help push your brand to people in the community on digital. Target your page, content, and special offers to a relevant audience. With a small social advertising budget, you can promote key posts and offers, as well as brand your pages and accounts online. Think of the target audience—Who is looking for a car? Who is shopping for an auto service provider? Pinpoint who you want to draw to your page and consider what else they may be interested in to create successful ads.
Keep at it!
Social doesn’t stop! A/B test and see what works best—what’s getting people talking and asking question? Be consistent with your approach and take a step back after a few months to see how far you’ve come and how you should course correct. Be in tune with new features and capabilities available. The world of social media marketing changing every single week with new updates and new opportunities for you to reach your audience of potential customers and grow your business. If you see something isn’t working right away, don’t stop; adjust and move on. Just like in sales, they can’t all be wins. Course correct, be smart, and stick with it.
Social media marketing doesn’t require endless hours of you analyzing trends or hunching over a computer staring a tweets. However, it does take a special amount of attentiveness, planning, patience, and strategy to make sure you’re providing your fans and customers with the best experience. Even if you’re having an agency handle your campaigns, it’s important to know what works for your business in the showroom and on social.
For more on improving your social media strategy and how to build a stronger social presence, download this free checklist: 15 Steps to Social Success.
Julia Giacoboni, Director of Social Media Marketing at Stream Companies.