Whether you’re a franchise or a privately owned car dealership, social media has to take precedence in your marketing strategy. Clearly, with the very existence of your social media pages, reaching out to followers, informing customers, or even selling cars on these platforms, has some importance to you. So why aren’t you taking social media marketing seriously, or if you are, why are you hiring people who have no sense of what it means to be an effective marketer? In any other industry, including the car selling business, no sales means an immediate firing or layoff, yet you still keep your social media manager, despite the low engagement rates.
Time and time again, I witness car dealerships’ Facebook pages being managed incorrectly. There’s no effort, no experimental marketing, no engagement, and very boring content that will be overlooked by the people who you’re trying to reach. The content that is shared is irrelevant to their dealership, the cars on their lot, and the audience they’re marketing to. Hard selling keeps potential customers away, and instead of informing people on the specials the dealership is offering that month, they infuse the status and post with “SALE SALE SALE!”. That’s not going to get people in your doors.
If you’re posting on a consistent basis and still not seeing results, the answer to your problems can be simple, as you’re not promoting your Facebook posts. How are people going to see your statuses if you’re not using the promotion tools Facebook has? There’s a chance that your existing followers will not be drawn into your content because they either recently purchased a vehicle from your dealership, or are currently not in the market just yet for a new car.
Now is the time to revamp your social media marketing strategy. With Facebook Live, you’re able to have live streaming events. Take an in-depth look at a particular model in your showroom, go through the features, tech and performance specifications, why the customer should buy that vehicle, and give the viewers alternatives in terms of trim level and prices. Maybe do a virtual tour of your dealership, to make a customer’s first time entering your dealership’s doors a comfortable experience. Since these videos stay on your timeline, there’s no need to create multiple videos of the same car, unless the content and information is different. By promoting these videos correctly, you’ll reach potential customers who are in the market for that specific vehicle or brand, and engagement should increase if you post videos regularly.
Instagram is another great social media marketing tool that is often misused. I’ve followed, and have been followed by dealerships who post nothing but non-native content. Photoshopped pictures that the brand provides is all that’s being posted, which then raises the following question; you’re a car dealership, don’t you have cars that you can take professional pictures of and then post on Instagram to get the maximum amount of likes possible? Even if you’re not willing to pay a photographer, isn’t there a current employee who is capable of taking pictures that, even if they’re not perfect, look better than fake photos of cars that aren’t even on your lot?
It all comes down to effort. Ho much time and energy are you willing to put forth to see results from social media marketing? You’re not going to see results overnight, which is why you need to be persistent in the content you provide. Some of you have over 100 cars on your lot and multiple models depending on the brand you’re selling, which means you have endless amounts of content to post and create. The automotive industry is probably the best and easiest business sector to create content for, especially if you have a passionate social media marketer behind the scenes.
The real issue at the end of the day is that the automotive industry as a whole is outdated and old. There’s not enough young people getting involved in the marketing and advertising department of dealerships, and as a result, car dealerships might just be the worst users of social media platforms. By not hiring young social media marketers, you’re going to miss out on an entire generation of consumers. Even older generations are hopping on the social media train, so by not effectively communicating to potential customers in your area, you’re missing out on sales and the ROI that you put into social media marketing.
Social media isn’t a get rich quick scheme. It’s a platform that you have to be committed to, similar to friendships and relationships, it’s a two-way street. By not posting consistently, your followers and or potential customers will not take you seriously and move on to another dealership. How bad do you want sales, and are you willing market tirelessly to see the results you’re looking for? The decision is yours, but realize that there are dealerships who are effectively marketing on social media, and they’re ready to take your business from you.
Mike Cerra is a social media marketer in the automotive industry, serving the Boston area. If your dealership is in need of social media services, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.