The Biggest Questions About Social Media Marketing In The Automotive Industry Answered
12th March 2018
A good social media strategy needs as much careful planning, time and thought as any other type of marketing. Despite this, we often see social media at the bottom of the marketing priority list for managers. We sometimes even see business owners passing it off to an intern, sales member or lower level marketing person.
With 84% of car buyers on Facebook and 66% of car buyers who saw a Facebook Ad clicking on it, it is therefore quite surprising that social media isn’t paid more attention by more businesses. It’s a great way to market your services and help boost your brand awareness. Not only that, it gives you the chance to connect with customers on a more personal, human level.
In this article, we have answered the biggest questions asked by the automotive industry when it comes to social media management. From why invest time into social media? Which platforms should we be on? And how often should we post?
Are there any questions you often hear which are not featured here? If so, please get in touch, we would love to build upon this list and help answer your own questions.
1. Why do we need to do social media marketing if we already have a website and advertise on Auto Trader?
There are 24 touch points on average in a car buyer’s journey, 19 of which are digital. Indeed, your website is one of those touch points, however so are your social media platforms. Research is showing that many people look at companies’ social media presence when doing their research, looking at customer reviews, comments and photos. Imagine you’re a potential customer and you see nothing has been updated in months on a social page, it will make you wonder if something is going on over there. People want to engage in innovative, exciting, happening businesses; not stagnant, dormant businesses.
With 80% of UK car dealers advertising on Auto Trader, to differentiate your dealership and stand out from the crowd you need to rely less on this, read more here about differentiating yourself in the automotive market.
Moreover, there are 3 core goals which social media marketing can help you achieve:
Responding to enquiries:
Everyone has their own preferred method for contacting your dealership and enquiring on social media is increasingly becoming recognised as a key channel for people to engage with dealerships. Especially as people expect responses within a few hours of their question and don’t necessarily want to have a conversation with someone in sales. According to AM-Online, 81% of consumers simply take their business elsewhere if their queries aren’t answered quickly and effectively by a company
Talking to your customers
Where many dealerships seem to get social media marketing wrong is by posting sales pitches and adverts of cars. People are not on social media to hear your sales pitch. It is a 2-way conversation, they want to know you’re listening and answering questions, that you effectively and promptly follow-up on complaints and show you truly want to help them.
Reaching more people:
Social media marketing can help grow your business; a third of car buyers use social media to post pictures of their new vehicles. So essentially, they are promoting your dealership to their friends and followers which in turn will help boost your brand visibility to reach new audiences.
2. What social media channels should my dealership be on?
This depends on where most of your prospects are, so this does require some research and you won’t get the same results for every car dealership. You will need to research what your local customers and prospects are using in terms of social sites as they will most likely be the people you want to target.
As a rule of thumb for social media marketing, your car dealership should be on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. If you are looking to engage a younger audience then we suggest you start using Instagram as well. These are key social media sites for automotive and are most likely to help you interact and engage with prospects.
You should aim to be present on multiple social media channels as this will give your dealership more exposure, however, it is important to keep in mind that you don’t need to be on every social media channel. Some social sites don’t work for everyone and if you have tried and tested different ways to make a certain social site work for you, but nothing seems to change, it’s ok to call it quits.
(Related article: 4 Benefits of Multi-Channel Digital Marketing For Car Dealerships)
3. What type of content, what tone, and how often should we be posting on social media?
This all depends on the social media channel you are posting on. They all have different “rules” as to how to use them effectively for automotive marketing.
Here are the basic rules:
Type of content:
Avoid using the same content for every channel as it may work well for one social site but not so much for another. For instance, Facebook is a place for people to connect with their friends or family, so your brand needs to fit into this in order to keep people interested in what you’re posting. So, don’t make it solely about selling. Twitter is faster paced, it is a great way to share quick thoughts, news and generate traffic to your website about new offers (without overdoing it). It can be good to include your manufacturer’s content as well, as this will be relevant and interesting to your audience, however you should still create your own content for more successful social media marketing.
Another thing to keep in mind for your social media marketing strategy is the quality of the pictures you post. Posting bad-quality pictures of low resolution are more likely to put off any potential customers as it can make your brand look unprofessional.
Tone of content:
Are your tone and language clear to recognise across all your social channels and content? Are you a business which is wanting to be perceived as serious and professional, are you humorous and cheeky, are you inspirational or educational? This is important in your social media marketing strategy. If you only post advertisements of your cars, it will bore your audience. Equally, you don’t want to be joking around too much as this can come across as unprofessional.
It’s important to find a happy medium and balance that works well with your dealership that speaks to your target audience and customers.
You need to keep in mind how often you’re posting for your social media marketing strategy to be effective. You should post content often enough to keep your audience interested and gain their trust, but at the same time, you need to be conscious that you aren’t posting too much. You don’t want to bombard your audience with post after post as this will make them feel like you’re spamming them, which can influence them to scroll past your content instead of looking at it, or they may even un-follow you.
(Related article: 8 Common Mistakes Car Dealerships Make With Social Media Management)
4. Will someone need to be trained at this or can anyone just take the baton?
As mentioned at the beginning, a good social media management plan and strategy need time, careful planning and as much thought as other areas of marketing. With the rise in technology, there has been a huge change in the car buying process, and social media is just one aspect that has had an impact on this and will only grow. Social media is often used by car buyers to look at reviews, which of course will influence whether they do business with you. 38% of consumers consult social media before making a car purchase according to Brandwatch, which is why it’s crucial to have a great social media marketing strategy in place.
To really make your social media marketing strategy successful, the best option is to invest in it properly whether that is internally or externally. The digital talent gap in the automotive industry is widening, so the need for rapid skill development is higher than ever.
Investing in on-going training is one way to stay ahead to ensure you understand the ever-changing customer car buying behaviour. Another option is to partner with a digital marketing agency that specialises in automotive marketing, as they continually invest in training to stay up-to-date to deliver the best quality work and results. This option is often more attractive as the processes and results are proven, it can be more cost effective and you don’t have to consider recruitment and training costs.
5. What do we do when we get negative comments or feedback on social media?
Every car dealer gets a bad review now and then, but it’s how and when you respond to it that makes all the difference. People online will always have a watchful eye on this. It can be a great way and opportunity to show you truly want to help them and others will know that you listen. Responding to negative comments on social media will speak as loudly to your customers as positive feedback.
When it comes to your dealership’s complaints on social media, it’s crucial that it’s acknowledged promptly and that it’s resolved, and you would be surprised how sometimes a bit of humour goes a long way. If it is an unfair comment or you know the person who posted it is notoriously difficult, still respond. You can report a comment to Facebook if you can provide clear reasons as to why it is not valid.
If a customer visiting your dealership thanks you for all your help, you will acknowledge this and respond. The same goes if a customer comes and makes a complaint, you will respond to them and try to resolve the problem. So why should it be any different on social media?
The best way to keep up with your customers’ reviews or comments is to assign someone with the responsibility of responding to all your customers’ queries and allocate them specific time for this task. By having someone respond to these compliments and complaints, it showcases that you appreciate the time your customers have taken out to write to you and that you’re on top of any issues.
PS: Make sure responses are individual and unique so that the customers know you really have taken the time out to respond to them directly, and it’s not just a generic ‘thank you/sorry’ message.
Related article: The Most Common Automotive Marketing Problems & How To Solve Them
Does This Answer Your Social Media Questions?
We hope this article has given you insight into what the biggest questions are circling social media marketing in automotive and what the best answers are to tackle these questions.
If you are interested in working with a digital marketing agency with experience in social media management for automotive marketing, please contact us via phone or email.
Also, if you have any questions relating to social media marketing for the automotive industry that you feel is significant to address that we haven’t included, please let us know. We would love to understand if there are any other difficulties that auto dealers are facing that need to be confronted.