What the Real Estate Industry Can Teach Dealers About Social Media
Companies have always been told to reach shoppers wherever they are. This used to mean publicizing products in the most popular newspapers and television channels.
Today, it means marketing on social media. In 2017, 81% of the U.S. population had a social media profile. Practically every industry has embraced social media as an integral part of its marketing strategy. In the past few years, dealerships have joined this trend, advertising on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and, more recently, Snapchat and Pinterest.
Stores create content to engage and build rapport with shoppers, in hopes of pushing them further down the funnel and building brand awareness.
Although social media is one of the more crucial outlets for dealerships today, it’s challenging and time-consuming to fill your feeds with engaging content every day. Luckily, dealerships can learn a lot from the innovative ways that businesses in other industries manage their social media.
Biggest life purchases
Buying a car isn’t like buying a new shirt, or even a new phone. It’s an expensive purchase. Much like investing in a new home, the car-buying process is emotionally draining and complex. They’re both expensive and complicated.
There is a lot of paperwork involved. Shoppers care about what their cars and homes look like, and want to know as much as possible about the product Itself. it’s important for people not only to see and feel these types of purchases, but to understand all of the specs and details.
Because of the price and scale of these purchases, shoppers tend to be hesitant and skeptical. They’re unsure if their real estate agent or car salesperson is giving them the best deal possible, or just trying to quickly close the sale.
For this reason, both agents and dealerships must emphasize their expertise in their respective industries while promoting a friendly, neighborly image. Finally, both types of businesses have constantly changing inventories, prices, and offers.
Because of this, it’s important that your online presence reflects the ever-changing market. Knowing that there are so many similarities between the two industries, dealerships can look at the new, innovative strategies that real estate agents are using on social media, and implement them in their stores’ pages.
Invest in your photography
Real estate agents know that no shopper will ever visit — or even ask for more information about — a property without first seeing a picture. One study found that 83% of homebuyers want photos to be available online.
Shoppers want to imagine themselves living in the property. Similarly, car shoppers want to visualize themselves in their next vehicle, and imagine what it would be like to own it. Dealerships should go beyond simple photography by featuring 360-degree images of both the interior and exterior of vehicles. Publish videos of the vehicle from various angles. Instead of telling your shoppers about the car, show it to them.
For homebuyers, finding an agent to work with is hard, and trusting them with a large purchase is even more difficult. For this reason, reviews and referrals are some of the most important tools a real estate agent has. In 2016, agents estimated that 49% of their business came from referrals.
Real estate companies promote social proof in as many places as possible, including publishing pictures of new homeowners with their purchases. Dealerships can do the same by posting all of their positive reviews on social media as well as their website, and publishing pictures of happy customers in their new cars.
After all, one study found that 50% of car buyers said reviews were the most important factor in selecting a dealership to visit and buy from. Think of creative ways to encourage your customers to leave a review on Google or Facebook to drive even more traffic to your website and showroom.
Post your listings
This is pretty obvious, but bears repeating. Real estate companies publish all of their listings on different social media platforms, especially ones that have recently gone on the market. Your dealership has hundreds of vehicles, which makes posting about each one difficult, but you should identify your top-performing VDPs and promote them.
You can also post special offers on vehicles that have been difficult to sell. With social media, you have the power to decide which vehicles should be highlighted and promoted — take advantage of it. On your dealership website, shoppers should be able to peruse your entire inventory. Be sure that your site is up to date and well-maintained.
Stay relevant after the sale
After selling a house or car, it’s difficult to keep your customers engaged. They most likely have no interest in buying another for a long time, and might forget about you. Approximately 70% of homebuyers couldn’t remember their agent one year after closing.
To combat this, agents write about renovations, home care, and DIY projects on social media channels. The goal is to keep customers engaged so that they return for future purchases, and refer friends and family.
Your dealership has another reason to keep your past buyers engaged: service. To do so, you can post about topics like car care, service specials, weather alerts, and more. This helps build a loyal customer base that will return for all of their automotive needs. Your social media feeds should be filled with engaging content — that much is clear.
What and how, however, is up to you.
By borrowing strategies from other industries, your website and social media will stand out to automotive shoppers, and engage them through every stage of their buying process.
Penina Rothner is a content marketing writer at AutoLeadStar, a lead-engagement platform for auto dealerships, powered by artificial intelligence. A writer and editor by trade, she closely follows the latest trends in marketing, technology, and customer experience. Penina is always open to industry interviews and reports, so please reach out to collaborate: [email protected].