Category Archives: Business

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Social Media Marketing – You’re Posting Content But Not Taking It Seriously

Marketing, the lifeblood of business is one of the pillars that keeps small and large companies alive. Without it the target markets that would benefit from the products and services you provide would never be reached, leaving hundreds, thousands, and millions of consumers without a tangible good that would better their daily lives. For years, marketing and advertising came in the form of newspapers, radio, television, billboards, and more recently SEO, websites, and email. Ask a number of businesses how important marketing is, and they’ll say without a doubt that it’s vital to their success. So why isn’t social media marketing taken as seriously as traditional forms of advertising, and why aren’t businesses experimenting with the different forms of content they’re posting on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube?

Having spent the last few years helping businesses in the automotive industry be more effective on social media platforms and getting sales through those channels, there’s nothing I haven’t seen nor heard that would surprise me pertaining to poor marketing on social media. The automotive industry is old school to the core, especially car dealerships. From the business model to how they advertise, car dealerships are operating as if it’s 1999 rather than 2017. With that being said, they’re not sure where to begin on social media and ultimately resort to what worked prior to the existence on Facebook and other platforms.

The lack of thoughtful content, in conjunction with promoting the wrong posts has led the entire car dealership segment down the wrong path, to a point where not one dealership differentiates itself from the rest. Content that is regurgitated from the corporate brand, non-native content, and irrelevant posts that don’t draw in sales litters these companies’ Facebook pages. It should be noted that this isn’t the dealerships’ faults, but actually the lack of progress being made in providing effective and modern marketing methods to the automotive industry.

Social media marketers stay clear of offering services to car dealerships because they have to be much more involved when it comes to the daily creation of content, and the vast differences in advertising methods that require knowing the product and the consumer. If there’s no help coming from marketing firms, car dealerships will have to look internally to increase exposure, engagement, and more importantly sales.

From a pure consulting role, my first piece of advice is to take social media marketing seriously. Yes, social media is more than just posting pictures of the food you had for lunch or sharing statuses about your favorite sports teams; it’s a very important advertising channel that must be utilized. Right now many dealerships aren’t on Instagram, they’re not creating high quality content on Facebook or any other platforms, and they’re not advertising with a purpose to sell cars. Now is the time to use a blueprint that works, draws in attention, grows a following, and leads to sales.

Once you’ve reached a point where you’re going to be dedicated to social media, now the fun begins. Facebook and Instagram are more than just platforms to run advertisements; they can be used to share high quality content that informs, persuades, and draws customers into buying a particular car at your dealership, and not somewhere else. Short 1-2 minute videos that fully detail the car being showcased such as price, specifications, fuel consumption, and performance will not only give the potential car buyer a virtual walk around tour, but your videos will help them immensely during the buying process. With these videos you then target the ideal car buyer through the use of Polk Data that Facebook provides, and now you not only have effective advertising, but have content that will grab the attentions of the people you targeted.

On Instagram photos and videos, along with advertising will help spread awareness of your dealership and the cars you provide. Having a few sports cars on your inventory can be used to your advantage, as car enthusiasts have a large community on Instagram, and are always looking for an upgrade. Being a part of the local car scene in Massachusetts, I know exactly where to find the right buyer on the picture and video oriented platform and also have the listings reach potential car buyers through my network.

YouTube and Twitter are really optional platforms depending on what your primary goal is for social media marketing. In my eyes the more platforms you’re on, the better. YouTube is ideal for longer, more in-depth videos that explain and outline everything the car offers, whereas Twitter isn’t known for being car dealership friendly which means more time and dedication is needed to see any results from that platform.

At the end of the day, the point of social media marketing is to increase sales. It doesn’t matter what your primary social media marketing platform is, as long as you’re the best at advertising and creating content in your area. Dealerships are still operating as if it’s the 20th century, which leaves you with the perfect opportunity to take advantage of their lack of vision, and snatch customers away from them. Social media marketing is very powerful and vital to car dealerships, and would be a big mistake not to use Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to your advantage.

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Digital Media Marketing – Enhancing Your Social Media Presence

When we think of car dealerships on social media, non-native content, links to articles related to the car brand the dealership is selling, and copy and pasted reviews from DealerRater dominate their Facebook pages. On Instagram, most car dealerships stay away from the platform, post sporadically, and if they are posting throughout the week the photos are usually from the brand itself. The blame cannot be pinned on the dealerships, but in fact the marketers. There’s a marketing disconnect and hopefully this article helps bridge the gap by providing a different way of thinking to help enhance the social media presence that car dealerships have.

In the 21st century the automotive industry relies heavily upon visual content, whether that be television commercials, photos, or videos by car magazines on YouTube. Car dealerships get a small piece of the digital media marketing pie, as companies rely upon the brand to supply them with commercials in their local areas. Rarely do dealerships create their own videos, photos and online commercials, and the ones who do are experiencing more engagement, reach, leads and sales.

For the automotive industry, digital media marketing is a separate entity from social media marketing. While car dealerships occasionally create Facebook ad campaigns, they’re not implementing 1-4 minute videos that can inform, educate, and alter consumers’ car buying decisions. Facebook ads alone are ineffective, as they don’t provide any value or reasons for consumers to purchase the cars the dealership is selling. Through digital media however, the results companies desire can certainly be achieved if they’re committed and dedicated to the long term success of social media marketing.

It is important to note that social media marketing isn’t an overnight solution or a free one. Money has to be spent to reach large groups of car buyers in the local area, as Facebook and Instagram algorithms have made it difficult to grow a following or customer base organically. On the flip side, Facebook does provide us with Polk Data that targets and pinpoints ideal car buyers who are in the market to purchase a new or used vehicle. Not only that, but we can also target people who are in the market to purchase a specific brand (i.e. Toyota) and type of vehicle (sedan, SUV, pickup etc).

Where digital media marketing comes into play is when you want to sell 2017 Toyota Camry’s to make room for the 2018s. You create one minute videos that briefly go over features, specifications, and price. The reason you want one minute videos is because they can also be posted to Instagram and Twitter, which maximizes the content’s effectiveness and reach. I’d do this for every trim of the Camry to be informative and educate car buyers on the differences between them and their prices. Add social media marketing ad campaigns and now you have a dealership that’s on every social media platform, posts high quality content daily, and informs and persuades car buyers to purchase not only the brand their selling, but buy a car from their dealership. Besides the creation of high quality digital media content, social media marketing becomes effortless, and at the end of the day you just go the competitive advantage on all the dealerships in your area.

Car dealerships need help on their social media pages, and marketers just want to run ad campaigns. The gap needs to be bridged, and I don’t see that happening any time soon unless marketers start providing digital media content. The automotive industry is very competitive, and right now a relatively strong economy is making it harder for dealerships to differentiate themselves from their competition. Digital media marketing can provide that, and with effective social media ad campaigns, you’ll begin to see the ROI, the growth in leads and sales, and the impact your dealership is having on car buyers through the content you’re posting.

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“Why Should I Buy Or Lease A Volvo Instead Of A Jaguar?”

It’s an interesting question, one in which many Volvo dealerships would never ask themselves. The same question can be asked if the roles were reversed. Why should I or anyone buy or lease a Volvo, Audi, Mercedes Benz, or BMW instead of a Jaguar? Car dealerships across the country are great at trying to sell you a car, but they’re not so great at convincing you to buy the cars they have on their lots. Instead of being the primary source of information and answering consumers’ questions through great content on their social media accounts, car dealerships let car magazines and independent automotive journalists shape and influence consumers’ buying decisions. That’s a mistake.

Depending on what your personal buying preference is, leasing is becoming an option for car buyers who want to drive luxury cars rather than getting stuck with a Toyota or Honda that they may not like. Thanks to leasing prices, Volvo and Jaguar can actually be cross shopped which was unthinkable a year ago. The Volvo S60 T5 and the Jaguar XE 25t and XE 35t are within the same monthly payment range, giving consumers yet another choice to make in the compact sedan luxury car market.

What are car dealerships doing to attract consumers to the brand they sell? Nothing. If I’m the social media marketer for either a Volvo or Jaguar dealership, I’m creating videos and high quality photos that can be shared on all social media platforms. Through this content, I’d provide information on features, specifications, fuel consumption, lease prices, and MSRP for the consumers who’d prefer to buy. Instead of mentioning the rival brand and what they offer, the goal of the content being created is to sell car buyers on the S60 or XE before they walk through the dealership’s doors.

By using effective advertising campaigns, with a little help of polk data provided by Facebook, I can target potential Jaguar and or Volvo car buyers who are in the market to purchase a vehicle. With the one minute high quality videos that I produced, I’d get peoples’ attentions which will ultimately lead them to the dealership’s inventory page. More importantly, those one minute videos can be shared to Instagram and Twitter as well to maximize the reach and effectiveness of the content.

Not only is having an advertising budget important, but finding ways to reach as many people as possible organically is a must. Which is why posting content that fits on all platforms, guarantees its success rate.

Car dealerships don’t spend time creating content or try attempting to play a role in consumers’ buying decisions. One piece of content that answers car buyers questions could be the difference between them buying a Volvo or Jaguar. Another aspect of using high quality content and effectively advertising it on social media is that you gain the upper hand on the dealership who sells the exact same brand 30 miles away. That advantage is crucial, not only because you’re going to be the Volvo or Jaguar dealership car buyers flock to, but that video you shared could determine what brand the car buyer chooses.

As a car enthusiast, on paper the Jaguar XE appears to be the better lease offer. I get into a much more prestigious brand, if I choose the XE 35t I also get more horsepower, and the exterior and interior styling would certainly garner attention and get looks. With that said, there’s the chance many consumers who would lease their next car feel the same way. That’s why it would be in the Volvo dealership’s best interest to create content the sways and alters a purchase decision. No matter which side of the brand spectrum you are on in this particular case, the answer is clear. Produce great content that informs and persuades car buyers to purchase to lease from your dealership, and not the rival brand down the street.

Social media marketing is crucial to increasing sales. By not having a presence on Facebook, Instagram, etc, you’re letting car magazines and YouTubers determine what consumers buy. Be the primary source of information and take advantage of the tools social media has to offer. When it comes to car sales, you can’t afford to be the second or third option.

Email: mikecerrasmm@gmail.com
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Car Dealerships – The Formula To Selling Vehicles On Social Media

In the automotive industry social media marketing, for the most part, is an after-thought for many car dealerships, whether individually or franchised owned. Not only is overlooking social media as a viable advertising and sales outlet detrimental, it’s costing your dealership a lot of money. Pass by a dealership over the course of a week, two weeks, a month, and take notice at what cars aren’t leaving the dealership’s lot. Then search for their business on social media platforms, and if they do have existing accounts, nine out of 10 times the Facebook page hasn’t been updated in months, and in some instances years. It explains why good, dependable cars aren’t selling, despite being affordable and with a clear CarFax.

Lack of a social media presence is just one of the main ingredients to weak sales. Without someone at the helm, there’s no Facebook ad campaigns which means there’s no reach. Without good digital media content that informs customers on what features come with the vehicle in the pictures or videos that are being posted, how are sales going to be generated from social media?

A struggling car dealership nearby has $700,000 worth of vehicles sitting on the lot and some of the cars have been their since the summer. I don’t proclaim to know everything, but inventory that isn’t being moved in a relatively short time is neither good for the dealership, nor is it good for the business’ perception and brand as potential customers may question the reliability of the cars being sold. They need a solid social media marketing strategy that gets results, because traditional forms of advertising has failed this business. What should be the first course of action for this particular dealership?

If I walk in Monday, the first objective is to start creating content. Without content, there’s nothing to advertise on Facebook, which means no one will click or engage, making the ad campaign a complete waste of time and money. The first car that would get posted is the one that’s most likely to get sold. Because this dealership sells Toyotas among other brands in their pre-owned only inventory, I’d start taking high quality photos and make quick walk around videos so potential customers get a virtual look.

Once the content is created, I’d spend time working on ad campaigns that effectively reach and target customers in the market for a pre-owned car. Within this target audience, I’d then include car brands that customers would cross shop with the vehicle in the photo or video being promoted. By doing this, you’re reaching the entire market, possibly swaying customers to purchasing the vehicle at this dealership. With this ad campaign, the final destination would be to the dealership’s website, but more specifically, the web page this particular vehicle is being sold on. Now all traffic sees the vehicle, it’s price, and it’s CarFax, simplifying the customer’s buying process.

There are different avenues that can be taken in reaching customers through Facebook ads. It ultimately comes down to what your primary goal is. Do you want web traffic or Facebook likes? Interested car buyers or serious customers who will be purchasing a car very soon? Advertising on social media for car dealerships is rather simple, it’s the work that’s required in researching your target audience and creating content where commitment and consistency is needed that dealerships aren’t willing to put in. It’s that lack of effort and work ethic that can be attributed to poor car sales and inventory not being moved.

Facebook is your greatest asset for social media marketing, but that doesn’t mean you focus on just one platform. Instagram should also be taken seriously, as ad campaigns that are created can also be posted on the picture and video content dominated social media app. Digital media marketing is the present and future, and if you’re not using social media, you’re playing a significant role in the slowing of car sales for your dealership. Get serious and committed; hire someone if necessary. In 2017, it’s a must to use social media marketing if you want to see sales growth this year.

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The Days Of A Generalized Approach to Social Media Marketing Are Over

A week into the new year, many marketers have written articles, posted tweets, and have created videos talking as if social media is cheating them out of reaching consumers. Non business related YouTubers have even taken a break to “reassess” how they can navigate the new algorithms that YouTube has implemented. Unfortunately for these YouTubers and social media marketers, they’ve become the first victims of a new era in social media. The days of being a generalist, promoting generic content, and not differentiating themselves from the competition are over, and what new algorithms have effectively done is weed out the weak marketers and content creators.

To succeed in 2017 on social media platforms, you’ll have to think differently, communicate with your customers, provide valuable content in digital form, and go further than anyone else in your industry. What we’re witnessing is the localization of marketing, along with social media marketers’ waning dependency on holistic advertising strategies. There was once a time where marketing and advertising was very straightforward and could be applied to all industries. The creation of slogans, television commercials, radio and newspaper ads were the blueprints to old school marketing. Today in 2017, what works for a marketer whose clients provide services, may not work for someone in retail.

As a result of the changes that social media platforms made in 2016, there’s now older marketers who jumped on the social media bandwagon, made money, and are now facing adversity. They didn’t innovate or pay attention to the direction the market was heading and instead of fixing the problem, they’re now trying to influence and promote the idea that social media marketing doesn’t work. In fact, an article came up on my newsfeed advocating for email marketing. I witnessed the downfall of email marketing gurus in 2012-2013, and because they failed to change they’re now irrelevant and no longer posting content.

Traditional advertising was great prior to technology, and now that social media platforms are growing, there now has to be new approaches to tackle those changes. There’s no need to look back when the answers to the problems are right in front of us. The truth is that social media marketers all have to choose a niche market and become experts in that field, as opposed to being experts at social media. So if Sarah is an expert at automotive social media marketing, and John is a master of marketing for the house/remodeling industry, they’ll see better results than a generalist who tries taking on both industries.

Social media and the internet has altered our entire lives. From how we communicate, to where we shop, our daily lives and what businesses thrive are now coming down to localization. The small stores down the street have a chance to compete with corporations, and people can talk with others who have the same interests that live in their area and from there, build a community. Social media platforms are just a small part of what changed in 2016, and now that we’re beginning to see it with our own eyes, there are old school thinkers who can’t handle the direction the business world, and even socialization itself has gone in.

Whether you’re a social media marketer, a business owner, or manager, specialized exerts in social media marketing is the future. Colleges still teach generalized marketing, and as a result, there’s a lack of professionals who’ve become experts in a niche market. If you want to see results and sales in 2017, you need to find talent that knows your market. Generalized marketing is slowly beginning to die, and the rise of marketers who understand the target consumer audience they’re selling to are becoming more successful on all platforms.

Are you going to be remembered as social media’s casualties in 2017, or you going to follow the direction the market is heading in, and separate yourself from the old school way of thinking?

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Don’t Treat Social Media as a Bulletin Board – But Rather a Marketing Platform

The theme of the past few articles has been to look forward to 2017 as a new beginning, one in which the content that is being posted on your dealership’s social media pages is worthy of engagement and further action taken by the customer. There is no doubt that digital media will be at the forefront of social media marketing strategies for companies in all business sectors heading into the new year. For many in the automotive industry, the addition of digital media is not only a new concept for most dealerships’ marketing strategies, but will be crucial to increasing online sales.

When you visit dealership’s social media pages, primarily on Facebook, the timeline resembles a bulletin board. The links to third party sites that are irrelevant to the customer, along with posts that receive no engagement are like the papers tacked onto walls back in high school that you went by everyday to class, and maybe looked at once. You want future, present, and past customers, along with potential buyers to always come back for more, and be frequent visitors to your Facebook page, or accounts on other social media platforms. That traffic will eventually lead to referrals, as people who view, like, comment, and share your content are playing a role in the distribution of your brand and digital media.

The reason why digital media negates the effect of your Facebook page becoming a bulletin board is because it’s your own content. The pictures that you take and the videos you produce are not only eye catching, they’re informative, which is providing value to the consumer.

Most dealerships will post anything to see what sticks or gets the most engagement, and that’s why there’s no coherency to the timeline. You’ll see photos from the corporate brand, articles from Car and Driver, and even local news or events being posted sporadically. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being a part of the local community or creating posts that may not necessarily be the vehicles on your lot, but there needs to be a balance in terms of the content that you’re creating.

Digital media should always come first and be promoted to achieve engagement and interest, while also accumulating likes and followers. With customers’ attentions now on your dealership because you’re providing informative and eye catching content that motivates people to visit your showroom, you can then inject other forms of content that wouldn’t have received any viewership. For instance, sharing news about your dealership, upcoming events, and coupons for current customers when they bring their cars in for service. Many dealerships put the cart before the horse, which is why most social media pages end up being a list of posts with no engagement because there was no audience to begin with. There needs to be a reason for people to visit your social media pages if you desire seeing results.

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In the picture above, a local dealership promoted a preview of a video they shared on YouTube about a GMC they were selling. There were 2,000 views in less than a week, which was more traffic on that one video than they have likes on Facebook. The viewers attention is not only on that GMC, but the dealership that created that digital media. With that attention, the social media manager can now guide that audience in any direction he/she wants. In this case, driving traffic to the YouTube channel that has more than 4,000 subscribers. These followers and subscribers can eventually become customers as over time, the digital media that’s being created is going to motivate buyers to visit this dealership and purchase or lease that vehicle.

Think of each social media post as a bread crumb on a trail. Your objective is to lead customers in the direction of purchasing/leasing a vehicle, or at the very least, like, comment, or share the content you’re creating. Your followers have just as much power to bringing new customers to your showroom as the digital media you’re creating. So the thought process when diving into social media is that your content is persuading and driving people to react, whether that be engaging with your content, visiting your showroom, or being moved to make a purchase.

Social media platforms should be treated with excitement. Instead of being the traditional dealership that just throws out hard selling copy or irrelevant content, you’re producing high quality digital media that makes an impact, and that’s why social media marketing is so unique when it comes to advertising.

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The Auto Industry Is Old, But The Marketing Strategy Shouldn’t Be

Throughout the decades, there have been industries that have stood the test of time despite the changing in technology that has closed many businesses over the years. One essential business sector, the automotive industry, shows absolutely no signs of going extinct as transportation is a major part of our lives in the 21st century. With that being well known, what isn’t so obvious is how marketing on the local level for cars hasn’t changed in decades. While websites like eBay Motors and CarFax have added a new dimension to sales, car dealerships are still operating as if it were the 1990’s.

We could sit here and speculate as to why the industry hasn’t changed over the years, but the lack of qualified millennials in key positions is a possible variable that shouldn’t be ignored. Yes, car salesman are beginning to get younger and car dealerships have made great strides in hiring experts on the brand of vehicles they sell. However, that’s still not enough to revolutionize the marketing behind car sales. Brand experts don’t market, in fact dealerships are using such a term because “car salesman” creates a bad perception that reflects poorly on dealerships that want to be friendlier with customers and not push a quick sale.

A revamped marketing strategy that hires committed employees or freelancers, depending on the size of the dealership’s franchise, is a must in the 21st century. It’s not enough to add someone who is familiar with marketing; you need enthusiasts who are passionate about vehicles, no matter what brand you sell. These enthusiasts will be your best marketers, and well worth the investment of time and money as their vision for content curation, along with their social media savviness will outperform the most experienced person on your staff.

You’re probably asking why should we hire car enthusiasts, and how will our marketing change in the hands of a millennial? To start, car enthusiasts who are also marketers know exactly what turns a potential buyer on. Digital media, through the forms of video and pictures is the future to car buying as YouTube has completely changed the game in terms of introducing vehicles and brands to customers of all demographics. Car and Driver magazines used to be relevant, but today, customers in the market for a new car, go straight to YouTube for reviews on the models they’re looking for. Why not get in on the action and create the content yourselves? That’s where the car enthusiast/marketer comes into play.

Millennials are well aware that social media is a powerful tool in generating interest, and enticing potential customers to walk through the door. Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are the three major weapons that should be in car dealerships’ arsenals. Facebook provides a blog-like structure where updates in text or digital media form can be created. Instagram is where high quality pictures draws the interest of the viewer to follow your account and check out your website. YouTube is the flagship where your best content is created. Here car reviews, walk arounds, previews, and unveilings are all posted, and by tying the video producing platform with other social media channels, your marketing efforts have been fully upgraded where anyone, even those who reside in other states, are being reached by your content.

Most importantly you must stay consistent with posting, which is why hiring an enthusiast/marketer is the key to having a successful marketing strategy. Far too many dealerships post sporadically, while others who stay active see the most ROI and engagement.

In 2017, make sure your dealership(s) joins the 21st century and starts marketing in the year that we live in. Car sales happen every day due to the necessity that vehicles bring, but wouldn’t you like to increase those sales figures in the 1st quarter of the new year? Now is the time to take advantage of what millennials have to offer, especially those who are knowledgable in the business sector your dealership is in. Social media offers great opportunities to grow your franchise’s brand, and it would be foolish not to implement it into your marketing strategy.