Almost all industries today are looking online to generate business. Consumers of all kinds of products and services use social media to gather information and make purchasing decisions. This is true in the auto industry, too. Still, not all dealerships are taking full advantage of social media to attract potential customers. Maybe yours is one of them. So what’s holding you back? These are some possible reasons.

  • You think social media takes too much of your limited time.
  • You don’t know how to use social media to gain customers.
  • You think you can get just as much business without social media.

Don’t let simple obstacles like these keep you from moving ahead. Once your dealership starts managing social media effectively, you will attract more customers. Social media does not need to take that long, and it’s not that complicated. The key is to target your audience (and that does not mean just your followers). Advertising in social is absolutely essential.

Build and Maintain Relationships Through Interactions

Social media is a great way to build relationships that pay off, big time, when it’s time for a prospect to buy. Consumers are more likely to visit your lot instead of a competitor’s if they feel a relationship with you. So, once you make the commitment to “get social,” stay engaged and nurture that relationship.

Social media makes it easier than ever. Just respond when a prospect posts on your Facebook page Keep the conversation going by posting relevant and meaningful content on your social properties (owned media).  Build trust by including information about buying or leasing a vehicle, loan tips, etc.. Remember, the more your prospect knows, the more he/she will appreciate your dealership.

Include images of popular vehicles your dealership specializes in selling or – even better — try posting a video. Images are processed 60,000 faster than words! Even a quick video of the new cars on your lot might move that prospect to visit! Whether you’re blogging, tweeting, or posting updates on Facebook, vary your content and make sure that is friendly, authoritative, and accurate.

Use Social Media to Push Promotions

Everyone likes to save money. Your prospects and customers are no exception. Offer incentives for participating in your social media promotions, and use all of your social media properties, such as Twitter and Facebook, to promote them. For example, you can offer a coupon for referring a new follower or for posting and getting so many likes/retweets. Ask followers to refer you to their network of  followers. Include a great call-to-action (“click here to refer a friend!”) and a deadline (“offer ends this week!”). Word can spread like wildfire.

Promotional events are perfect news to share through social. Post exciting events that are coming up. Post the information on all of your social properties multiple times leading up to an event. If prospects see you’re excited, they’ll want to check it out! And remember always to encourage sharing.

So, what should you post about? Everything that’s going on in your dealership:

  • New sales
  • New vehicle release parties
  • Arrivals of new vehicles at the lot
  • Special events, such as free lunch or a drawing for anyone who visits the lot
  • Manufacturer events/celebrations

Use Analytics to Guide Your Efforts

One of the best thing about social, is analytics. The numbers can help you decide which adjustments to make as you manage your social properties. Ask the right questions, and use the answers to move forward:

  1. Who’s responding to your updates? What are their demographics?
  2. Who’s most likely, for example, to retweet one of your tweets about an upcoming special event?
  3. Who’s most likely to “like” one of your Facebook posts about a new vehicle that’s about to hit the lot?
  4. Do more frequent updates generate more leads? Should you update your Twitter account daily or biweekly, for example?
  5. Which leads are most likely to convert to sales?

Start with the data, and adjust your efforts accordingly. You can use your social properties to boost your leads and sales. The effort doesn’t need to be time-consuming, but it does require strategy to make the most of the channel and attain the best results.

Now get out there, and crank up traffic to your dealership. Just think social!