From "Push" to "Pull": How to Market to Your Social Customer

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automotive social media kathi kruseOutstanding content is at the heart of every Social Media success story.  Whether it’s Facebook status updates, Twitter messages, or Blog posts, when your customer is interested in what you’re publishing, they will come back for more.  In fact, they’ll look forward to what you’ve got next.  How does a busy dealer, with a traditional sales and service team begin to attract and engage the Social customer?

Awesome Content Strategy

Content marketing is new for auto dealers.  We’re used to advertising to the masses and watching the results walk into the store.  Today, people walk into your store alright, but they’ve been online an average of 11 hours researching everything about you.  The sales relationship no longer starts with an Up.  It begins months before you ever see them and it’s built on trust using Social Media.

The old way of advertising was to “push” marketing messages on the audience.  Consumers’ resistance to that model is what made Tivo a household name.  We have to stop interrupting what people are interested in and BE what people are interested in.  Dealers must evolve from advertisers to content marketers.  Great content attracts, beguiles, entertains and informs.  It’s what connects you to your community and keeps them engaged.

Brian Solis of Altimeter Group posted a study recently about the transition businesses must go through in order to stay top-of-mind with today’s consumer.  Due to shifts in consumer attention, dealers have to move beyond short-duration “push” advertising to longer term, often continual, content-driven “pull” campaigns. To do this, it requires a dealer to develop internal processes for content curation and strategy.

Develop Who and Why. You have to know who you’re trying to reach and why.  Identifying your target audience and the kind of information they’re looking for is essential.

Own Your Social Media Content.  Not participating in your content curation and letting a third-party “handle it” is the same as allowing another person speak for you.  Are you willing to take that chance? How do you know they aren’t posting the same content on other dealers’ Social Media? Someone in your store should be in charge of content strategy, creation, approval and governance.

Measure Your Success.  Social Media is only valuable if you use it to meet specific marketing goals.  How will you know if you meet those goals? Tools like the newly-enhanced Facebook Insights, Hootsuite and Sprout Social are all key components to analyzing your progress so you can clearly see your next steps.

You can’t build a great house with a bad foundation.  Take methodical steps to organize these integral parts of your overall content strategy. Social Media is a marketing platform.  It’s a place for consumers to see what you’re all about.  When they like what they see, they buy.

Have you developed a strong content marketing plan that works for your business?

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  • JennyKayPollock

    Great blog post! “We have to stop interrupting what people are interested in and BE what people are interested in,” is a great way to look at the shift that is needed on the company side! I think this not only applies to the auto industry, but to other industries as well.

    Great content is the center of success on social media, it is so important to have a hands-on approach like you mentioned. Having someone from your store who knows about the product and the people who shop and work for the company is so important.

    • Kathi Kruse

      Yes, the more closely the brand can connect with their customer, the better they’ll be able to know what they want! Thanks, Jenny!

  • Rorie H

    Definitely agree. It took long enough in order for most to start using Facebook and Twitter effectively without just letting the page lay dormant,now finally most pages are staying active.

    It will however take dealers a bit of time in order to identify what their audiences enjoy, with different brands having different target audiences they will need to work out what content works for themselves!

    • Kathi Kruse

      Thanks Rorie! Yes, it will take a bit of time for the learning curve to happen. Hopefully dealers will see Social as a marketing platform and reach out for training and content strategy coaching. It’s a new process that’s never been part of operations before. With the right guidance, the timeframe can be cut by 90%.

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