Trust: It’s the primary currency in the relationship between brands and customers. To cash in this currency, you must first earn it. This is especially true in the automotive sales industry because of the overwhelmingly strong public perception that car salespeople aren’t trustworthy. While some dealerships have earned that reputation, it doesn’t mean your dealership has to live with it.
Warning: the following isn’t for the faint hearted. It’s brutal honesty. A dose of truth to change the automotive marketing social media world for the better.
Most likely, your typical Facebook automotive dealership page looks something like this: little to no page growth, lot’s of dealerrater.com reviews being published, and maybe a few Likes by your general manager, his wife, and underperforming members of the sales team that probably have nothing better to do.
Why would any dealership invest in that? It looks like a no-hope cause, probably comes off as #$% to most people, and all the statistics in the world about visits, traffic, and comparative percentages sound like they are way too desperate, clawing for some budget. So, is there any value there at all?
As a Digital Creative Director, I lead the social media department for Stream Companies, so trust me - there’s a point, and it’s coming.
There’s a 3-prong philosophy I have for all businesses (including dealerships) on social media and it goes like this:
“People hate being sold, but love to buy, Everyone wants to be special, and Social is a window into your Business.”
You really shouldn’t bother with Facebook if your business isn’t painting a picture to your customers about who you are, the kind of people who work at your dealership, how you make people feel special, and a good dose of confidence.
It’s not enough to say you’re about customer service, I mean who isn’t? Social is where you prove it. Show you’re not full of it and publicize pictures of happy customers with their new cars (they love feeling special), sales people smiling, events at the dealership, new cars on the lot, take home tips from fixed operations, and more “behind the dealership” content. Make it a blast and get them excited. It may not generate 1 lead tomorrow, but it will generate 10 in the next month.
People are numbed to HUGE sales events that seem to get bigger in every ad, and UNBELIEVABLE promotions that sound unbelievably more manipulative every season. It seems the more desperate we are, the more we overcompensate with punctuation.
Unfortunately in a social world, it just decreases your ‘cool’ level. Don’t underestimate ‘cool’, it’s attractive to every demographic and it sells anytime, every time. Be genuine, be real, and be social.
Now if you’re someone who very reasonably needs data and metrics to validate some pretty blunt suggestions and claims, I’ve got you covered.
Facebook recently did an official investigation into how they fare with local automotive dealerships. They looked at five major automotive campaigns on Facebook between May and August 2013, showed that Facebook ads increased brand searches 11% and 10% per person, while decreasing brand searches for competitors by 3% and searches for competing models by 14%.
They also found the reach was incredible - 70% reach among in-market households. What is astounding is the accuracy in that reach, you can target by true intent, not just stereotypes. If someone’s talking about Hyundai, you can target them!
"As more people shop for cars and conduct research online, marketers using Facebook have never had greater opportunity to influence every stage of the purchase funnel,” said Kass Dawson, head of automotive strategy at Facebook, during the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit."
The numbers prove two key things: you can find who your looking for to “invite” them into your community, and your ability to showcase who you are on social actually affects the rest of your marketing.
I challenge every automotive Dealer, GM, and Marketing manager to be FIRST in changing the game - joining the transformation on what it means to sell and service cars through social media.
All data is significant at 90% confidence interval. Brand Site and Model Page data based on June campaigns.
- eMarketer, 7/13.
- Vehicle consideration based on McKinsey Quarterly, 6/2009. Dealer visits based on CapGemini “Cars Online,” 11/12.
- comScore, 7/13.
- Datalogix analysis, including all transactions from January – March 2013.