What Defines Social Media Success?

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automotive-social-media-marketing-consultingSocial Media marketing continues to evolve and the markers for success seem to be a moving target. Just like any community, the members come and go and shifts happen. Consumer buying behavior remains constant until something comes along to shift it in a different direction.

This makes it very difficult for marketing managers and business owners to define their Social Media success. When a vendor reports the results they’re getting for you as “successful”, how can you know for sure if that’s true? If you don’t know what success looks like then how will you know it when you see it?

For most business owners, the decision to get into Social Media marketing was influenced by one or more of these factors:

  • You saw your competitor doing it.
  • Your customers are using it.
  • One or two of your employees use it.
  • The manufacturer mandated it.

Whichever of these factors compelled you to take action, it’s time to recognize that it’s not your children’s Facebook anymore. Social Media, SEO, blogging, and online reputation are all intertwined now. It’s difficult to be strategic when they keep moving the ball.

Social Media success is no accident. It’s the by-product of being an outstanding company. It’s a direct reflection of what your customers say about you and what they experience when doing business with you.

For local businesses, Social Media success has two fundamental elements:

1. The Sales Element.

There are many moving parts to the ultimate goal of leads and sales using Social Media. Likes, followers, subscribers, engagement, and reach are key performance indicators. However, obtaining buy-in from managers can cause roadblocks on the way to success.

I have a client who created a really cool Facebook ad campaign for an oil change special. The image was wonderful, the ad copy urged action and they created a landing page for users to “Get a Coupon”. People started arriving in the Service Drive with their coupon and this got the Service Manager’s attention. Up until this point, he saw Facebook as a joke.

Social Media success for this dealership (an most likely your business) means that people showed up to buy. Each piece of content and each Social ad is specifically designed for your particular ideal audience. This is where the hard part comes in and it directly relates to what I mentioned earlier. Social Media is constantly evolving and shifting so having the key players (well-trained, skilled Social marketers) in place to create these individual campaigns supports and ensures your overall success.

2. The Human Element.

Your logo isn’t social. People can’t engage in conversations with the objects you sell.

Like all communities, online or offline, people are attracted to the shared connections entrenched in the core values and beliefs of your business. Humans connect and build relationships with other humans. Not robots, not technology, not tools.

When I speak to dealer groups, I ask the crowd, “When was the last time you sold anything without a conversation?” No one raises their hand. All along the purchase process, consumers ask questions and sellers (hopefully) respond with answers, in person or digitally. To engage buyers in conversations, your answers must live on the platforms where the questions are being asked.

Now if you’re really staying ahead of the game, you draw buyers to your own platform. By blogging about the questions consumers have and answering them, your content gets picked up by search engines. You attract those sales conversations to your own platform thereby increasing the chance of closing the sale.

Ultimately, it’s the human element that defines your Social Media success.

The best part of conversations are stories that bring the human element to the forefront. Reach clients and prospects by telling your stories. What stories? The ones that happen everyday in your store. The story of your passions and why you do what you do. The story of why people choose to buy from you rather than your competitor. Have you touched your customers and prospects with your WHY?

We all like to feel a connection with those we buy from. It’s easier to sell to someone you’ve done business with before and if you work it right, even new customers will feel they they’ve known you all along.

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  • David Sharp

    I think that a critical aspect of defining success in your social media strategy is to have an actual strategy to begin with. Instead of just throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks, it is crucial to have a plan in the first place. Having read a whole lot of your material, one of the greatest things that has stuck with me is how important it is to know what your end goal is before you start. Is your goal to sell more vehicles directly from Facebook (etc.)? Is your goal to lay the foundation of selling more vehicles in the long run? Is your goal to drive people to your website?
    Ultimately, all these things are designed to sell more vehicles, but there is more to it than that. Social Media is a great tool to utilize in your overall strategy. You can use it to create relationships with potential customers, to further relationships with current customers, to educate current or future customers and the list just goes on. In each of these cases, success is going to look a little different.
    I could go into a lot more detail on my thoughts about this, but I think it ultimately comes back to the old adage, “Failing to plan, is planning to fail.” If you don’t know where you are going, how will you ever know if you got there?
    As always, excellent info Kathi!

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