Tag Archives: Digital Media

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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.

jaguar f-type svr

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.

Volvo S60 at Volvo Village Danvers

“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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Follow in Instagram: @mikecerra_

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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.

Lexus IS 350 F Sport

Car Dealerships – Customer Retention vs Customer Acquisition

It shouldn’t be this way, but for some businesses, customer retention takes precedence over customer acquisition. When you analyze a company’s behavior on Facebook, the content they share, the amount of ad campaigns they run, and their engagement and follower growth rates tells a lot about what their social media marketing strategy is. You’ll sometimes notice that businesses use social media platforms as if they’re personal accounts, being friendly and trying to retain already existing customers, rather than actively searching for new consumers to increase sales. This strategy is evident in the automotive industry, as car dealerships spend very little time seeking new customers, and would rather stand pat with the number of followers they have on their social media pages.

Car dealerships’ Facebook pages for the most part lack every important characteristic of a healthy business that sees sales through social media efforts. There’s no growth in likes or engagement, no ad promotions, lazy content curation, and a troubling lack of commitment and consistency to their social media accounts. The content that is shared is geared more towards current customers who already purchased a car recently, as opposed to potential car buyers who haven’t made a decision on which vehicle they’ll purchase next. When all put together, these ingredients create a perception that sales for car dealerships on social media is impossible, which is not the case as dealerships refuse to stick to or find a strategy that works for the clientele they’re marketing to.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with customer retention as customer equity is key to the long term survival and success of the dealership. The problem however is the fact that most car buyers aren’t likely to trade in for newer models until two or three years down the road at the earliest, so you’re banking on your content to retain the attention of your customers to your brand so they do return. How about creating content and ad campaigns that achieve both customer retention and customer acquisition? You’ll be appealing to more than one type of consumer, and while you’re drawing in clientele, you’re also retaining the customers who recently purchased a car from your dealership.

How can you change up your social media marketing strategy to see results in 2017? Create digital media, whether it be photos or videos of the cars you sell, and use ad campaigns to reach new people. Seeing as though Facebook and other social media platforms have changed their algorithms, organic reach has been limited, which means it’s a must to either boost your posts with $5 – $10 per day or create weekly ad campaigns to grow and expand your content’s reach and influence.

Dealerships primarily share non-native content, usually sharing links to car magazines or news organizations that review the brand’s vehicles, or news related to the cars that the dealership sells. This form of content isn’t effective and it’s quite clear when you look at the lack of engagement. Instead, post pictures and videos that provide value to consumers such as specifications of the car, safety features, fuel efficiency, while also displaying your vehicles in a good light. Car magazines aren’t biased, which means their reviews could lead customers to rival brands. It’s your job to sell potential car buyers on the cars you sell, not the magazine’s.

Ad campaigns then reach people who are in the market for a car if you advertise effectively and know your target audience. Sales can not be generated without marketing, and even though dealerships have been accustomed to marketing themselves on television and radio rather than the cars they’re selling, on social media both have to be the center of attention to acquire new customers on Facebook or other platforms.

A majority of car dealerships try retaining customers, and they’re failing at it. Be proactive and start actively searching for new car buyers. You cannot see any growth on social media by sporadically posting content on your accounts, and being uncommitted to this form of marketing. Social media marketing hasn’t been seen as a legitimate form of online sales, not because it doesn’t work, but car dealerships only stick to what they know best; television, newspapers, and radio ads. It’s time to market in the year that we’re living in, and treat social media the same way you do with traditional advertising. The time to increasing car sales is now, so change up your strategy on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and start seeing results today.

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Car Dealerships – Lack of Value On Social Media Is Inexcusable

This weekend the New England International Auto Show in Boston came to town, which offers great opportunities for consumers and social media marketers in the automotive industry. For sales representatives, walking around car brands and listening to what consumers are attracted to and the features they like can be used to the sale rep’s advantage in the showroom. When it comes to social media, the same listening tactics can be applied and the manager of the dealership’s accounts can begin creating content that attracts the attention of consumers. On my second day of the auto show, I stumbled upon the 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited, and what I learned about the car in five minutes can easily be translated into content to generate sales.

The 2017 Hyundai Elantra Limited starts just under $23k. Getting 29 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, this compact sedan offers great fuel economy for consumers who are looking to save at the pump. In terms of safety features, the Elantra offers lane departure warning systems, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot detection, and smart cruise control. For entertainment, you get a navigation system and an 8-speaker premium sound system to name a couple of features. While the particular model I sat in didn’t have powered seats, the little Elantra offered much more than I had expected.

After taking a look at the car, it dawned on me that no Hyundai dealership in my area brought any awareness to the fact that the Elantra Limited offered a long list of features, both for entertainment and safety. Instead of enticing and drawing interest into the vehicle, dealerships are complacent enough with their boring social media content that consists of links to Car Driver, local news websites, and even topics that have nothing to do with the cars they’re selling.

To be frank, this is inexcusable and downright laziness by dealerships because these vehicles are available according to the inventory websites. The content that can be created for the Hyundai Elantra Limited alone is limitless, and with a little creativity, the content that is being promoted can be interactive and fun for customers. A walk around video that takes the consumer on a virtual tour is one way to promote Hyundai’s strides in making the Elantra affordable, while also being technologically advanced. High quality photos of the interior, dashboard, and the navigation system will draw interest from your social media followers. Your follower’s engagement will further expand the reach of your content, which in turn could lead more potential customers to visiting your showroom and scheduling a test drive.

For the past few weeks, I’ve noticed that Toyota commercials are boasting that they offer safety features standard, and really playing the safety card while also being affordable. Seeing as though that the Toyota Corolla is a direct competitor to the Hyundai Elantra, it would be wise to start drawing consumers’ attention away from Toyota, and focus on Hyundai, who is a worthy candidate to overthrow Toyota’s reign on reliability. Remember, you’re not creating content for the sake of it; your primary objective is to increase sales, and there’s no doubt your sales reps would like a piece of the action. Toyota is beating your brand on the corporate level, but you can have the upper hand by striking directly at the local market in your area.

At the end of the day, what’s disturbing is that the Elantra is just one car of dozens that are being overlooked because they’re not marketed properly. There might be a car out there that offers everything the average car buyer is looking for, but car dealerships aren’t using social media to their advantage. That car may be on your lot, and instead of that vehicle getting sold, it’c costing you money each day it sits on your property.

Get serious about social media marketing. This isn’t your own personal profile where statuses that get no engagement have no negative impact. With each passing day of boring content you’re losing the audience you spent money on building. Create digital media content that grabs people’s attentions and start getting sales. You’re the one who can provide the value the customers are looking for. It shouldn’t be the car magazine’s job to create content, as they’ll overlook the features that resonate most with your customer base.

Get serious, get committed, and be consistent. Your hard work will pay off.

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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.