Almost everyday I talk to dealers and their staff who ask really great questions about Social Media and what’s called “Inbound Marketing”. Wikipedia and Hubspot both define Inbound Marketing as “marketing focused on getting found by customers.” It is the practice of bringing warm, qualified leads into your sales funnel rather than reaching outward to cold, questionable targets.
Basically this means using tools like Social Media, Blogs, and Search Engine Optimization as opposed to anything “outbound” where you’re paying to get people’s attention. David Meerman Scott says that it’s akin to “earning your way in”. It entices people to spend more time with your store because of its merit, not how many dollars you spend flooding them with advertisements.
Inbound Marketing is new to most dealerships which is why there are so many terms that need defining. This article is intended to define 5 critical ‘what is?’ questions and provide you with business reasons for making these tools part of your 2011 marketing strategy.
1. What is a Social Network?
When we talk about a social network, we’re more accurately referring to Social Media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Yelp. Social Media networks have grown faster than either radio or even television did in popularity. That’s why for dealerships, Social Media isn’t an option, it’s essential! If you aren’t part of the conversation, your store may be falsely represented or your competitors may be gaining an advantage over you. Be active in the conversation and at the very least be listening to it.
2. What is a Blog?
A Blog is a portion of your website that is dedicated to creating regular entries/articles that can come in the form of text, video, audio or images. A blog is considered an asset because it’s an opportunity to establish your store’s credibility, create a community around shared interests, encourage interactivity, create additional pages for your site and optimize for keywords for SEO. A blog should be updated regularly because the more often you publish, the more often the search engines will crawl your site and index your pages. All of this will contribute to you reaching the first page of organic search results.
3. What is Social Media Monitoring?
Social Media Monitoring is the practice of listening to the online conversations taking place about your dealership. It’s keeping track of the online ‘chatter’ and responding to it when appropriate. It’s an unavoidable fact that there are places online where dissatisfied customers can go to let off steam. Knowing what potential or current customers are saying is crucial to protecting your store’s reputation. Social Media Monitoring gives you an opportunity to respond to positive comments or criticism quickly and efficiently. Knowledge is power and monitoring social networks is a powerful tool that reaches and interacts with a large audience quickly.
4. What is Social Capital?
Social Capital is the good will, empathy, and connections created by social interaction within and between social networks. The value created by Social Capital can be measured by its returns in the marketplace. Increasing evidence shows that social cohesion is critical for societies to prosper economically and for development to be sustainable. As we operate in this new economy, it’s vital to build Social Capital by developing trust and credibility through social networks. The result is hot leads and sustained buying relationships.
5. What is The Best Approach For My Store?
Take action. The car business today moves at a different pace than it did even 5 years ago. Being able to find information, gain knowledge around what’s being said about you, and nurturing existing leads and customers is critical to the success or failure of your dealership.