Forget the show rooms and sales lots: today’s consumer starts his or her auto buying journey online. Three-quarters of buyers report that internet research, including social media, was the most valuable medium when choosing a dealership. Remember, half of recent car buyers say that they visit only one dealership before purchasing a vehicle.
The takeaway: your online presence is critical. Your automotive digital marketing efforts must include a social component. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Use Think with Google
Social without strategy is, ultimately, a waste of time and resources.For results, you have to know who you are targeting, what they want/need/care about, and, critically, where they are
When it comes to anything search-related, you can be assured that Google has your back. Under its Think with Google umbrella, you’ll find helpful marketing tools, such as Google Trends. Trends provides real-time information on consumer search behaviors that can help you understand your competition. You’ll also find a robust bank of helpful articles to help you develop insight into your market (The Road to Winning Drivers is a must-read PDF for auto dealers).
Find your people
On a related note, you need to concentrate your efforts on the platforms your target audience actually use. There is a plethora of tools to help you figure out where your potential customers are, including: Facebook Ads Manager, Pew Research Center, Followerwonk, Advanced Search on Twitter, and more. Don’t forget this simple method: just ask your customers what networks they use! You can do so in person or through surveys (Google Forms or SurveyMonkey).
For example, 84% of your consumers are on Facebook, so that’s a safe bet. But if you want to capture millennial attention, Instagram is their network of choice. If women are your top buyers -- or you want them to be -- Pinterest skews heavily towards females. Your social media agency can help you determine where your people are. The next step is reaching them with great content and engaging posts!
Go beyond Facebook (but use Facebook too!)
As mentioned, the majority of car buyers are using Facebook (and auto ads on this network see twice the click-through-rate as the average ad), but other platforms appeal to key demographics. Image-centric Instagram, for example, is winning when it comes to millennial traffic. This network provides the perfect opportunity to offer compelling visual content that tells your brand story.
Images enable customers to visualize themselves in your vehicles and get a glimpse of the possibilities in store for them when they get behind the wheel. You can also effectively engage users: encourage them to share their own pictures capturing their experience with your brand, people, and products. It’s all part of the story, and Instagram is a prime storytelling platform.
Another network that you cannot afford to neglect is Twitter, which drives hundreds of millions of dollars in car sales. More than 327,000 auto-related tweets are posted daily, and three-quarters relate to shopping/owning. Target these interested prospects.
Don’t forget about YouTube
The majority (84%) of car shoppers say they will watch an auto video the next time they’re looking for a vehicle. Produce quality videos that feature model information, comparisons, safety features, tech, and more to help them make informed decisions. Post your videos on YouTube, embed them on your website, and link to them on your social media pages.
These steps will get you started; an experienced automotive digital marketing agency can help take you the rest of the way towards boosted engagement, increased sales, and enhanced profitability.