This blog is part of our Back to Basics refresher on automotive marketing best practices in 6 key dealership digital marketing areas: search marketing, social media advertising, email marketing, targeted display advertising, video advertising and branded content advertising.
Does your dealership need social media and social ads? And do they really reach in-market auto shoppers? The numbers speak for themselves.
Car buyers spend a lot more time on social media than they do on your showroom floor. Check out these automotive social media stats we found via Hootsuite:
8.8 hours online researching and shopping
3 hours with the dealership
Customers say social media influences their decision, and they also want to talk about their own experiences and read the experiences of others, as reported by Forbes:
90% of new car customers who used social media in the buying process say it influenced their decision.
23% of car buyers share their purchasing experience on social media.
38% of consumers say they’ll use social media next time they purchase a car.
Customers are on social before, during and after they purchase cars. So, it’s important you are too. Best practices include building trust and engagement with social media; providing relevant content across the buyer journey; and increasing your reach by adding social media advertising.
Use Social Media to Build Trust and Engagement
Get personal. Use your own “voice” to communicate on social media. That same Forbes analysis shows customers are more likely to engage – one of the most important stages in the customer journey – when a business is approachable. And by promoting continued engagement, you can help convert one-time buyers into loyal customers.
Keep up. Facebook has changed its algorithm to focus on “meaningful interactions,” which means organic reach is harder. Make sure your content is interesting, appealing and engaging. Need help getting started?
Related Content: Get social media content prompts here.
Be authentic. With the Cambridge Analytical scandal and Twitter deleting millions of fake accounts, consumers are concerned about privacy, accuracy and ethics. In fact, that Hootsuite auto trends article showed 60% of people no longer trust social media companies.
Respond to online reviews – positive and negative – to help build trust. In a recent Facebook survey, 69% of respondents said messaging directly with a business makes them feel more confident about it.
Be on Social Media Every Step of the Auto Buyer Journey
Be there, with the right content for the right customers at the right time and across the buyer journey – from research through post-purchase.
Related Content: This aligns with our own research, where we found 72% of people research their next vehicle as early as five months before purchasing it.
Help customers learn about your dealership before they’re ready to buy. Being there during a buyer’s discovery phase can influence their purchasing decision – 55% of customers who discovered a product through social media purchased it later on.
Tell Stories. These disappearing “videos” are everywhere – Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat – and millions already use them to share experiences with friends and family. Stories feel personal and spontaneous and perform better when they’re less polished and more realistic. Create a storytelling team to gather videos, stories, text, photos and more.
Reach younger audiences. Encourage engagement through personalization, then feature consumers’ content in your Stories to make them feel a part of something. Namely, your dealership.
Add Social Ads for Even Better Results
Take note. Marketers continue to increase their social ad budgets, which are up 32% in 2018 alone (Hootsuite). Social advertising helps extend your social media marketing reach; provides more sophisticated audience targeting; and offers goal-based ad options.
Acknowledge social ads are a lot to juggle. You have to be authentic, relevant, engaging and targeted, with a defined goal and a clear call-to-action. But not too pushy! Our social media advertising solution provides what no human can – smart tech that automatically optimizes your social ads based on your defined goal.
Add video to your social ads – 65% of car shoppers said watching a video helped narrow down their choice. And four times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it.
Related Content: Top three types of videos? Test drives, features and options, and walkthroughs.
Get creative. Facebook dynamic creative ads pull in images, videos and descriptions based on specific parameters to optimize your social ads. If your inventory feed meets certain requirements, you can feature specific vehicles in your inventory based on someone’s browsing history. We can help navigate that.
Bringing It All Together
As part of the auto buyer journey, customers turn to social media before, during and after their purchases. Establish your dealership as their preferred source for information – and vehicles – by following these social ads best practices:
Build trust and engagement with social media.
Provide relevant content across the buyer journey.
Extend your reach by incorporating social ads.
But that’s just the short list of tips for social media ads.