You’ve heard a lot about social media for auto dealerships. It can be confusing, complex, difficult—but does it really help sell cars? Now, more than ever, is the perfect time for your dealership to commit to an active social media presence.
We hear it all the time - sales don’t come from social media. This thinking is ingrained in auto dealerships across the country. Although it’s difficult to attribute a car sale to a specific interaction on social media, it can be done.
Your dealership’s social media activity contributes in so many tangible ways to bring in customers, improve your dealership’s reputation, drive overall digital marketing success. When digital marketing success equals car sales, your dealership should be all ears.
Why social media is important - and worth it.
By 2020, social media will influence up to 40% of all auto sales. If your dealership ignores social media, your digital marketing strategy, and likely car sales, will fall behind.
A large part of this has to do with mobile-first auto consumers, who base their decision on research done through their smartphone. According to a Facebook research study on auto buyers’ digital research journey, buyers did up to 74% of their research on their mobile or tablet device. Social media is one sure way to take advantage of this rapid move to mobile research.
But why does social media make sense for car shoppers?
Social is persistent.
Car buying involves a lot of research. If your dealership is consistently providing quality social content primed for research purposes and receiving good reviews, you will likely be considered when the time comes for a test drive. In fact, 72% of car shoppers would even drive 20-60 miles to a dealership with good reviews on their social media pages.
As stated above, social is mobile.
To reach those mobile-first consumers, social is a crucial piece of the puzzle. With the average U.S. user spending up to 5 hours a day on their mobile device, and 36% of that time (almost two hours!) is spent on social media apps alone, the opportunity is ripe for the taking.
Social is personal.
Social advertising’s highly personalized targeting options allow your dealership to reach customers in an entirely new way.
Integrating social media as a component of your overall digital marketing strategy is key for auto dealerships. With an active social media presence, you can capitalize on mobile-first researchers and increase awareness for your brand and dealership. Long term, this increases the value of your dealership’s reputation and drive new shoppers to your lot. Social media also plays a role in search engine optimization, impacting how easily people find you on search engines.
Social media best practices for dealerships
Building a presence on social media doesn’t happen overnight, but commitment to a consistent posting schedule, tone and social advertising strategy will set your dealership up for success.
Commit to quality two-way conversations
Like any healthy relationship, two-way communication is crucial on social media. Posting frequently on social media is a good start, but what you post matters even more.
Keeping the conversation alive provides long-term value for customers and potential buyers because they’re receiving a personal interaction with your brand. Do away with the “set it and forget it” mindset and start embracing two-way conversations on your social platforms.
Move your followers down the funnel
Using a healthy mix of content types on social can help your dealership capture customers in every part of their sales journey. Community polls and fun photos can draw in people who may be new to your business, while content about lease specials and current seasonal events can attract customers who are ready to buy. Staff features and photos of community events can even help you stay top-of-mind for past customers.
And remember, keeping your social posts varied can also help you stand out against your competition across town.
Why social media deserves your ad spend
Just like the search engine results page (SERP), there are two types of traffic on social media: organic and paid. There is a major difference between organic and paid reach on social media, especially on Facebook.
It is becoming increasingly clear that businesses on Facebook must pay to play: in a study by Buffer, 55% of marketers saw a significant decrease in their Facebook page’s organic reach. Simply “boosting” a few posts won’t do the trick, and you’ve got to pay (and play) strategically.
With so many ad types available, here are two fundamental best practices:
- Get specific with your content. Depending on your intended audience, your ad copy, image, and call-to-action will change.
- Smart audience targeting is important to reach the right people with your ad spend! According to a Facebook study on targeting auto buyers, the quality and scale of their platform’s lookalike audiences are in the top 10% of advertising publishers. This means Facebook ads are highly likely to reach the interested car buyers and fans you’ve been chasing.
Tailoring your content to the right audience, allocating a sufficient budget, and taking advantage of audience targeting options through your social platforms can exponentially increase your social marketing success by driving shoppers who exist beyond SERPs to your dealership.
What does the data really tell you?
How can you tell if social media is really working for your dealership? While social statistics can seem murky, pulling impactful data is possible once you know what to look for.
First, remember that likes, shares, and clicks matter. They indicate that people are responding positively to your brand and dealership, and want to learn more. Second, watch your website to see where referrals are coming from. An increase in social referral traffic reflects that your hard work is paying off in driving interested customers down the funnel!
Remember to also set goals and parameters to measure the data that really matters to your dealership. Want to promote a seasonal event or new model promotion to help hit your numbers for this month? Set up a social campaign promoting it, and use it to attribute social media data directly to car sales.
While the slew of data available from social can be daunting, distil it down to what matters. It can reveal social media as an impressive sales sales opportunity for your dealership.
How we can help
Social media for auto dealers is one of our specialties. Our social marketing specialists develop relevant and unique content specifically for your dealership, and execute smart ad spend strategies that reach potential customers and fans who convert.
We work with you to post the things you care about on your favorite social platforms, while consistently managing your online communities. This fosters long-term interaction and movement of your social followers down the sales funnel. And, the social numbers you care about come standard with our dedication to transparent reporting practices.
To learn about how to get started with our social media services, contact us to see how your dealership’s commitment to social media can drive your online marketing success.