Trouble is, for a long time now, auto dealerships didn’t engage social media in that game-changing light. They focused only on themselves, concentrating their outreach on promoting inventory and generating leads.
This quickly proved ineffective. Dealers lost the few Twitter followers and Facebook friends they had out of disinterest; and once lost, most had no idea how to re-engage their followers.
But a new view of social media is finally emerging among dealers, one that is much more in sync with the reality of why individuals invest themselves in social media in the first place. They’ve come to understand that social media outlets are not places to troll for leads. Instead, they are places to cement existing relationships and create trust and goodwill.
Put another way, don’t use your social media accounts to look for new customers; leverage it as a way to get closer to those who have recently purchased from you. These folks have already made an investment in your business. They’re open to new reasons to come back— for service, for advice, perhaps even an additional vehicle.
Video Steps In
To do all that, you need your Facebook page or Twitter account to be a valuable place your customers come to again and again. And that means offering content that not only deals in their interest, but also is appropriate coming from a dealership.
If people want to be entertained, for example, there is no shortage of Web sites that offer an amusing picture or funny story. What they want from you is information and support that is commensurate with the very expensive purchase they made at your establishment.
This is where video comes in. Video has the power to convey information faster than any other form of communication. It can introduce your staff, it can inform, it can disarm. In as little as 30 seconds it can show that you put your customers first—which is what people want most.
So what kinds of videos should you make? Here are some ideas taken from actual dealer presentations:
- “Unknown” features of your new car that you won’t find in your owner’s manual
- How your car differs from those made five years ago—or even last year
- A short history of the dealership, told by the owner or general manager
- All the free things your dealership offers customers, from clinics and car washes to email service reminders
Don’t feel your social media videos have to be polished or glitzy. People want content, not production values. Short videos (2 minutes or less) that are worth your customers’ time will far outperform expensive, professionally produced mini-documentaries.
What is important, however, is the involvement of your senior staff. Your customers want to know that you value their social media time. Pushing your social media assignments onto junior employees will give the impression you don’t care. Get your managers involved—and even encourage them to generate ideas and post entries themselves.
Viewed in the context of a social media strategy designed to inform, adding a video-based inventory application to your Facebook page now becomes appropriate. The more advanced vendors in the space include this option as an add-on to their inventory video services.
Along with video, be sure that your entire vehicle inventory is represented with vehicle information and lead generation tools. You can actually have your vehicle video inventory available as a tab of your Facebook page—this will ensure that your vehicle lineup is effectively merchandised when your followers are ready to shop for a new vehicle.
The bottom line is, if you can get your existing customers to follow you in social media by dealing in their interest, you’ll be more top of mind than through any other channel. Nothing—not email, newsletters, direct mail, even TV advertising—has the power to engage like social media. Bringing video into your social media toolkit will improve your power to connect with your customers, and bring more business long-term.