Pleading For Engagement – A Sign Of Weak Social Media Marketing

“Click the link”, “Check it out”, and “What do you think?” are just three of probably many phrases that social media managers use to try getting engagement from their followers and customers. Essentially pleading for responses is a sign of weakness, and is more of a reflection on poor content that you’re posting, rather than your followers reluctance to engage with your statuses. More often than not, posts with phrases or questions to bait followers into a response usually aren’t answered, unless your business or products attracts a broader audience where asking a question can lead to further understanding your customers.

Being a marketer in the automotive industry, I’ll be using examples from car dealerships, but you can apply them to your business sector, or the company your work for. Car dealerships are notoriously awful when it comes to social media marketing, and many customers I’ve talked to agree that they’re failing to attract them to new cars or brands. In recent articles I’ve discussed the need for digital media marketing, and why it needs to be infused in social media strategies for the automotive industry. This time, let’s take a look at the context behind poor content, and why dealerships continue to swing and miss.

A car dealership nearby shared a photo to promote their used car inventory. Despite using native content, the caption limited the picture’s effectiveness.

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“We have lots of pre-owned S60s in stock. Come on down and drive one….you’ll be glad you did!” The first question that comes to mind is, Why?” Why will customers be glad they test drove a pre-owned Volvo S60? There’s nothing enticing and no reason for someone to consider trading in their current vehicle for a newer one.

Having driven one, the comfortable interior that makes the driving experience more relaxing can rival the German brands. The S60’s turbocharged 5 cylinder engine that puts out 250 hp gives the driver some performance to have some fun on the road, while also retaining a decent combined MPG of 20 in the city and 29 on the highway. In addition to performance, the Volvo S60 provides a navigation system, and a unique dashboard design that resembles a waterfall, adding another dimension of luxury and styling.

The social media manager of this dealership tried creating an action to be taken by the followers, when in actuality it most likely did the opposite. The basis of effective marketing is providing benefits of the product you’re selling, and why the person you’re reaching must buy from you rather than the rival dealership down the street. Less than a mile down the road from this Volvo dealership is BMW, the car branded as “The Ultimate Driving Machine”. Because BMW’s corporate marketing is superior to that of Volvo’s, the dealership selling the S60s were already at a disadvantage, which is why providing any form of information or value to the consumer, would have been more beneficial than, “Come on down and drive one….you’ll be glad you did!”

Another example is from an Acura dealership. While they’re better than most at social media marketing, they completely missed with this piece of content for several reasons. On a side note, this isn’t the first dealership to post irrelevant non-native content to consumers, they’re just the most recent.

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What stands out first is the link itself, rather than the context of the post. The link leads to Business Insider and not the dealership’s website. By sending any traffic to another site besides your own, you risk losing that person, as their attention may never return. Once they click into the link, Business Insider could very well have interesting content that draws them in, which could lead that traffic to stumbling upon an article that’s titled, “Why Lexus and Infiniti Are Better than Acura”. Now you’ve lost potential customers forever.

More importantly however, it’s not likely an Acura NSX race car that will be participating in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona would resonate with Acura buyers. There’s no argument that a large percentage of this dealership’s clientele aren’t going to take their ILX, RLX, or TLX to a track anytime soon, if ever. The content is irrelevant and received only one like for obvious reasons. As I stated before, this dealership is better than most in the area when it comes to social media, but for others, these posts are shared routinely which alienates a number of consumers who would benefit more from digital media that explains and provides information on cars they’re interested in.

When it comes to social media, you can’t solve simple problems with complex solutions. A change in content by using digital media, along with providing value or information and in conjunction with effectively advertising, is the blueprint to getting customers on social media. Pleading for engagement or trying to get a response from your followers rarely works, and if you truly know who your clientele are, you’ll create content that hits the right tone and gets the reaction you’re looking for.

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