Automotive social media marketing is a special type of marketing particularly because it seems like it’s been slow to take off. Automotive companies such as Ford Motor Company have been a major player in social media for several years. Ford is even recognized as one of the top social media strategists worldwide. So then, how could it be that automotive social media marketing still hasn’t caught on on a larger scale? The answer: Most dealerships still don’t get it.
In conversations with several marketing directors at various dealerships throughout South Florida, the answers vary from “if it’s not broke don’t fix it” and “our strategy is to just be present at the cocktail party.” This thinking is fundamentally flawed. For one, people expect you to be present on social media sites such as Facebook and they will talk about their experiences with your dealership. Therefore, if you’re not monitoring what they are saying or if you’re not giving them a platform to express their experiences, you will leave your customers feeling as if you don’t care and furthermore you won’t have the opportunity to resolve their problems. Secondly, it’s not about just being present at the cocktail party. It’s like having several dealership locations, but only a few cars on each lot. What good will that do?
The real issue here is automotive dealerships don’t think they can sell vehicles through social media. While you may not directly sell a car from Facebook, your posts should speak with customers building loyalty to your dealership so that when it comes time to buy or lease their next vehicle that customer wouldn’t think of going anywhere else. It is all about your messages. People often buy cars as an expression of their personality and lifestyle. And that’s exactly why they use social media. How often do you read posts about what people are doing, what they think about a certain product, or even see photos they post of their favorite cup of coffee or that new car they just purchased or leased? It’s happening whether you’re there or not.
So why do automotive dealerships shy away from social media? As mentioned earlier they don’t see it as a way to sell cars. Social media marketing is still fairly new but it is only growing because consumer use is growing. Consider some recent statistics from a survey that ISACA conducted about how people use location based apps:
- 32% of consumers use location-based apps more than they did a year ago
- 59% of respondents who have a smartphone, tablet or laptop us it to get directions via applications using the respondent’s current location
- 44% tag photos on social media
The idea is to give your customers a place to express their personalities, a forum to discuss the vehicles they love as well as their customer service experiences, and for you to excite them about the vehicles you’re selling. Again, it’s all about the messages and the context in which you share those messages. For example, a Facebook quiz on what kind of Mercedes you are, will garner engagement simply because people want to be associated with luxury and showcase their personality to their friends by sharing the results. Remember, we live in an “it’s all about me” world.