Building a Successful Auto Dealer Social Media Strategy

Social Media Strategy for Auto Dealers
The first step towards ensuring profit maximisation is adaptability. Few will argue that the need to keep up with the times and appeal to the market is one of the cornerstones of good business strategy. In order to make sure that one can effectively capitalise on the growing market, one of the things that is needed is a successful social media strategy. In this article we look at some of the ways in which a successful auto dealer can create an unbreakable and effective social media network.

Top Ways To Build A Social Media Strategy

List of social media sites

As we have seen in the introductory piece, the need for a widespread network is paramount. In the subsequent sections we will look at why capitalising the social media scene is of primary importance. In this section we look at some of the ways in which a car dealer can setup, use and automate the social media.

1. Identifying the Reader: One of the bedrocks of building any business strategy is to identify the target audience. In the case of using social networking to one’s advantage there is a distinct need to identify what the audience that will read your blog is like. When it comes to target audience there are a few things one must look at. These are:

· The economic subgroup: What this refers to is that being a dealer, one must be aware of the price range of the products. Since the blog is going to correspond to the actual products that you sell, it is natural that the audience of your blog belongs to a certain financial section. Knowing the economic situation of your reader is of prime importance since it will influence the kind of articles that you include in the marketing blog. From car accessories to how to manage dealership finances- most of the information must cater to the financial preferences of your target audience.

· Social Section: Again, this is an area that requires special attention. The reason being that when you are deciding what the contents of the blog are going to be like you must take into account the nature of your audience. So, for instance, if the target audience is a younger group of people, one could probably talk about more youth centred car accessories and gadgets. Knowing the social section of the reader goes hand in hand with understanding their economic status.

2. Leverage The Story of the Brand: What many people overlook when it comes to building relationships with the customer is the need to leverage the brand story. By putting the story of how your company started, what initial hardships you faced, why you chose auto dealership as a business venture and so on and so forth, you will have accomplished building a direct connect with the customers. In marketing, this is a very effective practice whereby the dealer and the client find some common ground. It increases familiarity and positively affects the sales. Leveraging the story through social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and even the lesser used sites such as Hi5 or Google+ is a good way to boost your online presence.

3. Build an Online Community: Needless to say, it is important that you have a large scale online presence. There are two ways of doing this:

· Join Google+ : By joining cloud oriented software like Google+ you can broaden the base of your online clientele. The best part of doing this is that since Google+ has a number of communities, there are chances that you will have a relevant and interested audience.

· Creating Chains: Say, for instance, you have a reader who is reading your blog. By asking the reader to share/post the link of the blog to his social group you will have started creating a wider audience base. In this way the articles you circulate regarding, say, the latest brands of fuel or motor car engine oil receive a wider audience and increase your potential clientele.

4. SEO Optimization: It is not merely enough to start a blog and advertise it on social media sites. These days everyone is about Search Engine Optimization. In order to ensure maximum traffic, doing the right kind of research, managing content and optimizing for keywords is imperative. In addition to this, adding related videos and responding to comments is one of the ways in which the social media capitalisation might be enhanced.
Furthermore, using LinkedIn, Google+ and other cloud software in order to increase traffic is a smart strategy

5. Automate Content Sharing: One of the hallmarks of increasing internet traffic is by automating the social media sites such that your blog posts are discovered and shared. Since this is a slightly longer and more labour intensive process we have dedicated an entirely different section that addresses the issue of automation.

How to Automate Content Sharing:

Content is King

As discussed, automation is the primary tool that will assist you to channel your blog posts in a way that increases traffic. In this sub-section we take a look at the step-by-step process that automating involves.

· The Basics: When it comes to automating content there is basic formula that seems to work for the best auto dealers. This is the 5-3-2 formula for content sharing. What this means is that- 5 articles should be from other sources that is relevant to the audience and ensures that your brand does not seem like a completely profit-making organisation, 3 should be from your own auto dealership dealing with relevant content such as machine parts, fuel and so on. Care must be taken to avoid sounding like sales pitch at all times. Research finds that this might decrease the overall appeal of your blog. 2 (or 1 in many cases) articles should concern matters unrelated to cars sales. This helps humanise your brand which is the cornerstone of good marketing.

· Buffering: This is a process by which you can line up or schedule a number of posts into your queue for a particular social networking site. So, for instance, if you are using the free version of the software Buffer (that allows this sort of queuing) simply setup each of the social profiles Facebook, Twitter etc.- and queue up the 10 posts that you want. The reason Buffering is needed is because it is time effective and saves manual work.

· Using Followerwonk + Buffer: Taking the Buffer activity one step further, you can subscribe to the software Followerwonk in conjunction with Buffer. What Followerwonk does is that it identifies the time that your target audience is most active on the particular social networking site. For instance, if your audience is most active on Facebook at 6 pm, then Followerwonk will post your blog updates on Facebook at that particular time.

Using both Buffer and Followerwonk creates maximised and channelized online traffic.

· Dlvr.It: This is another tool that can be used for automating your content. What Dlvr.It does is that it allows you to automatically share posts on the social profiles. These updates appear on the RSS Feed of your WordPress blog. In addition to posting your articles, Dlvr.It allows you to post 4 other feeds as well. This is a nice way of posting corresponding blogs dealing with auto dealership and helping the clients out in a much more comprehensive fashion.

Additional Tip: One of the things that is useful when it comes to automating content is the use of hashtags. As many of you might be aware, the latest trend whereby one can integrate Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook is by using hashtags. One can visit sites such as Hashtags.org and Hachtagify.me in order to find out what the best hashtags for you could be.

Top Sites to Consider

Social Media Sites

There are a number of sites that one should keep in mind while thinking of Social Media Networking. These are:

· Facebook

· Twitter

· LinkedIn

· Google+

· Instagram

· Pinterest

· YouTube

The last three sites are important as add-ons to the dominant media sites. This is because they deal mostly with picture posts and videos. In order to make the content of your blog more interesting, integrating these sites and their links into the content is good strategy.

In addition to social media sites, some of the more technical sites that are review based sites should also be considered. Hence, forums such as Cars.com, DealerRater.com are also spaces that must be utilised fruitfully in order to increase sales. In fact, posting content onto review sites and then re-posting this onto the social media sites is a sure way to increase reliability of the brand. In fact, experts have found that the average consumer will look at at least 5 or more review sites before finalising the purchase. This means that tracking your reviews in places such as Google My Business, Edmunds, Yelp and Yahoo! Local is a much needed strategy.

Benefits of an Effective Social Media Strategy

There are a number of reasons one should consider using social media sites as a medium for marketing. Some of these reasons are:

1. Building Wider Clientele: It cannot be forgotten that at the end of the day, the target is profit maximisation. By using social media networking as a tool to achieve this helps you build a wider audience. Through the use of tools such as repeated sharing, Buffering and others you will have ensured that a lot more people are aware of your auto dealership. Naturally, greater advertising is the key to an improved business.

2. Customer Support: Since social media works in both directions, it caters not only to the needs of the business man but also to that of the customer. By relying to comments and allowing for Facebook posts, chances are that you will have exponentially improved your PR skills. This is turn affects your reputation and can allow for better sales.

3. Business Development: Broadly speaking, when one is open to interaction, customer suggestion and other feedbacks the chances of improving the business are manifold. Knowing your competition through social media networking and finding ways through which you can increase the quality of your products is a good way of developing your business.

4. Building Brand Awareness: Again, one of the most important thing when it comes to marketing is building brand image. While television and radio advertisements are the norm, breaking out of them to foray into the field of social media is a smart and innovative decision. Furthermore, the more people will hear about the brand the greater are the chances of you increasing the number of store outlets and so on and so forth.

5. Increased Opportunity for Sales: As one gets the hang of social media networking, the chances of online sales also increases. There are many ways in which this can take place. Broadly speaking, there are a couple of things that go into starting an online sales section. These are:

· hiring a social media strategist

· opening an online sales and IT department within your office and

· subscribing to the services of a delivery agency

If one wishes to increase the overall sale and brand value of their dealership, considering the option of online sales might be a good idea.

Things to Consider

While social media strategy is one of the latest and perhaps most helpful tools when it comes to advertising your brand, there are two things that one must keep in mind. These are:

· Social media networking is a means to an end only. That means that at the end of the day the quality of the hardware products cannot suffer or let the customers down. Focusing all your energy on building the image is not going to work in the long run if the goods are not up to the mark. Similarly, the content of your blog is as important as your marketing strategies. From matter to design and overall presentation, this is something one must always be cautious about.

· Social media sites are always in a state of flux. Hence sticking to old rules and expecting them to work at all times is perhaps foolhardy. Going with the flow and innovating constantly is the need of the hour.

Conclusion

Social media focus

For any auto dealer, the idea of social media networking is both beneficial and challenging. As has been discussed, the world of social media is constantly changing. While this definitely increases the chances of failure, it must also be kept in mind that the benefits far outweigh the costs in this regard. Taking a chance and building a sound strategy is as important as adaptability and the willingness to learn more. At the end of the day, the key to building a successful social media presence is to straddle the dual worlds of work efficiency and marketability.

February 5, 2015 - Written by

4 comments


  • Jonah says:

    Hi Korey. I’m Jonah from Hashtagify.me. I’ve just read your article and want to thank you very much for mentioning our tool to your readers 🙂

    Have a great weekend!

    Jonah

  • Jim Simpson says:

    Read this with some appreciation and a critical viewpoint. Auto dealers think that people want to engage them in social media. Ask people yourself, if you haven’t seen the studies, and they’ll tell you they don’t want to “like” or “friend” an auto dealership. They are much more interested in liking, friending or sharing a person, hence the need for dealerships to consider the benefits of empowering and equipping their sales staff in engaging social media for them independently…with controls in place, of course.

    And the fact that social media (Facebook) is aware of the potential ad revenue dealerships budget for should also be a consideration. Facebook is the elephant in the room and they charge a lot to dealerships (minimum $500) for this opportunity. Facebook does NOT charge the individuals who work for dealerships so there is a lot for dealerships to gain, if they have the tools to do it.

    Although really informative, you present a complex approach that does not encompass the opportunities available to dealerships that provide the tools, training and support to the “people” their customers are willing to engage on an individual basis. Just saying…

    • Appreciate your reply and perspective Jim. Don’t agree on a $500 min for dealers to use Facebook, maybe I’m missing your point. Facebook Pages are free and minimum ad budgets can be as low as $1-$2/day depending on CPC (obviously most dealers are going to be spending well above that number). Hard to cover every social media angle in a 2000 word post! It’s a consistently changing marketplace with different providers and tactics.

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