Let’s get social

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Make social media work for your dealership

shutterstock_192467753Social media may be one of the most under-used marketing tactics in the auto dealership industry.

Many dealerships post irregularly, rely on content already created by the brands they sell, or skip over social entirely.

Overlooking this important sales tool is a mistake. A 2015 study by Forum Research, a Canadian market research firm, shows that 25 per cent of our country’s population uses Twitter, and a whopping 59 per cent are on Facebook.

When used well, social media can help you connect with your customers and boost sales. According to a study by Dealer.com, 20 per cent of the buying population says social media greatly influences which dealership they choose to buy their vehicle from.

Though it can lead to sales, the main goal of social media is awareness. You want to get your name out there so that you’re first in mind when someone is looking to purchase a new car.

You do this through engagement. Social media users don’t just want a hard sell or a list of products. They’re browsing Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for information and entertainment.

The best way you can engage is through quality content. Whether you’re sharing the latest auto news, a snappy review of an up-and-coming vehicle, or a post from your favourite car blog, make sure it’s something your audience will enjoy.

Sales posts have their place, too.

Saving about one of every five posts for self-promotion is a good rule. But these posts should be just as engaging as any other content.

Get creative by filming a video complete with commentary on your newest vehicle feature, or writing a “top five reasons to buy” article on your dealership’s website. Of course, a social media exclusive promotion or deal never goes amiss, either.

Social media can also play an important role in customer service. It allows for quick, direct and personal responses to any posted problems, and this makes the customer feel taken care of. In fact, a 2012 study by global research firm Nielsen found 30 per cent of social media users actually preferred to go online for service issues.

Customer service is already one of the keystones of the auto dealer industry, and adding a social media option only contributes to the customer experience.

My final tip is to allocate your resources wisely. Social media, if done well, can be an amazing addition to your dealership’s marketing platform. But if you post infrequently or are unresponsive to comments and complaints, it’s not worth your time. It can actually harm your reputation if you don’t handle social media well.

Don’t spread yourself too thin. Pick a couple of networks and focus your attention on them. Pour your efforts into being as responsive and engaging as possible on these platforms.

Though it’s a great investment, hours spent on social media can add up. If you want to go a step further, consider hiring a dedicated social media manager, or even outsourcing social media to a specialty company.

With millions of Canadians on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, social media is a marketing tool that shouldn’t be ignored. Using it to connect and communicate with your customers is an important way to boost sales, increase awareness, and make sure every customer is satisfied.

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Canadian auto dealer