There was a time when we thought cars were never going to be sold online. When the position of “Internet Manager” or “Digital Manager” was not even a thought, none-the-less critical positions in the dealership.
Savvy dealers saw the changes and tried to stay ahead of the game. And there are some who refused to believe the internet would be a consistent and relevant part of the sales model. As the landscape changed and dealerships adjusted, the ones who resisted were now behind the eight ball.
It is the Blockbuster/Netflix conundrum. If you can’t see what is on the horizon, you will be left behind.
Flash Forward to 2021. Social Media is bigger than ever, more influential, and a great way to get in front of the eyes of potential consumers. And just as dealerships didn’t see the need for Internet Managers, they don’t recognize the necessity of social media content/creators. For many of the stores we work with, social posts are an afterthought, not a driving force.
Here are 3 reasons why organic social media is more important than ever, and key ways to ensure you are the Netflix model and not Blockbuster.
Three Reasons You Cannot Ignore Organic Social Media
- 70 percent of the people stated they bought a car they found on social media.
In a survey completed by Crowdtap, 70% of the people stated that they bought a car they initially found on social media. Whether that was via the dealership Facebook page, Marketplace, or another platform, consumers are using social platforms to find vehicles and ultimately the dealership they want to do business with. Social platforms are essentially another “website” for customers to learn about your dealership, your culture, and your inventory.
- Organic social boosts validity
When consumers hear a radio ad, see a billboard, or are served an advertisement on social platforms, one of the first things they do is either search for the store online or look for a social media account. And many opt for the social platform as many have reviews, comments, and conversations that will help guide them down the path to purchase. With 81% of people saying they're influenced by what their friends share on social media, an organic social strategy is imperative to building positive brand perception and share-of-voice according to Social Media Today.
In addition, 80 percent of buyers indicated they would trust their social network for advice before they would trust a salesperson. Do your social channels provide the information customers need to feel confident they would receive an easy, transparent, and pleasant car buying experience?
- The average car buyer visits two dealerships when looking for a vehicle.
And that number may be generous. Many studies state the number of dealership visits prior to purchase closer to 1.5. With this information in hand, every presence you have online must be optimized. Especially social. Your Facebook page, Instagram account, TikTok, and any other platform may be the first interaction people have with your brand and dealership. When someone lands on these, are they seeing customer created content, specials, offers, and your dealership culture, or are they seeing generic OEM posts? How are you curating content that will stop the scroll and cause your followers to interact?
And don’t forget that organic social media is a large factor in referral traffic to your website!
What Can You Do to Ensure Customers Get the Best Impression From Your Social Platforms?
Audit your social media regularly
When was the last time you evaluated and audited your site? Really looked through the content from a customer perspective? This is a tough exercise, as we have the “curse of knowledge” and may assume customers just know that ABC Motors has the best value, amazing and caring salespeople, and a community first approach.
Unfortunately, if it is not posted on social, they may never know.
Your “Why Buy” statements are incredibly valuable, and should be broadcast as much as possible. There are many types of posts that can be created to assist with this, showcase your amazing dealership culture, and bring customers to your website or dealership.
- Spotlight your dealership staff. Post consistently and showcase salespeople, managers, service technicians, advisors--anyone who the public may come in contact with. This gives your dealership a face and a familiarity that will help the customer to feel like they already know a point of contact at the dealership. The more you can humanize your dealership and give it a “face,” the more interest you should receive.
- Create short form videos that highlight your unique selling propositions. Videos are the most consumed form of media on social, and the goal is to be thumb stopping. When creating these short videos, think of behind the scenes content that customers would not normally see. If your technicians are completing videos to send to the customers, take a short video of them completing this and post to social channels, highlighting this amazing practice. When a truck is coming in, take a video of the cars being driven off and add engaging copy that will make the customer excited about the vehicles. There are many ways to bring the customers “into your dealership” before they ever step a foot on the lot.
- Highlight your community involvement. Who does not like to buy from someone they know is contributing to the community and helping others? This showcases your culture and increases the feel-good aspect of what you do. The majority of dealerships have organizations, schools, hospitals that they partner with. Highlight this on social, link back to the organization, and have them do the same!
There are many ways to showcase yourself on organic social media that will help build your presence and drive traffic online and on-lot. And if you are looking for other examples, check out this dealership highlighted in Automotive News.
And when traffic increases and leads go up, we are here to help with all of your engagement needs!