It’s time for dealerships and other businesses to realize that in order to survive for the long-term you need to embrace the crowd. Discover how to build relationships with your audience, empower them and your employees to build their own brands….then leverage this to scale content production and reach consumers on their own terms.
Quite simply, what we’re talking about here is trust.
The world has a trust problem. We live in a world where “facts” are dubious. Trust in traditional paid advertising messages continues to decline.
A recent post from Smart Blog on Social Media points out that only 40% of consumers trust marketing content, but 90% trust content from their social networks (Nielsen). Compounding the trust problem, there are troublemakers among us who have flocked to Social Media to expand their marketing reach, promoting the same alienating content they use in other media.
We need to find ways to participate in Social Media that puts us in a more trustworthy light. Here are 3 steps you can take to start instilling trust in the daily transactions of your business:
1. Admit there is a trust problem. For years, I’ve seen many dealers turn a blind eye to actions that do the opposite of inciting trust. We’ve also got a looming customer perception that all dealers are not to be trusted. Heck, nearly everyday there’s someone online blogging or writing an online review about their negative experience. Let’s pull the ugly old laundry out into the fresh air. Instill some humor; be self-deprecating. Ignoring the problem or hoping people won’t notice it is not a strategy.
2. Make your business more Social in the real world. Joe Pulizzi of Content Marketing Institute just finished a study citing in-person events are the most effective content marketing tactic. Investigate ways to welcome your customers/prospects into to your store. You have to do more than just offer free food. It’s about connecting, listening and teaching them how to buy. Give your employees explicit instructions on how to actually connect with attendees:
- Contact bloggers in your area and ask them to promote highlights of your event. Make sure they attend and give them VIP treatment.
- Designate “social concierges” and furnish them with iPads to roam the floor, inviting attendees to take polls and capture their observations in short videos.
- Encourage Twitter conversations by creating a #hashtag for your event and display Tweets in real time about the event on a large screen.
3. Create digital experiences your customers care about. As a marketer, the best way to build customer trust is by talking with customers in a natural dialog. I realize this sounds strange but it’s only because we’ve been shouting advertising messages to them for most of our lives. Social media is like a park bench. If we’re willing to sit, listen and talk to our customers, not only about what interests them but in a vocabulary that lets them know we get them, they can trust us.
If you think about how you like to buy, these concepts will resonate more deeply. We all want to know that our purchase decision is the exact right one for us. Customers spend many hours gathering as much information as they can find about their planned purchase. One or two negative dings and they’re off to choose somewhere else to put their money.
Smart dealerships return to their roots and remember who they’re in business to serve. Use Social Media to treat customers with special attention. Welcome their thoughts, be truly interested in what they have to say about your brand and the things they really care about.