Odds are that as you’re reading this right now, your cell phone is within an arm’s reach. You grab your phone, turn it on and will probably have a social media app or two downloaded to your home screen. Since mobile phones are practically as essential as a house key, have you considered maximizing on those platforms to bring in new customers to your dealership?
Facebook statistics show that over 1.5 billion people use the social media platform every day. On top of that, over 2.3 billion use Facebook every month. With smart phones being so accessible, consuming content on social media has never been easier.
“If leveraged to its fullest potential, social media platforms have the ability to help create brand demand and awareness, solidifying you or your brand as an authoritative source,” said Gabriel Cruz, media development manager at HISUN Motors. “This theory will help bring more door-swings and, in turn, makes the consumer more comfortable and willing to do business with you.”
In the world of the Amazon Effect and instant gratification, how powersports dealers reach customers has become more complex, but it isn’t rocket science. Customers are using their phones to do research before a purchase that would have otherwise driven them to several different dealerships in the area.
“With the growing strong hold of digital platforms and media consumption in today’s society, it is important to make sure your brand is getting proper exposure by effectively leveraging these platforms to grow awareness among the consumers,” Cruz said. “You have the ability to tell a story to the consumer about your dealership and or brands you offer before they ever step foot in your dealership.”
In a Manifest survey of 529 small business owners, social media advertising topped other advertising channels including online, print, television and radio, because social media allows dealerships to build a stronger relationship with customers in comparison to traditional marketing methods.
“Social media doesn’t infringe on what the dealer is already doing,” said Rohit Pursram, CEO of Activation Inc. “It only complements the processes that are already in place.”
According to Ready2Ride, a marketing communication and automation company that helps businesses grow, there are five reasons why social media marketing is successful:
• Reach: About 70% of the U.S. population has at least one social profile.
• Time: Users spend an average of 50 minutes per day on social media, which calculates to about two years and three months over the course of a lifetime.
• Audience: Businesses are able to reach the right customers with audience targeting alternatives and effective direct response advertising channels.
• Metrics: Advertisers can track measurable metrics of each campaign to improve performance.
• Proven Results: Companies have seen a 35% increase in purchasing for customers who are Facebook followers versus non-followers.
At Ready2Ride, dealers can use one smart, connected platform to leverage marketing automation, A.I. and advanced analytics to send data-driven campaigns to social platforms to help dealers accomplish their own marketing goals.
“Our goal is to make the programs useful, user-friendly and not overwhelming for the dealer because it has to be easy; it needs to be easy, so dealers can focus on what they do best,” Pursram said.
Three steps dealers can take to reach those marketing goals include:
1. Creating Demand: By showcasing new models and products, social media platforms can specifically target customers in your area who are researching what’s new or are looking to buy.
2. Driving Interest: Share OEM promotions, deals on PG&A and service specials in your shop to bring that online customer through your doors. Frequent and regular posting helps build an audience and expand the reach of your brand.
3. Closing the Deal: Develop custom messaging based on customers’ needs from social media to help guide them toward a purchase. Follow up on comments, answer questions and create a dialogue to increase door-swings. After obtaining a lead, follow through with excellent customer service.
Opening communication builds a relationship and personalizes the buying process by allowing customers to interact and speak directly with the dealership and their staff through messaging and commenting outlets on each social media platform.
“Through the use technology and data, we help dealers connect with customers in a smarter way to increase revenue,” Pursram said. “We noticed that dealers are having trouble staying connected after a customer leaves the shop and we want to bring those customers back.”
Once a purchase is made, dealers should keep that line of communication open and direct customers back to the social media site, which brought them to the store, to follow and leave a review. By following your social media page, customers can get updates on sales, new inventory, service reminders, events and promotions happening at the dealership.
On the same note, asking a customer to leave a review helps others who are in the market for a new vehicle. Consumers today use reviews to lead them to purchasing decisions. Reviews are a great tool for dealerships to stay connected with customers by earning feedback on how others see their business, all while improving their ranking on search engines.
The goal for dealers is to get positive reviews, but negative reviews and how a dealership responds to them can lead to growth as well. Studies show that businesses who engage proactively with reviews, both positive and negative, are viewed as businesses who are authentic and care about their customers and their reputation. The engagement will personalize your dealership and encourage customers to choose you over the competition.
“It is extremely valuable for a dealer to stay in contact with a customer, and using social media makes it easy,” Pursram added.