“I don’t skate where the puck is. I skate where it’s going to be.” ~Wayne Gretsky
Engagement is what makes or breaks your business on Social Media. Engage your fans/followers and you’ll be rewarded with more eyeballs on your content. Awesome content is what drives engagement on Social Media just like awesome conversation engages people in real life.
Three times this week I was asked, “How can I show my boss that Social Media marketing is worth the time and money?” Here’s the deal: every dealer knows that it takes far less investment to sell to someone who’s bought from you before than it is to attract and sell to a new customer.
If there was a place where you could interact with your repeat buyers on a regular basis, while they helped you attract new ones, would that place be worth your time and money? Welcome to Social marketing.
I see some dealers and their staff roll their eyes when the subject of engagement comes up. Engagement is such a foreign word to most people and if you’re not entrenched in Social Media marketing, you don’t generally discuss it. However, to succeed at Social marketing, you must understand it’s importance. Here’s a simple way to look at it.
Engagement may be a new expression but the idea behind it is not.
Engagement is good ol’ fashioned networking + technology to help facilitate it. Higher engagement is about how well you’re remembered by your fans/followers. It means differentiating your store from the other 5 down the street.
With all things new, the idea of engagement comes by transitional means. It’s evolution, baby. We take something that works and make it better by creating something to enhance it. In this case, we started with networking. It used to be the only way businesses operated but when mass advertising took over our lives, our sales culture drifted away thinking we could scale relationships with broadcast messages. That worked up until about 4 years ago.
Procuring immediate sales the way we used to just isn’t feasible anymore. GMs and dealers say to their staff, “Stop wasting time with Social Media and sell some cars!” Oh, please stop. Today you must be part of the conversation that’s happening about your store. Like Gretsky says, you must be where the customer is going. There is no magic advertising button. No more broadcasting ads everywhere and expecting people to walk in your door. People don’t buy unless they know more about you and like what they see.
The best insurance you can take out for your business’ future is to network (engage) with your customer before you actually sell them anything. Think of the act of networking (engagement) as building a huge, detailed net over time that will catch all kinds of great treasures, including you, if you fall. Ivan Misner, the networking mastermind says, “Build your network before you need it and your ‘net’ will ‘work’ for you.”
Social Media marketing is about farming not hunting.
Acting aggressively won’t work. That’s the main shift I see that dealers must embrace. Today’s successful dealer taps into their already established database of repeat customers, nurtures those relationships, and ‘farms’ their Social capital to build new relationships where they can find them. Like a farmer, they know that the effort expended upfront pays off in a rich harvest later on. Much richer than the hunter’s quick kill.
It’s not like cold calling where you can check off 500 phone numbers, see that you talked to 50 people, close 3 sales and that 497 of your calls were a huge waste of your time. It’s not like sending out 1,000 mailers and getting three calls, which gives you a hard number (0.3%) but pretty wimpy results.
The returns you see from engaging on Social Media (aka networking) are like the apples you pick from an orchard you started from a single seed. And happily now, with Social Media, you don’t have to wait for years to see the tree bear fruit.
It’s very tempting to revert back to being a hunter but it’s the exact wrong approach. Hunting for that person who’s ready to buy seems right, especially when you’re in panic mode or just feeling the same everyday pressures that come from needing more business right away.
But the customer has changed, folks and they don’t like being hunted. They can smell you from a mile away and they run. Selling through your relationships, online and offline, is the key. It’s the opposite of fast money but the payoff is much larger. Using Social Media to develop and maintain those referral relationships provides a steady stream of income far into the future.