By: Joey Little
Businesses today know when consumers search for things—restaurants, retail locations, childcare, dog walkers, or anything in between—they are most likely to turn to online sources. Old-school marketing has taken a sideline to newer, quicker-to-access platforms like social sites, search engines, and online feedback forums. Think about it this way:
You’re traveling to a new city and your friends want to try a local TexMex restaurant, but you’re not familiar with the area. Are you going to drive around looking for billboards, or are you more likely to use your smartphone to get some quick info about a great place to go?
Consumers and businesses alike know we live in an ever-expanding mobile world, and that means social platforms are battling it out to rise to the top. And while every platform wants to be the top dog, one stands apart from the rest. In a recent survey, 54% of marketers stated that if asked to choose a single platform, they would choose Facebook.
More and more marketers are seeing the benefits of leveraging Facebook and it’s easy-to-use tools to extend their reach and effectively connect with the right audiences. Not only does it offer the opportunity to build customized Pages and ads, it extends beyond circles of friends to include acquaintances and business associates, allowing for a broad reach. And Facebook is on a record run, with high revenues due to initiatives like geotargeting, custom audience features, Page reviews, ad targeting, as well as News Feed revamps.
In a survey of 551 social media marketers worldwide, 98.8% said they believe Facebook produces the best ROI. With this insight, it’s not surprising marketers continue to turn to this social platform, steadily helping to increase its growth. According to eMarketer, by the end of 2016, Facebook is expected to reach 1.43 billion monthly users, with mobile accounting for 82% of U.S. digital ad revenue. Growth will be driven primarily by Instagram ad revenue and Facebook mobile video formats, trends that attest to the power of visual and mobile input for today’s consumers.
While Facebook stands apart from the crowd, there are some other big platforms to follow. 76% of marketers say they utilize Twitter and LinkedIn as well, and following those, usage by marketers drops to approximately 53% for YouTube and 49% for Google+, with Instagram and Pinterest coming in slightly behind those.
Knowing where your customers are looking for branded content is an important aspect of getting any marketing strategy to work. Marketers know their audiences are on Facebook, and they know they’ll get traction there with their ads. As a dealership, when you’ve done your homework and pinpointed your audience, you can begin to become an expert in the platforms where your target consumers are spending their time. Focus your marketing time and dollars on these platforms and develop a strong presence to gain traction exactly where your consumers are researching and interacting.
Keep a few key things in mind as you work your social marketing plan, and you’ll see even more success:
- Tailor your plan so that it’s manageable for you. Choose wisely when deciding on the platforms where you’ll interact and share your marketing materials. You want to be sure you can master the platform, understand the tools available to you, and deliver consistent content. If the majority of your audience is on Facebook, make that your top focus and become proficient at utilizing it to market your dealership.
- Post relevant and timely content. Your customers crave content that’s helpful, reliable, and timely—and they’re not looking for a hard sell on their social feeds. When you market your dealership as an ally in the marketplace, you’ll be seen as a valued source of information, and consumers become accustomed to turning to you for insights and updates.
- Develop your voice. Your dealership’s brand voice is your identity, and it’s how shoppers will pick you out of a digital crowd. Establish your tone, your position in the industry, the things you stand for, and your areas of expertise—as these are the things that will stand out to shoppers, both when they’re researching and when it’s time to buy.
- Engage with others. In addition to consistently posting on your own platform, be sure to engage with others. Look for individuals who are commenting on your posts, past customers, other industry leaders, neighboring businesses, and other social marketers with whom you can interact and build relationships. You’ll extend your online reach, and you’ll also build credibility by expanding your conversations and including others.
Your social media strategy can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. However, be sure you put plenty of thought and consideration into choosing the platforms that work for your dealership. Facebook is commonly used by marketers because it’s the platform where a majority of consumers turn to seek out and interact with branded content. And since it’s such a high-traffic platform, it’s a great place for dealerships to start as well.
Bio: Joey Little serves as Director of Digital and Social Engagement for AutoAlert. An expert in customer experience management, he educates automotive professionals at speaking engagements across the country. With results-driven advice and proven industry knowledge, he assists dealerships in reaching their audiences and increasing business via their social platforms.