How much do you actually know about marketing on Social Media? Sure, you probably agree it’s “where you have to be these days”. You might’ve even already started taking advantage of the “free” platforms where you can build your presence. But there’s a hurdle I see that’s not getting cleared with nearly every dealership’s page: the lack of fan/follower engagement that brings more people in and keeps the ones who’ve landed.
I was in Toronto last week for the Toronto Auto Dealers Association Social Media Bootcamp. What an awesome event! We had 400 dealers and their staff in the room, soaking up everything they could. I presented with automotive Social Media rockstars like Jared Hamilton of DrivingSales, Brent Wees from GloveBox, and Tim Wilson, Head of Industry at Google Canada. Brian Burke, GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs was the lunch keynote and he had his own unique way of engaging the audience.
When it was my turn to present, I asked the audience what their main struggles were with Social Media marketing. The consistent complaint was that their pages suffered from lack of engagement. Their content was not being liked, commented on or shared. I’ve spoken at length before about the key components of Social marketing and none is more important than your content. It’s what drives interaction and if it’s not compelling…well, remember this: People don’t share meh. People share awesome.
During his presentation, Jared said, “There’s no silver bullet to Social Media. The “fittest” does not guarantee survival. Adaptation does.” Then he asked the audience, “How many content writers/strategists do you have on your staff?”. No one raised their hand. To clear the hurdle of accelerating engagement, you must provide an environment where your community manager can thrive. What does that environment look like? It’s a world where Social Media training is made available and encouraged.
Content strategy is a creative marketing process. Over the years, very few dealers have capitalized on this side of marketing–developing a dealership brand identity. Auto retail advertising has been done the same way for decades. There’s an important distinction: Advertising is putting an ad in the paper or posting a car on eBay. Marketing evokes emotions around your brand and convinces shoppers why it’s smart to buy from you.
I’m a firm believer in growing your own. Having managed stores all my life, the best business strategy is always long-term. You can be successful with Social Media but it won’t come unless you have an expert guiding the way. Someone who knows how to communicate with the Social customer, to tell the story of your store’s brand on Social networks, and to create content that’s relevant to your audience. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it can be done without training. This is where the “You can’t sell cars on Social Media” mindset comes from. Someone tried it without training and they got nowhere.
Social marketing is nothing like anything you’ve done before. Without proper training and coaching, and someone to brainstorm content with, there’s a 100% chance you’ll stay stuck in Social no-man’s land. It’s a waste of time unless you adapt and push forward. Set aside an appropriate budget for Social Media coaching & training. Your staff will soon be curating, writing and sharing great content, accelerating you past your competition and building a foundation to grow your Social community.