With marketing becoming personal, as social media has brought both consumers and companies closer than ever, I believe it’s time for those who pursue social media marketing in certain industries, to start interacting among the customer base they’ll be selling to. Recently, I had attended a Cars & Coffee, which I guess is the automotive version of a Wine Tasting event. Having observed the attendees and their behavior, now more than ever, my beliefs in using content over relentless advertising campaigns has been solidified. You can’t get away with a sponsored advertisement on Facebook and think you’ll get sales; it doesn’t work like that in the automotive industry.
The reason why marketers revert to advertising campaigns on Facebook for car dealerships is because they don’t know any other way to sell to consumers. These marketers haven’t attended Cars & Coffee events, which means they don’t know the thought processes behind the automotive consumer. Now I know what you’re thinking. “Everyone is not a car enthusiast”. I get that, however, people take pride in the vehicle they buy. Whether they’re deeply invested in their car or not, they are drawn to certain brands over others, and in 2015, they’re being influenced by YouTube videos and Instagram photos.
I encourage you to go on Instagram and see who is succeeding on this platform. You’ll be shocked to find 15 to 16 year old kids having 10,000 – 15,000 followers; they’re not Marketing Majors, but they have a strong sense of what the car lover wants. Visual content. Fifteen second videos and edited photos of vehicles are dominating Instagram, yet dealerships can’t seem to figure out how to achieve the same success. The auto industry as a whole has spent too many years hard selling, and as a result, marketers and advertisers transition that sell first mindset to social media platforms. That doesn’t work, especially with high school students beating well-respected dealerships to the punch on content.
I recommend to the social media marketers who want to make a quick dollar in advertising to car buyers, to attend Cars & Coffee events, along with International Auto Shows when they come to town. As a personal observation, it’s been made clear to me that not many, if any social media marketer has taken the time out of their lives to understand the market they’re getting themselves into. The best marketers who stand out among the rest are the ones who are fully engaged in the communities they sell to.
It’s not just marketers, but the sales representatives themselves. Consumers aren’t walking through the showroom doors confused and uncertain anymore. They no exactly what they want, and with tools and resources such as Edmund’s, they’re prepared to walk out without a deal knowing they can get a better price elsewhere. It’s time to stop being overconfident that Facebook advertisement can convert to car sales, and instead focus on a steady stream of native content that creates engagement and excitement.
Around 2011-2012, a wave of social media gurus enjoyed a few months and years of success, but where are they now? The next wave of social media marketers who will fail is coming, because ramming advertisement down consumers throats on social media platforms will force them to go to new platforms, where yet another group of advertisers will arise. Everything goes in cycles, and if we’re not careful we could turn off the consumer from buying a certain brand or going to a particular dealership, because the advertisement, along with boring content, provides no value to the customer.