Five steps to social media success
For car dealerships – and indeed, businesses in all industries – social media is no longer considered a nice-to-have; it’s now an essential part of the marketing mix.
Having a strong presence across several platforms – from Facebook to Twitter and Instagram – has many advantages for dealerships. These channels allow you to show off your stock, interact with customers and prospects, and drum-up interest in your company. They also enable you to keep people up-to-date with promotions and offers, as well as show your brand’s ‘human side,’ which can reassure potential customers.
Writing for AM-online, Debbie Krew shares some social media best-practice tips from the experts.
Here are five of them:
1. Search outside of the sector
When dealers want to improve areas like customer service and digital, they regularly seek inspiration from outside of the industry. This should be the same for social media; see what your competitors are doing but also businesses in other industries, as you might find ideas you can adapt and apply to your strategy.
2. Define your audience
“At the heart of the strategy is your audience,” acknowledges Julia Hutchison, client partner at content marketing agency Headstream. Yet, knowing your target audience is one thing; identifying how they engage with and use various social channels is another.
Hutchison explains: “It is best practice to begin by identifying and understanding all potential audience groups […] This insight can establish an audience focus through the development of detailed personas of priority customer segments, using both demographic and psychographic data.” Dealers need to identify the main social channels based on audience data and create marketing plans with these insights in mind.
3. Support social with other channels
Social media must form part of a larger marketing strategy, supporting other platforms and objectives to improve the chance of achieving a desired outcome – whether that outcome is increasing visits to your website or generating more car sales.
Managing director of PR agency Escapade, Lynne Goddard, noted: “Social media doesn’t work in isolation, it has to be part of the bigger picture and you need to understand how everything fits together and how different elements influence each other."
4. Measure results
Are you targeting the right people through each channel and engaging them? Are you successfully encouraging users to visit your website and buy from you? Are customers saying positive things about your company? These are just some of the many questions you need to ask when measuring the impact of your social efforts.
While most brands don’t have a rigorous approach to measuring social media content, Hutchison said that having KPIs in place encourages companies to “implement processes to ensure social media content continues to reflect changing platform and audience behaviours and ultimately delivers for the brand.”
5. Content remains king
Gaining valuable insight into your target audience allows you to develop an effective content proposition, says Hutchison – “It guides, creates focus and ensures you are creating content relevant to your audience themes and goals.”
You can share the same message across channels, but it needs to be tailored to suit each platform – keep things short-and-sweet on Twitter and utilise hashtags on Instagram, for instance. Goddard added: “You need to think about content constantly and continually review your material to ensure you are keeping customers engaged.”