22 Feb Social Media: Is Anybody Listening?
So much money and effort is wasted in the automotive industry because so much content ends up on platforms where there is no audience. Social media can be a black hole in which endless content is spilled, day after day. The traffic to a dealership Facebook page is very limited, yet millions of dollars are spent to produce content that is relevant and timely – Whatever that means. Not only is the audience small, in most cases there are no conquest opportunities. Dealers I speak with are frustrated with the current state of Social Media Marketing. They have been told that they must have a Facebook Page and a Twitter account to be “in the game.” And that they can measure success by the number of “likes” or “followers.”
We all know that millions of potential buyers are online most every minute of every day – So how do you reach them? The best strategy is to reach them through their friends and family. Instead of trying to bring the audience to you, why not go where the audience already exists? Get your “Best” customers to promote your brand for you. You need advocates to promote your business for you. People trust their friends and family. A review online is great, but a review from a trusted friend is even better!
So, if the entire world is on Social Media, what are you doing wrong? It’s simple; what you’re currently doing is trying to move the audience to your content. What you should be doing is providing content that gets delivered to the audience on their terms.
Competing for even just 30 seconds of someone’s time online is next to impossible. When you want to run an effective TV campaign, would you create your own TV channel, produce programming and hope that your programs were compelling enough to get an audience? Or would you just run commercials on the most popular TV shows? The answer seems obvious.
The power and the influence of Social Media is often based on who is delivering the message. Your content must be compelling enough to go viral. Viral does not always mean millions of views. You need to create an army of advocates that will share on their social networks. These advocates will send content on your behalf. Personalized messages received from a family member and/or friends has impact. But more importantly, if it is compelling and entertaining, it gets shared. Messages that fit naturally into Social Media habits GO VIRAL, and that’s where the magic happens.
I know of dealerships that are reaching thousands of consumers every month through their social networks in a way that influences buying decisions. Research we have conducted over the past three years shows that it is not only possible, but effective, to get your customers to promote your business for you. The key is providing compelling content of value to your customers. We consistently see dealers who practice this enjoying email open rates over 80 and 90 percent. In addition, their viral content is shared more than 75 percent of the time by their own customers. Nothing else out there is quite as effective as having your own customers market your business for you.
Get your message to Go Viral with your branding and suddenly your message is delivered to the masses for you. Viral messaging reaches the unreachable consumer. Many consumers pride themselves on limited exposure to marketing. They are removed from mailing lists, they TIVO through commercials, they have satellite radio and they unsubscribe from all mailing lists. Do you know anyone like that? This person would never visit or follow a business online. Yet this person is easy to reach through their friends and family.
Creative content is the key. Send your customers something they will be compelled to share without your even asking. Customer photos create the best share rates I have seen. You should have a process in place to capture customer photos at delivery (the emotional highpoint of the buying experience). You need a process to brand those photos and get them into your customers’ devices. If you capture quality photos and get them to your customers quickly, they will promote your brand for you. Find a way to get this done and it will completely change your outlook on Social Marketing. Anyone that says you cannot sell cars using Social Media is living in 2014.
A typical dealer sending out the right kind of message can expect to have their content viewed online thousands of times, each and every month. With each message the dealer is reaching a unique and untapped audience. This certainly proves that done right, people ARE listening.
About the Author:
Paul Moran is CEO of Vboost, Inc., the first proactive process to create positive viral marketing in the retail automotive space, and has over 28 years of experience in creating digital marketing programs and introducing dealers to effective technologies. His expertise covers all aspects of traditional, digital and social marketing. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.