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.