Dealerships need to understand social media and how to use it properly to positively impact their business, says a content creator in the automotive world with a significant following.
Jeff Hunter, who works for Prouse Chevrolet in Sault Ste. Marie, has a YouTube channel called General Motors Jeff that has more than 26,000 subscribers. To put that in context, reaching 1,000 subscribers is considered a significant achievement.
Hunter worked in the family-owned motorsports dealership before transitioning full-time to the automotive world more than nine years ago, starting out as a salesperson for Prouse and then expanding his role, including becoming a content creator and brand specialist.
His latest YouTube post is “How To Use Social Media To Build Your Brand”. He noticed how dealerships are turning over social media to a third party and paying for it but said it’s not a financially effective way to do it.
“It’s all good and fine, but that’s not how social media works,” said Hunter. “You can’t just have someone from another city or country or province posting things on your profile. It needs to be done naturally or organically from where you are. The misconception dealerships have is you just need to post things and people will come in.”
He said dealerships that post solely on things related to sales do not understand that’s not what people want to see. He said they are already overloaded with ads by manufacturers.
“It’s polished, it’s clean, it’s professional and there’s a place and time for that, but on your social media feed it’s not that,” said Hunter. “If you are using the same material that all the manufacturers are using (in various cities), what differentiates you, what separates you, what makes people want to be coming back and interacting with you?” said Hunter.
“It needs to be representing your community, your dealership, your people who work there, but not in a sales away. It needs to be educational and entertaining but on a local level and providing value to the customer in a way in which they can communicate back. Social media is a way to communicate with your potential clients. It’s also a good way to retain clients when used properly.”
He suggested ways for dealerships and their employees to engage on social media with customers is to do things such as walkarounds, showing how a remote starter works, how to change the clock on the infotainment device or change kilometres to miles per hour.
He said variation works well, using texts, photos and video and alternating them each day. He also said a common mistake of dealerships and their employees is posting photos of customers who just bought a car.
“That gets old,” Hunter said.
He also suggested dealerships and salespeople mix up their material for the various social media platforms because they all address different audiences. He said Facebook should be the one they use first.
“I find it’s the best for communicating with the customers because there’s more ways to interact,” said Hunter. “I know it seems like the oldest social media platform now, but it’s still the most successful and easiest way to garner analytics. You can also run advertising and it will pop up on somebody’s feed.”