Like all marketing efforts, when it comes to using social media for business, dealers expect to see direct results from the time, money, and energy invested.

The results are there, but keep in mind that social is less about counting how many people come in after you post a sale on Facebook, and more about building relationships through creating consistent value for your customers via what you share.

Using social in this way will certainly translate to an improved customer experience, which is vital for staying top-of-mind with your customers. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t ever post about sales and promotions, but it should be kept to a minimum—or better yet, personalized to the specific customer.

So, how to do it? Here are a few tips for making your social efforts valuable, and memorable, for your customers:

Change your perspective

We tend to approach social media via a content-production lens. But does your favorite author think in terms of pushing content? What about your favorite musician, or movie studio? Instead of thinking of social media this way, think of it as a meeting space where people go to be 1) entertained 2) educated (or both). If your dealership consistently offers these two things, you can be sure to grow your relationships.

Keep the numbers in mind for realistic expectations

Your Facebook posts aren’t seen by your entire friends list. Depending on how many friends you have, 35 percent, on average, will see your post go through their feed. Posting entertaining or educational material will raise this percentage—and posting without any visual content will drop it.

Less than 15 percent of that 35 percent will actually engage with your post (like, comment, share). You can apply these averages to your numbers to gauge success.

Today’s competitive environment has customers seeking a sense of kinship with most of the places where they do business, especially the ones where they’re making a big purchase.

Start where you are

Relationship building starts at your dealership. Make sure your employees feel valued, heard, respected, and needed. From there, come up with a plan for encouraging your team to share, and even create, posts about your business. You’ll get a far greater, more diverse demographic and local reach this way.

Mind Your Audience

In putting together your social plan, dig deeper into who your audience is. Today’s competitive environment has customers seeking a sense of kinship with most of the places they do business, especially the ones where they’re making a big purchase, like a car. Ask yourself: Who is our audience? What do they want to know? What’s important to them? Put yourself in their shoes.

Asking them how you can improve things at the dealership is great for increasing engagement. So is starting and encouraging conversations. You can do this by sharing something personal about your team to elicit a response. For example, “Our GM’s first car was a 1986 Ford Escort L, which surprised us. We thought it would be something more exotic,” as opposed to asking, “What was your first car?”

Also, be sure to show them your gratitude—you can send personal “thank you” messages via Facebook and other platforms.

Be quick but thorough

Consumers expect answers to their questions and concerns immediately, in most cases, especially on social platforms. Having an employee dedicated to monitoring your social closely is a must so that every interaction can be acknowledged and/or responded to in a timely manner—which for social means within hours. And social can be a great place to respond to questions or issues that keep coming up at your store. Odds are other customers have the same concern–education. It’s all about being reliable and building trust.

Consumers today are tired of having products and services pushed on them. If you really want to succeed in social media at your dealership, keep the “social” part in mind and think less about the marketing.

Joey Little
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Joey Little

Joey Little is well-known in the automotive industry for creating leading-edge social and digital media marketing, advertising, and communication strategies, and is a sought-after speaker on these topics at premier auto retail workshops worldwide. Working closely with the metal-movers and wrench-turners at dealerships across the nation, Joey’s integrated perspective on how dealerships operate at a core level offers valuable insights to the industry.
Joey Little
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