It’s safe to say that most of us have turned to social media to ask for recommendations from those we trust most before making a purchasing decision. You may have made such a recommendation yourself, or at least thought about it.
What does it all add up to? Opportunity.
Social media has become a powerful lead-generation tool. In fact, leads from social media result in 71% more sales than traditional lead sources, according to HubSpot. This is true in virtually all industries, especially auto dealerships. But how does a comment on social media result in someone walking into a dealership? Through attentiveness and action.
Much of what is said on social media is posted publicly and available to all. In addition, most profiles capture where in the country the user is from—incredibly useful for an auto dealer in, say, Huntsville, Alabama, who has no interest in leads from Los Angeles. This information is vital when it comes to lead generation.
And what are people saying on social media that could lead to a sale? Everything from the obvious to the blink-and-you-miss-it: “I’m buying a new car.” “I need a car.” “Anyone know a good dealership?” “I’m trading in my car.” “What’s better, Honda or Mazda?” These are all posts I’ve seen. They’re obvious. There’s purchase intent there.
The less-than-obvious social posts can even be negative commentary, such as “my car sucks,” “my car is a gas guzzler,” “I hate my car,” and so on. What should one make of all these statements? They indicate a problem that needs a solution, which a reputable auto dealership can provide.
Try it out. Plug in several car-related keywords and phrases into the search function of a social network platform. then witness the flood of leads that result. If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of leads or can’t stay on top of all relevant keywords, there are services available that can help, such as software as a service (SaaS) tools.
The tricky part is identifying and nurturing a lead. It’s what you do to stand out that sets you apart. What does your social media profile say about you? You should strive for an authentic and compelling identity.
Your job title should be listed in the profile, and your business website should be up. When people look at your profile, they should see that you regularly post content that is relevant to the auto industry.
You should also be a member of social media industry groups and consumer groups to provide helpful, free information. Likewise, prospects should see that you often connect with clients old and new, offering advice and answering questions.
Remember, when you reach out to someone on social media you don’t know, they’ll be doing their homework on you. If they like how you represent yourself, they’re more likely to be receptive to your offer of help.
To do so, make sure your messaging is personalized to their needs. Take the time to gather information on potential customers and really understand what they want. Cookie-cutter messages are recognizable from a mile away, so they should be avoided.
With social media, it’s often the little things that lead to big things: In the case of auto dealerships, big things like leads that turn into sales.
Justin Hartzman is the CEO and cofounder of needls., a Toronto-based social media monitoring and lead-generation service for the small- and medium-sized business market.