Tag Archives: content

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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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The Power of Digital Media – The Chain Reaction

In my previous articles I’ve talked about the importance of digital media, knowing your audience, finding cost efficient social media marketing strategies, and mapping out a game plan to tackle social media platforms. Now let’s talk about the most overlooked variable that comes with digital media when posted on Facebook; the chain reaction. To understand the effect of a chain reaction on Facebook, you need to pay attention to the analytics and see what form of content is receiving the most engagement and reach. More often than not, it’s digital media posted directly to your Facebook page, whether it’s native content or sharing someone else’s.

A like, comment, or share by one of your followers isn’t exclusively seen by you or that person who engaged with the content you shared, their Facebook friends did as well. Similar to how I discussed the ability to reach people by encouraging your customers to “check in” on Facebook when they do business with you, the engagement you’re receiving is also reaching others without spending money. This is why digital media is very important as high quality content has the tendency to go viral if it resonates with your audience, or in this case, customers.

Being a social media manager for automotive related Facebook pages, I’ve noticed that third party links to articles and YouTube videos that require an additional click to view receive very poor engagement rates. This happens because you’ve sent traffic to another site, and even though the content was relevant, if they share the link, it won’t be going back to your Facebook page. That’s why it disappoints me to see dealerships use links that don’t send traffic to their websites or social media accounts because they missed an opportunity to further expand their reach. If the content was posted natively, all forms of engagement by followers would then be seen by their friends, leading all traffic and further reach back to the dealership’s Facebook page.

Here are some examples of why digital media (even non-native) will always outperform third party links. As a side note, one dealership actively promotes and advertises while the other is complacent with endlessly posting boring content where the link doesn’t lead back to the dealership’s website or social media pages.

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    The difference in engagement is overwhelming. The Audi dealership shared a video that was posted directly to their Facebook page, and low and behold they got 24k views, 623 shares, and 116 comments. The reach on this one post was clearly in the thousands, possibly 100,000 or more as they have over 300,000 likes on their Facebook page. Digital media, along with ad promotions, brought awareness of the dealership’s brand to many people who probably never heard of the company. That’s the power of social media. Content can go viral.

    In contrast, the Hyundai dealership who has a following of over 8,000 received very little engagement. In fact after doing some digging, the only people who commented or liked were company employees or relatives of people who work at the dealership. The very minimal reach along with lackluster content had absolutely no effect as engagement was unacceptably low, especially with a following nearing 10,000.

    The argument can be made that the stark difference in number of followers can play a factor in overall reach. However, what can’t be denied is the fact that digital media garners a higher level of engagement. In terms of social media analytics, video and picture content provides more information on it’s effectiveness. With that being said, managers for these social media accounts can learn a lot from their customers and followers. From there, they can create a content system where digital media surrounding the vehicles the dealerships sells are the main focal point.

    To be successful on social media, you need an audience. Whether grown through ad campaigns or cost efficient marketing strategies where organic reach is of no expense, the content you share, native or third party, will fall on deaf ears and the message you’re trying to promote will be essentially invisible. Use digital media to your advantage, but also be smart by taking advantage of the tools Facebook and other social media platforms have to offer. You can achieve sales and results through social media, you just have to know your audience, understand what gets them to engage, and what will motivate them to walk through your showroom’s doors.

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Effective Social Media Marketing Starts With A Clear Message

Before social media, timelines, and news feeds, companies of all sizes could generate clear messages through email marketing, newspapers, and radio ads. The message was simple and direct, with the objective to get customers to visit an online store to purchase a company’s products, or promote a physical location to shop or visit. Today with social media marketing, many small businesses lack a consistent message because they either don’t post enough, or they post so often on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter that each status or tweet has absolutely nothing to do with the previous posting. Coherency and staying on point is a lost art in marketing, especially on social media, and the businesses that do stay consistent with their message, get engagement.

There are businesses among all sectors that struggle with sticking to one message. The companies that are succeeding have done an excellent job with defining who they are, whether that be the solo entrepreneur who knows his or her business and market completely, or leaders within a larger company that have instilled in the marketing department the culture and brand the business is expressing to their customers through social media. With that being said, what about the businesses that don’t have a clear message, and often deviate from being consistent by posting too many updates that don’t stay on point? Why are they struggling and can it be fixed?

The best examples of companies in major business sectors that are brutally awful at social media is automotive and real estate. Both industries have put so much effort into sales that they’ve completely forgotten that Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter aren’t necessarily selling platforms, but in fact marketing avenues that attract customers by enticing them, rather than pushing them into buying. Most notably in the automotive world, once you get to the dealership level, any semblance of good marketing is rare at best, and as a result, you get incoherent messages or posts that make no sense for the car selling business.

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A local Volvo dealership who usually posts sporadically throughout the year, must have gotten the urge to start posting around the holidays. But instead of actually promoting sales offers or cars on the new and used lots, the social media manager decides that sharing a YouTube video of two non street legal Volvos racing around a track in Sweden is relevant to customers interested in purchasing a Volvo. What is the message that the dealership wants to portray to past, present, and future buyers? If posting Car & Driver or MotorTrend articles are the basis of their social media strategy, they’ve failed at using Facebook as a viable platform to sell cars on.

These dealerships have vehicles that they know inside and out as they’ve been trained to sell them to people who walk in the doors. They know the specifications and price tags, but more importantly, they’ll be the first ones to receive new models. The message should be quite clear and if I was the social media manager, this would be my statement to the department. “Our mission is to sell cars, with that being said, we should create our own content surrounding the cars on our lots, and the service department that maintains customers’ vehicles and this should be the focus of our message”. Once the message is in place, then you can effectively market your business and products.

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Real estate, much like the car industry, is a very sales driven market. However, with social media now entering the picture, it appears that once hard selling companies have been forced to become friendly and informative, but they’re going about it the wrong way. In the picture above, Century 21 shared a link to an article about wall painting. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being informal, but what’s the message that they want to portray?

If selling property and houses are the main goal, why is painting walls relevant to potential buyers if they can get that information from Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Sherwin Williams? More importantly, renovation and updating the interior is the step after purchasing, which realtors wouldn’t be a part of. Technically, that’s not their role in real estate and it’s the contractors who would benefit most by sharing that article as it would be a message they’d want to promote on their Facebook page.

With the same mindset as the dealership, the social media manager has to come up with a clear message and build content around that message. “The goal is to sell houses, therefor creating content that’s beneficial to the buyer, whether that be through digital media or pictures, would be an immensely powerful tool to attract potential buyers to our realtor firm.” When it comes to social media, it’s all about the message. Once the message is set in place, then a strategy on content creating can be put in place.

Social media marketing is essentially the basis of your business’ mission statement. Why was your business created, who are your customers, and why would they choose you? The same questions can be applied to you social media marketing strategy. Once you get the answers, your message will be clear and effective. Until that point, you’ll never get the most out of your social media efforts.

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Instagram Has Become A Consumer-Friendly Platform: Which Is Good News

Three years ago, what was Instagram and Pinterest? What value did they bring to the consumer, and were they worth the devoted attention by marketers? Some would argue that Facebook was and is currently the primary focus, and that it should be. However, has Facebook reached a point where not only the advertising has lost its effectiveness, but that, combined with Facebook’s evolution to becoming the platform to discuss social, political, and religious issues has pushed consumers to other platforms? Absolutely. There has been a major shift to Twitter and Instagram, and with that brings bigger and better marketing opportunities for businesses both big and small.

What makes Instagram so different is that the picture is what draws people in, not the written text below. Hard selling is very difficult as putting out quality, native content is a number one priority that will make more of an impact due to great visual posts. On Instagram, the consumers come to you. By effectively using hashtags, you’re drawing customers in, but the ball is in their court, not yours. They have the power to choose whether they’ll follow and consume what you sell, and they’re the ones that are engaging with you, rather than you engaging with them. Facebook has become a push platform, where Instagram is at it’s best when you’re attracting customers.

Companies are now promoting their products with the use of great content, and in-turn, are now getting inquiries about prices and services by serious consumers. On Facebook, it’s become rare to see customers engage with companies in such an open manner, unless those companies are very friendly, open, and direct through the use of their content. Small businesses ranging from selling t-shirts to car services, are seeing results through the content they share. Visualization is key. The better the picture, the more engagement.

Instagram is also a platform where it’s a must to update on a regular basis; four, five, sometimes even six pictures a day aren’t enough. But it should be noted that you have a clear strategy when it comes to the distribution of your content as certain hours of the day work better than others. To some degree, Pinterest has a lot to do with Instagram’s growth and maturity as a social media marketing platform. Pinterest is essentially the visualized version of eBay and Amazon, and through that, a great quality of content has now shifted to Instagram.

Consumers have a desire to become “friends” with companies, and build a connection through the use of content. At the rate Facebook is going, advertisements along with boring content is repelling customers, which may eventually lead to Facebook becoming valueless to businesses in terms of selling products in mass volumes. Right now Instagram is one of the hottest social media platforms out there, and it would be a mistake to not use it to your company’s advantage.

Prepare to put out great content and engage with your followers. Social media is changing, and Instagram’s current setup is the direction social media marketing is heading. Visualization will be key to selling anything, so it’s time to make the switch and focus on other platforms that aren’t named Facebook.

Valuable Original Content

Lack Of Value Given In Blog Posts By Companies Is Absolutely Shocking

Blogging was once used exclusively by many people to get their voices heard and to give their 2 cents on any subject, business, product or sports team. Today with the continuous evolution of social media and the Internet, businesses of all sorts have hopped online to start distributing content of their own to either reach out to customers or inform them about the company, product, or industry news. What’s surprising is that 15 years into the new millennium, businesses of all shapes and sizes are still not putting out content that adds value to the consumer, nor does it draw them into buying the product they’re selling.

On numerous occasions I’ve seen company’s blogs either being used as a voice for an individual who works for the company, or they use blogs as a platform to distribute content that would have once been in a magazine that no one ever read. I might be coming across as harsh, but this is business, and without valuable and informative content that draws interest from consumers, there are no sales.

It’s shocking to see content being posted that is completely irrelevant to the current product these companies are selling. One article could have easily been written by an independent blogger, but I highly doubt they would have wasted the time to put out content that wouldn’t drive any sales, views, or subscribers. That’s what is so dangerous about lackluster content from all platforms by these companies. As a consumer, I see no value, and therefore I skim over it and continue scrolling down my Twitter or Facebook timeline.

Most people think it’s just Facebook ads, Google Adwords, or throwing money into some other Internet marketing tool that drives sales. In today’s economy people want something with substance, information they can believe in and trust, that assures them that they are making the right decision. It’s amazing to see that the leaders who oversee the distribution of content by these companies don’t see that. Independent bloggers who are close to the product, the company, or have a passion for the industry the business is in, are more likely to post quality content that brings value, than if these companies found somebody in-house. They may also know more about the product in some cases.

Whether it’s Facebook statuses, tweets, or blog posts, businesses and stores need to start putting out better content. Most are doing a great job, but in some industries there aren’t many who are outshining the competition. It would also be wise for these companies to start following and building some form of a relationship with the bloggers who are in someway driving sales and traffic to their websites. These bloggers have an extensive knowledge of these products, and their reviews and content that go along with that knowledge is invaluable.

Also in the age of social media, blogs and the influence that they have on their followers could lead to sales directly to the company because they’ve built trust. Businesses have a harder time building that trust, whereas content from fellow consumers is easier to believe and sympathize with.

It’s 2015. It’s time to start marketing and distributing content like the year we’re living in.

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When Is Subscription Based Content Really Necessary?

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If you’re a blogger, entrepreneur, or experienced professional in your niche market, when is it the right time to implement opt-in forms and pop up subscription ads to grow your following base? This question is brought up by a lot of novices, and even people who’ve blogged for a while want to know how to gain an upper hand on competition, or as Gary Vaynerchuck says, they’re looking for the right hook.

Being a follower of entrepreneurs and fellow marketers, how I subscribed to their content were all different. For some, it was through word of mouth and being recommended by friends or family to read articles from people who provided invaluable insight. Others, such as Gary Vaynerchuk, had such great content that they were willing to share without forcing readers to give e-mail addresses. This certainly made a lasting impression, as the quality of their content is what kept me coming back for more, and not because there was exclusive content offered. For the remaining few, I subscribed because there would be no other way to view their full content and insight.

I’m personally a believer in the idea of posting quality content that attracts readers and followers, and with that quality content, those readers voluntarily subscribe. As a reader who is hungry for knowledge, I’m turned off by the pop up opt-in forms, which is one of the reasons why I don’t go subscription based at this point in time with my own blogs. Anyone can add an opt-in form to their site, but very few are able to post content that is valuable to the consumer of that content. It’s one thing to get views, but it’s quite another to have that viewer continuely come back over a period of days, weeks, and months. It’s safe to say that a loyal follower who visits your site every day won’t need a subscription to learn of new content, unless you’re exclusively on YouTube.

Social media has certainly played a role in how people learn about a blogger or entrepreneur, as Facebook and Twitter have become the extended arm of a subscription button. While it’s nice that you have thousands of e-mail addresses on a subscription list, how many of those e-mail subscribers are opening and reading them?

This is why I’m more focused on quality content. The quality of my work is what’s going to drive traffic to my sites and social media accounts, and while I post on WordPress, the subscription tab is always there for people to voluntarily sign up for updates.

In the final analysis, I feel that the people who play the subscription card too much come across as a pushy marketer that consumers can’t stand. If you have insightful and quality content on your sites, you’ll have a more meaningful group of followers who are willing to interact, share, and recommend your content to their friends and family.