Brands sell and social media sells brands. Social media is the public square of the 21st century. It’s the venue in which we meet, joke, complain, disagree, laugh, and discover new information. This bustling public environment is a valuable space for an automotive business to enter into, but simply participating isn’t enough to deliver value to your business. If you want maximum return on your social media strategy investment, you need to set an effective strategy and avoid some common mistakes. Follow these rules to succeed with a social media campaign.
Rule 1: Your Business And Personal Accounts Should be Completely Separate
To begin with a social media strategy, don’t use your personal account to promote your business (and vice versa). Set up a separate profile for your dealership and draw a clear line between your business and personal pages. This is not only sensible—your business followers probably don’t want to see your vacation pics if they don’t have anything to do with cars and you don’t want to distract them with photos of cars you don’t even sell anyway—but also a necessity. Some social media platforms, including Facebook, will shut down an improperly categorized page.
When you do this, be sure you know which account you’re posting to before you put up anything potentially controversial or objectionable. Double check the handle you’re currently using or the page you’re currently posting to. Most social media platforms have an easy system for toggling between multiple accounts, but this ease of use can lead to mix-ups. Avoid falling into this trap by being careful with how you post and making sure that, even when you’re just rattling off some thoughts on your personal account, you always double check before posting.
Rule 2: Focus on Content Value
Simply delineating a business account isn’t enough to get your social media presence to work for you. As with any good social media campaign, everything you post needs to be shareable, interesting, and relevant to your audience. Plus, you’ll want to use social media as an opportunity to increase your search visibility and generally raise your online brand reach. So, instead of linking to an interesting news article about the realities of automotive safety recalls, you should write a blog post about it on your business’ website and post a link to that on your social media account.
But it’s not just that simple. The blog post you write should create additional value for your specific audience. So, if you’re talking about the recall of a specific vehicle you sell, you can talk about what assistance you’re offering to owners of that car. Doing this demonstrates your commitment to service and provides value that ensures your post will be the one your followers choose to read. Depending on the platform you’re using (Instagram and Facebook are both great for this specific type of promotion), you can even set up an ad campaign with a link to this specific post so you can reach even more people and drive even more traffic to your site.
Rule 3: Stay Consistent With Updates
Social media is a time-based tool, which means that everything you write is going to show the date and time you posted. If your business Facebook page consists of a couple of “new website coming soon!” type posts from five years ago, it would actually probably be better to just not be on social media at all. Infrequent posting makes your dealership seem out of touch or, worse, out of business.
This is an easy problem to solve. Just make sure you post regularly. If your audience feels they’re seeing your posts more often than their friends’, they’ll probably “unfollow” you. There are some great automation tools you can use to avoid the need to remember when you should and shouldn’t post to your business account. Scheduled posts, which allow you to create multiple posts at once and schedule them for publication hours, days, or weeks in advance, are ideal for avoiding long periods of silence on social media.
Rule 4: Provide a Better Venue for Customer Complaints
You want your followers to interact with you on social media, but you do not want them treating your every Facebook post or Tweet as an opportunity to air their grievances about a bad experience they had with your dealership. While some people do this as a default, others do it because they feel they don’t have any other recourse. If doors are slamming in customers’ faces after they try to reach you in person or on the phone, they’ll get even angrier and take their problems to social media.
You can delete their comments in most cases (though not all—Twitter doesn’t allow you to delete other people’s Tweets), but this isn’t really part of the scope of business social media best practices. It looks dishonest and makes it seem like you have something to hide. Plus, this can just make complainers even angrier. It’s best to try to prevent these people from getting to the “posting on social media” anger phase in the first place.
Reply to complaints with a contact email so you can discuss the matter further and an apology. If considering shoppers see that you’re forthright with the people who aren’t happy with your service, they’re more likely to see your business as honest overall.
They may also ignore the complaint, which is better than leaving the complaint as the only information they see. And make sure you’re interacting beyond merely responding to complaints. Answer questions, “like” clever or funny comments and build a direct rapport with the people who might choose to buy a car from you.
Social media marketing is just one facet of the total digital approach you can take to selling more cars and making more money. My webinars can help you get the total picture and switch your business into top gear.
Sean Cassy is the Digital Marketing Specialist and Co-Owner of Turbo Marketing Solutions. You can contact him by email here or reach him by phone every weekday at Turbo Marketing’s head office.