Dealers Shouldn’t Fear Social Media
(This is the third in a series of articles on change in the used-car industry.)
Previously, we wrote about why dealers shouldn’t fear technology and new ways of sourcing used inventory. Another thing we’ve noticed while interacting with dealers across the country is that many do not have an active social media presence.
Dealerships range in all sizes and comfort levels with technology, so it’s understandable that some feel they don’t need to be on social media. Others might see the potential benefit but are not yet ready to commit the time and resources to create and maintain robust social media accounts.
Here are some common reasons why dealers aren’t on social media:
- Demographics – “Social media is just for kids.”
- Feasibility – “Nobody buys a car based on social
- Time – “We just don’t have the time to do it.”
- Past Experience – “We tried it once and it
- Commitment – “It’s too much work to sustain.”
- Exposure – “It will open us up to attacks and bad reviews.”
Let’s address each one of these individually:
- Demographics – 87% of online users age 18-29 are
on Facebook. Seniors make up the fastest-growing group of Facebook users. 63% of adults aged 50-64 are on Facebook. Sure, other social media platforms skew younger, but being on social media is now a globally accepted norm. On Twitter, 37% of users are between 18 and 29, and 25% are 30-49 years old.’
- Feasibility – A 2015 study of 2,000 car buyers and 2,000 service customers by Digital Airstrike showed that 75% of car
buyers and 68% of service customers say internet research – including social media – was the most helpful medium to them when selecting a car dealership. In contrast only 16% of respondents said the dealership website was most helpful. A 2014 CMO Council report showed that 23% of car buyers used social media to communicate about a recent purchase experience, and 38% of consumers said they’ll consult social media the next time they purchase a car.
- Time – New tools like ExportPro™ can help automate social media posts by scheduling the right mix of inventory and content to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, freeing you up for other tasks. Just like online tools that automatically post your inventory on eBay, it takes some time for initial setup, but minimal time to maintain.
- Past Experience – Just like a one-time ad buy won’t necessarily bring in business right away, a brief foray into social media won’t do it either. However, sustained campaigns can raise your dealership’s visibility and keep your name top of mind when the consumer is ready to purchase.
- Commitment – If you visit a business’s social media page and see they haven’t posted anything in weeks, months, or years, you might wonder if they’re still around. Social media will require a long-term commitment, but hopefully, you’ll see enough return on your investment to make it worthwhile.
- Exposure – Guess what? Customers are going to write about you and review your business whether you’re active on social media or not. We recommend actively monitoring social media platforms (and review sites like Yelp) for mentions of your dealership so you can respond to both positive and negative comments in a timely manner. Having your own social media accounts also provides ways for customers to contact you directly, rather than just putting their thoughts out there on the internet for all to see.
We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention that social media should be incorporated into your overall marketing strategy, including online ads and retargeting. Facebook ads are relatively inexpensive compared to other mediums, and let you target very specific demographics. 66% of car buyers who saw an automobile ad on Facebook clicked on it.
Just like any new process or system, it may take a while for your dealership to become proficient in social media but the rewards are worth it. Reach out to your customer base and the next generation of car buyers (millennials and Generation Z) through social media. If you don’t, your competitors certainly will. In our next article, we’ll discuss why dealers shouldn’t fear cloud computing.