As we continue with our theme of scrappy marketing during Covid-19, we want to focus on the power of social media during these trying times. As more and more people are at home practicing social distancing and/or under “stay-at-home” orders, many are turning to social media to stay connected to their family, friends, and even local businesses. Now more than ever, it’s important to create or increase your social media presence to remain top of mind to your customer base. And the great thing is, having a solid social media marketing strategy doesn’t have to cost your dealership very much, which makes this tactic even better during these times.
Benefits of Social Media:
Social media outlets provide an invaluable avenue for you to reach consumers right where they are, especially these days as they sit at home in their phones. Connecting with your customers in such a direct way has some major benefits for the reputation, growth, and profits of your business:
Build & Maintain Awareness: Having social media accounts gives you a chance to make yourself known to potential buyers who otherwise would not have known you existed. Growing your customer base is a major advantage of growing your online presence. And there’s always the chance that one of your more inventive posts goes “viral,” exposing you to hundreds or thousands more people. Even if you don’t go viral, staying active on those accounts also helps your business remain at the forefront of your followers’ minds. When they see your name a few times a week, you’ll be the first name that pops in their head when they are ready to purchase again.
Develop Reputation & Relationships: When your social media activity is authentic and transparent, offering your personal perspective or giving a behind-the-scenes look at your business, those accounts serve to humanize your dealership brand. Coming across as relevant and personable gives the impression that you are a dealer that buyers can trust. Your unique perspective, experience, and industry insight also means your social media accounts can showcase how your dealership is a leading voice in the industry. As followers engage those posts, you have the opportunity to develop personal and productive relationships, further bolstering their perceptions of you and strengthening their connection with your dealership.
Grow Your Business: While the word “social” is in the name, social networks should also serve as business networks for your dealership, actively contributing to moving potential buyers down a specific sales path. Your accounts give you the opportunity to share and promote provoking content, as well as directly advertising your for-sale inventory (content posts are a great counterbalance to inventory posts, ensuring your page doesn’t look like it will spam followers with sales ads). Ultimately, social media accounts are phenomenally effective tools for generating website traffic, connections, leads, and sales.
Listen & Respond: Social media isn’t just about speaking; it’s also about listening. Browsing your professional accounts is smart business, as it allows you to learn more about your customers, monitor conversations about your products, business, or industry, keep an eye on your competition, and keep up with industry news. Armed with such knowledge you can tap into trending topics, remain relevant and competitive, and continue to manage your reputation by engaging in responsible customer service and support (you’ll be surprised how many followers will reach out to you via social media with customer service concerns).
Advanced Advertising & Reporting: Finally, social media also comes with a number of pretty advanced tools and strategies for dealers to utilize. Posting for-sale inventory to be seen by your followers is one thing, creating an actual ad that targets specific audiences is another. Extended advertising and retargeting campaigns are the bread and butter of social media sites, because they work. You can start with a scrappy, small-dollar amount, and see if it’s worth expanding that spend amount when your budget isn’t quite as tight. Social media accounts also allow for relatively in-depth reporting, helping dealers keep statistical track of how accounts — and ads — are performing.
Social Media Channels: The plethora of social media channels allows you to select the ones that are most relevant to your audience when sharing content. Maybe all your consumers are on Facebook, and that’s the only platform you need. Maybe you’ve got a mix between casual users on Twitter and professional contacts on LinkedIn. According to a 2018 report from Edison Research & Triton Digital, the most-used social media accounts among all Americans are:
- Facebook 62%
- Instagram 36%
- Snapchat 31%
- Pinterest 31%
- LinkedIn 22%
- Twitter 21%
Engaging Via Social Media: Whatever the platform may be, find out where your audience is and then make a splash on that platform. The two main things to keep in mind are what to post, and when to post:
What to Post: There is much you can post that may make a helpful impact among your followers, starting with the provoking content you have to offer. Content marketing gets 3X more leads than paid search advertising, so share that creative and interesting content from your blogpost, podcast, or website. Perhaps you could also create a video tutorial, hold a contest, or publish a poll to get your followers engaged and involved. Increasing your exposure is the goal here, but relevance is important for maintaining attention. During this current economic environment, you can check in regularly with your customers by simply asking “how’s it going for you” and then showing an image of your team member. When to Post: Consistency in posting is your biggest tool in maintaining a reliable online presence that keeps you at top-of-mind for your followers. You should post at least a few times per week, if not every day. Setting up a monthly calendar should help your dealership strategically plan out posts, including appropriate posts for dealership promotions, hours of operation, and servicing specials during this unique time. It’s also important to keep in mind that social media users are interacting in real time, meaning that to most dynamically engage them, some posts should be impromptuly.
Well there you have it. During times of social distancing, growing social media influence is a great way to successfully maximize exposure and grow sales. And if you’re looking for more ways to pursue Scrappy Marketing During Covid-19, stay tuned for more posts in this series!