Your brand needs to stand out online. It needs to show a point of difference, value and top customer service. Social media is a great way to build a loyal and trusting audience, but it can also go very wrong. To enjoy a positive experience, try these 5 tips for your social media pages.
Complete your profile and state your point of difference. It sounds simple, though so many dealerships don’t take the time to complete the necessary details. Make sure you have a profile and banner image that reflects your brand. A lot of the time, banners will be generic campaign images that the manufacturer sends through. As nice as they may look, if you have someone a little bit creative in your dealership, get them to create something similar but personalised to your brand. They can do this by using a photo of your dealership, adding a value add-on that other dealers aren’t promoting, and perhaps adding the dealership name or location in any text rather than just the global brand name. The about us page or bio on any social media is vital. Fill this out with something useful and once again, state your point of difference.
ie. The Burton family who own Maitland Toyota use the fact they have been in the community for over 50 years, involved in many local groups and events and the fact they are multi award winners. By using this as their point of difference, they are not relying on vehicle price-points alone, but also their reputation and trust.
Use amazing images and video. Once again, sound simple, but so many dealers are using generic looking content. Make sure the person that looks after your social media pages has a camera. It doesn’t have to be the best and most expensive, just a decent DSLR camera. Take lots of dealership photos including people and areas that customers might recognise. For example, waiting areas and facilities, service staff, workshop technicians, the sales and guest experience team, new renovations, the front car displays, inside the showroom, the current used car lot, and the list goes on. Let your social media page visitors see what your dealership looks like and meet the team before they even arrive. Keep it casual. Don’t go posting corporate looking photos, social networks like Facebook and Instagram are best kept informal yet professional. Corporate and formal looking photos are best used on LinkedIn or your website.
With our attention spans decreasing by the minute, utilise video to get more across in a shorter time. No one wants to read too much on social media, stick with creative photos and videos that capture attention and increase engagement. Try making videos that show off your product or service, for example, create video testimonials, or a walk around video of a new model, or an informal chat with a new member of staff.
Regularly check your reporting. Knowledge is power when it comes to marketing on social media. Unlike television and radio, social media networks allow you to see who your audience is and what they are engaging with most on your page. Be sure to regularly go through this data and create future content based on this information. This goes with your social media advertising as well, put the right content in front of the right audience. Use multiple campaigns to increase your return on investment. For example, use a local campaign to target specific groups in your PMA, a brand awareness campaign to let more people know about your product or service, and event promotion to show off your latest promotion or offer. By knowing your audience on social media, you can also tailor dealer-specific campaigns and promotions to target them.
Respond to your audience. Too many dealers create a Facebook page and post to it every now and then and count this as social media. Wrong. Social media is another form of communication. Communication is a two way street and to benefit you need to monitor engagement including comments, reviews and messages.
Networks like Facebook give you notifications of basically everything that happens on your page. Your dealership needs to be responsive to questions and enquiries made on your social media pages. Allow for a 1-2 hour response rate. This also needs to be 7 days a week, so create a roster to ensure your page is always monitored. Keep your comments light and uncomplicated. Just like phone messages, text comments can sometimes be interpreted the wrong way. Try to get the user to take the next step either by calling the dealership, receiving a call, or sending an email instead. You can also point them to the most useful information on your dealership’s website.
If you get a positive review, don’t just hit like, make sure you respond by saying thank you at the very least.
Negative reviews need to be dealt with too. In many cases, the user is just venting and blowing off steam online. If you can take their comments and conversation offline, you may be able to resolve the underlying issue and possibly have them take down the review. In extreme cases, you can pay companies like InternetRemovals can help your remove reviews on Facebook and Google.
Cross promote. Don’t just keep to yourself. Ask brands, groups and events that you sponsor or support to tag you on social media. Are you supporting a local community event? Be sure to share this on your social media pages and link to the event. Showing your involvement in the community helps strengthen your brand.
With major events, it can help to start a live update of the event on your own page. For example, Maitland Toyota is the major sponsor of international surfing contest, Surfest, Newcastle. When the event is on every February, content is shared between the Surfest Facebook page and the Maitland & Port Stephens Toyota Facebook page. A live update of the current standings is posted, as well as event schedules for the next day. Be careful with this though, as over posting this content might push away users that are not interested in this topic or event.
Brand ambassadors can also play a big part with your cross promotions. Let your social media audience know what they are up to with their career, sport or events, and also make sure your brand ambassadors are linking back to you on social media where possible. Content that instigates a positive emotional response, such as happiness or pride, can increase post and page engagement and also start conversations.
Overall, to help your social media profile sparkle, be sure to pay it the attention it deserves. Your audience is online 24/7. Make sure your profile is managed not only during business hours, but also after hours and weekends. Be sure to post regularly to show that your page is current, as well as showing the latest news from your dealership. Engagement has a snowball effect on social media. The more people that engage with a post, the more people Facebook or the social network will show that post to. Test the waters and see what works best for your page, use reports and insights to see what is working and what is not working.
PS. Plastering your profile with the current used car of the day or pictures of customers picking up their cars can turn off your audience. Mix it up a bit, by all means post this stuff, but don’t let all your content be made up of this.