There are two key trends that auto dealers should be concerned about when formulating a marketing strategy.
First, the replacement of brand loyalty with deal searching- While the traditional system of customer retention may have held sway years ago, customers are now adopting more expansive options for their next car purchase.
According to Highervisability.com,71% of car buyers surveyed did research online before making a purchase for a new or used vehicle.
This feeds into the second trend, which is the growing influence of social media networks on making purchases. According to HubSpot, 71% of people are more likely to purchase based on a social media referral.
This is GREAT news for you and your dealership. Social media sites haven’t been in the play book of dealerships for very long, but they present attractive new ways of appealing to customers across the country. The trick, of course, is utilizing these sites in ways that produces sustainable results.
Facebook: As the king of the hill, Facebook presents some valuable opportunities as well as significant challenges. It has almost a billion users, so its marketing potential is enormous, but Facebook has become a victim of its own success. Almost every business has some type of presence on Facebook, so standing out in this crowd is difficult. This requires real ingenuity and a dedicated marketing team who can inspire genuine interest in your enterprise.
Pinterest: Pinterest has grown enormously in the past couple of years and currently attracts more visitors than LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube combined. The key to using this photo sharing network effectively is to produce and post eye-catching visuals that draw Pinterest visitors back to your site. The auto dealerships capable of making themselves heard on this rapidly expanding site could capture a considerable portion of market share.
Try this: Create Pinterest boards that display exactly what you offer. Use stock photos and advertisements of the new cars on your lot and take photos offering prices and stats about the used cars on your lot.
Google+: Google+ is a relative newcomer to the social media scene and few dealerships have truly leveraged marketing success on it. The real point to having a Google+ site is to help your SEO strategy and your local search rankings. As Google favors their own sites, having a presence on Google+ will enable you to reach more people who use search. The better your Google+ page and reviews, the higher you will appear in search rankings, especially for local area dealerships.
Yelp: Yelp is a customer review site that can significantly impact the success of your company. Yelp should be considered a reputation management venue. In order to produce positive reviews, you should begin managing your reputation on the car lot and in the showroom. Appealing salespeople with high quality interactions and a reliable service department can produce positive reviews, which will springboard into greater sales. Ask pleased customers to review your dealership on Yelp. Also, respond to negative reviews. Apologize and address the issues consumers are having. While that person may have their mind made up, it will look good to other reviewers that you are active and engaged.
Instagram: In many ways Instagram is a less successful clone of Pinterest. It uses photos, which can be modified and shared to build communities of users. Instagram has yet to draw much attention from the dealership community, which makes it ideal for an innovative team to make a big splash on it. Post “cool” or intriguing, altered photos and gain followers.