Social media seems to have crept into every aspect of our lives in 2019 and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Over the course of their lifetime, the average American will spend 5 years and 4 months on Social Media, and that number has been growing every year. Social Media is now second only to watching TV (7 years, 8 months), and has surpassed eating and drinking (3 years, 5 months)!
It’s no surprise that many dealers are already trying to get in on some of that screen time in any way they can. A well planned, well executed social push can work wonders for dealership sales, service, and customer relations departments. However, a poorly executed social strategy can be a waste of time and resources.
In this blog, we’ll outline seven things to keep in mind when starting a new social media push or analyzing and augmenting your existing social activities. All of these are vitally important to the success of your social strategy going forward and can help push your social presence into success.
1. Pick your Streams and Stick to Them
There are currently hundreds of social media platforms with daily active users, and many new ones are being added each day. With only so many hours in the day, how could you possibly keep up with them all? The answer is, you can’t.
When deciding on where you want your social presence to resonate, choose social streams which align with your customer base, and don’t spread yourself too thin. For example, if your dealership specializes in fleet sales to commercial customers, it would be a better idea to build a presence and advertise on LinkedIn than on Snapchat.
Once you’ve nailed down where your customers are frequenting, establish your accounts on those social platforms with a master email address that can be accessed by senior management at the dealership. Then commit to posting on them consistently from day one.
Unfortunately, as an automotive marketing agency, we’ve seen the same story play out over and over: Management wants the dealership to get involved with social media. An employee is tasked with making social media channels and does so with their email attached to them. If that employee moves on to another job, the social channels go dormant and there is no painless way to access them.
Establishing a master email address for social media accounts avoids this and can help make the transition between social media managers seamless.
2. Create Good Content
In order to keep your audience engaged, you must have compelling and varied content to offer them on a regular basis. Due to the cyclical nature of the car business, a simple sale announcement or lease deal won’t be able to consistently capture your audience’s interest. In order to do that, you must think outside the box.
We recommend posting sales promotions and similar information no more than once per week. Fill the other days with fun content about employees, community events the dealership is involved with, brand facts and history, vehicle-based media such as reviews and features, or spotlight positive reviews from customers and dealership awards and accolades. The possibilities are endless.
The goal of your social channels should be to humanize the business and the people behind it, and to be social as the name would imply. Pushing sales in front of people constantly will be a turn-off to many and work against your engagement.
3. Make a Schedule and Stick to it
Contrary to popular belief, more doesn’t always equal better. Growing an engaged social media following is a game of patience and consistency, and the best way to exhibit both characteristics is to make a posting schedule and stick to it.
In the beginning, your posts likely won’t get much engagement. It will be tempting to post again and again throughout the day to see bigger numbers, but you’re hurting more than you’re helping by spamming your social feeds more than once or twice per day. This is due to the algorithms that drive social media sites.
The social feed that people see when they log in is curated for them based on their past interests and engagements. There are millions of posts generated every day, and only so many that can be seen by the end users, so the best are chosen for them. If the social stream sees you posting very frequently and not getting any engagement on your posts, they’ll assume your posts are low quality and not bother to show future posts often.
We recommend posting no more than 1 time per day initially on most social streams. If your 1 post per day starts getting good engagement, try posting twice per day and see how engagement is affected. If engagement declines, revert to 1 per day. This will keep your content quality high, and your engagement to post ratio high as well.
4. Designate a Social Media Monitor
Social media is a two-way street. Just as you can post your interesting developments out to the world, the world can talk back to you. When people engage with you, it is extremely important to read and respond to what they’re saying.
Assign the task of monitoring social streams to at least one employee in the dealership, and make sure they’re responding to every comment that comes in in a timely manner. This is especially important of reviews, both positive or negative. If you don’t have someone at the dealership who is comfortable doing this, it’s a good to hire a digital marketing agency to help with reputation management.
If a customer called to tell you that they had a bad customer service experience at your dealership, would you ignore their call? What about if they were calling to tell you that one of your employees did an exceptional job, wouldn’t you want to congratulate that employee and recognize their efforts? Online reviews are the same thing, but they’re even more important due to their public nature. Be sure that your designated social media monitor or reputation management program has a plan to deal with both praise and backlash and is doing so in an effective and timely manner.
5. Commit to a Budget
It is important to remember that social media sites are also businesses, and businesses must make money. Their entire revenue model is designed around advertising from businesses just like yours. The reason businesses keep handing over billions to these companies every year is because it works.
A small budget added to boost your posts can help you reach a broader audience and boost engagement, especially in the earlier stages of your social endeavors. Try it with a feel-good, news worthy bit of content, like a dealership award. As little as $10 can go a long way towards spreading your message.
6. Don’t worry about Facebook Page Likes, at least Initially
This may seem counterintuitive, but don’t worry too much about your neighboring dealership having 20,000 likes and you having a few hundred. A page like is only worth the engagement that person is willing to give you and can hurt you in the long run.
It’s very easy to spend a few hundred dollars on a page like campaign and gather hundreds if not thousands of likes. But what if those people like your page, then rarely if ever like any of the content you post in the future? This will cause your engagement to decrease over time.
Organically posting on Facebook works like this: as soon as you hit the post button, that post is queued up in a few of the feeds of people who like your page. How many people initially engage with it combined with other historical factors and calculations tells Facebook just how good the content is. If it gets good engagement on the initial round of distribution, it gets spread further and further, and vice versa with poor engagement. You can see how people who like your page but aren’t inclined to engage with your content can drag down your organic reach and engagement.
That being said, there’s nothing wrong with running page like ads to get your page off the ground but take it very slowly and make sure the people you’re targeting are people who will be engaged with your content. Otherwise, you may be left with 20,000 irrelevant users and forced to pay to reach the people you really want to reach!
7. Consider Facebook Lead Ads
You may be saying “This all sounds great, but how will it sell cars?” The answer to that question is Facebook Lead Ads. D2D’s Facebook Lead Ads use swaths of automotive data to pin point people in market and searching for the vehicles you sell to serve them sales advertisements. These ads collect leads directly from Facebook, and transfer their Name, Email, Phone Number and vehicle they’re interested in directly to your CRM.
Lead Ads are especially effective if you already have a solid Facebook and social media presence, because the trust, brand familiarity, and relationship with the consumer has been nurtured for some time before they even receive the ad. This means more leads generated per dollar spent, and ultimately more sales for your dealership.
Social media advertising and branding is a vital part of any dealership’s advertising strategy in 2019. If you follow these tips, your social presence and following will flourish, and so will your relationship with your customers.
Michael is a Digital Marketing Strategist with over 7 years of experience implementing and managing digital media campaigns of all types and sizes. Over the course of his career, he has held a variety of certifications from Google Ads, Google Analytics, Facebook, Programmatic DSP’s and more.
For more information on how D2D can help, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org