The world of social media is maturing. As it does, so too do the techniques that make it perhaps the most advanced tool for relationship building the world has ever seen.
Trouble is, for a long time auto dealerships didn’t engage social media in that game-changing light. They focused only on themselves, concentrating their outreach on promoting inventory and generating leads. This quickly proved ineffective. Dealers lost the few Twitter followers and Facebook friends they had out of disinterest; once lost, most had no idea how to reengage their followers.
Fortunately, a new view of social media is finally emerging among dealers, one that is much more in sync with the reality of why individuals invest themselves in social media in the first place. They’ve come to understand that social media outlets are not places to troll for leads. Instead, they are places to cement existing relationships and create trust and goodwill.
Put another way, don’t use your social media accounts to look for new customers; leverage them as a way to get closer to those who have recently purchased from you. These folks have already made an investment in your business. They’re open to new reasons to come back—for service, for advice, perhaps even an additional vehicle.
To do all that, you need your Facebook page or Twitter account to be a valuable place your customers come to again and again. That means offering content that not only deals in their interest, but also is appropriate coming from a dealership. If people want to be entertained, for example, there is no shortage of websites that offer amusing pictures or funny stories. What they want from you is information and support that is commensurate with the very expensive purchase they made at your establishment.
This is where video comes in. Video has the power to convey information faster than any other form of communication. Video can introduce your staff, inform, and even disarm. In as little as 30 seconds it can show that you put your customers first—which is what people want most.
So what kinds of videos should you make? Here are some ideas taken from actual dealer presentations:
· “Unknown” features of your new car that you won’t find in your owner’s manual.
· How your car differs from those made five years ago—or even last year.
· A short history of the dealership, told by the owner or general manager.
· All the free things your dealership offers customers, from clinics and car washes to email service reminders.
Don’t feel your social media videos have to be polished or glitzy. People want content, not production values. Short videos (two minutes or less), which are worth your customers’ time, will far outperform expensive, professionally-produced mini-documentaries.
What is important, however, is the involvement of your senior staff. Your customers want to know that you value their social media time. Pushing your social media assignments onto junior employees will give the impression you don’t care. Get your managers involved—and encourage them to generate ideas and post entries themselves.
Viewed in the context of a social media strategy designed to inform, adding a video-based inventory application to your Facebook page now becomes appropriate. The more advanced vendors in the space include this option as an add on to their inventory video services. Along with video, be sure that your entire vehicle inventory is represented with vehicle information and lead generation tools. You can actually have your vehicle video inventory available as a tab of your Facebook page—this will ensure that your vehicle lineup is effectively merchandised when your followers are ready to shop for a new vehicle.
The bottom line is, if you can get your existing customers to follow you in social media by dealing in their interest, you’ll be more top of mind than through any other channel. Nothing—not email, newsletters, direct mail, even TV advertising—has the power to engage like social media. Bringing video into your social media toolkit will improve your power to connect with your customers, and bring more business long term.
Jessica Cather is on the account services team of Liquidus. In her role with the Chicago-based online video advertising company, Ms. Cather plays an integral role in the company's product development. Ms. Cather has ten years of experience in the industry and had earned her MBA with a marketing concentration from Keller Graduate School of Management. For more information, please email [email protected].
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