Let’s get straight to the question most dealers want to know. First, it is important to understand what social media is. Social media is branding, it is the purest form of branding. All advertising budgets should include this but all too often is neglected to purchase more leads or run more TV ads. Social media is about getting people to talk about you so you don’t have to!
Let’s face it, the statistics are overwhelming.
People trust a peer recommendation 78% of the time as opposed to trusting traditional ads only 14% of the time.
One peer recommendation is worth 200 traditional advertisements (Relationship-Economy.com).
I could continue but these two stats alone summarize why dealers need to figure out the social media puzzle.
What are we trying to do with social media? Stand apart from your competition! People are tired of car dealers screaming at them through the TV, they either walk away or change the channel. Go look at your last ad you created and does it say anywhere in it “Now is the best time to buy?” People are tired of hearing this; they know you said it last month and the month before. They know you are lying either then or now.
Having been in the auto industry 20 years, I have the luxury of being able to speak firsthand about the affects the internet has had on dealers. At first, dealers fought the internet because it hurt their profit margins. Now and this is very exciting, social media will have the opposite effect. People will pay more, no not sticker, but $300 to $500 more to do business with a dealer that is committed to high level of customer service. What would an extra $300 per retail do to your bottom line?
From the very first day I walked into my first training session as a “greenpea”, I was told referral and repeat customers are the best customers! They sell easier and you usually make a little more. Why? Because trust is already built up in the relationship. Eureka!
Enter social media; do you know why social platforms have become so popular? We are social creatures, tools like Facebook allow us to make friends and interact with people that we would normally never meet.
Social media allows us to build relationships and create brand ambassadors that will go out and tell all their friends about you. Don’t get me wrong, car dealers have done a lot to hurt our image in the eyes of the buying public and it is not a normal thing that people want to be friends with a car dealer but it is possible!
Here is a statement that was said about one of our clients by a Facebook friend:
“I became a fan when you had less than 200 friends… your page is “alive” and I check it daily!! You are doing an amazing job, and for the first time in my 38 years…I HAVE chosen..and will be LOYAL to Metro Honda, why? Because your Facebook is fun..interactive..and I feel like we ARE “friends”!!! And you have GREAT cars!! I will tell anyone who will listen…Metro Honda IS the only place I will buy a car in NC..and I love my Odyssey with 130k thousand miles that looks and rides like brand new!!! Rock on MH.”
Two lessons from this quote
Facebook especially is purely a social tool; people are not very receptive to any types of advertising on Facebook so concentrate on building relationships. Instead of selling cars on Facebook, sell your dealership, sell the people who work at the dealership, sell your place in the community but do all of this in a non bragging way.
Share information about things happening in your community, show people that you are just one of them! Share information about the people that work at your dealership, that they live and interact in the same neighborhoods and they don’t all of sudden become these mean people when they walk through the doors of the dealership.
The second thing I want you to take from this quote is to keep your Facebook efforts personal. More and more tools are popping up that advertise they will help you automate your social media efforts. Run!!!! People want to interact with people, not computers. You will come across as fake and literally could do more harm than good.
Don’t get wrapped up in your number of “likes”!
This is an often misunderstood metric for a lot of dealers. Don’t get me wrong, it is great to have a lot of “likes” on your Facebook page but it is more important to have quality “likes”! Car dealers are local businesses, think locally with your growth. If all you want is people to like your page, there are services that will get you thousands of people in third world companies to like your page. Is that going to help you sell more cars?
Here are five quick ways to grow your local Facebook following:
- Make sure your existing database of customers knows about your Facebook page. Email them; it helps to entice them with coupons or a giveaway.
- Include your Facebook URL in all of your other forms of advertising.
- Make sure your business cards have your Facebook URL on them.
- Put signage in your dealership displaying your Facebook URL.
- Get your website provider to put a feed from your Facebook.
Old school meets new school
One the oldest and considering how much baseball I have coached and tried to raise money for, one of my favorite things a lot of dealers do in their communities is sponsor a local youth sports team. Awesome thing to do!
What typically happens? You write a check, they put a logo on their uniforms and then at the end of the season you get a team picture and you hand it in your dealership. Very nice but who is going to see this? Your existing customers, the people who already know and like you.
Imagine this scenario with social media. You write the check and then you ask the coach for team updates and game pictures. You post this information on your Facebook page and give credit to little Johnny for hitting a homerun. Little Johnny’s proud parents are going to be sending their friends and family to your page to check out your kind words and share the pictures from the games on their pages.
And how will all this help me sell more cars?
Top of mind awareness, when people think of car dealerships, you want yours to be the first that come to mind. Use social media to build quality relationships. Everybody likes to do business with a friend, a person they know, like and trust.