Social Media usage is increasing at a frenetic pace. It’s gone far beyond the actions of sharing photos and updating activities. It’s now a vital component to the customer experience and is a significant medium to drive leads and sales.
According to PewInternet Research, 67% of all Internet users participate on Social Media. This is up from 59% a year ago.
It’s difficult for businesses to adapt and evolve to Social marketing, especially when you factor in the changes that seem to happen on a daily basis. It’s hard to figure out who to trust, where to spend budget, what training you may need and how to know if you’re moving in the right direction. Information is power. The following are my views on the trends I see happening in automotive Social Media. I’ve included 4 hot tips to help you capture those leads and sales for the rest of 2013 and beyond.
1. Customer-Centric Marketing. It’s not about you, it’s about them. This trend is not new, it’s just evolved in ways we haven’t seen before. In Jay Baer’s book Youtility, he writes, “Smart marketing is about help not hype.”
“Today’s consumers are staring at an invitation avalanche, with every company asking for likes, follows, clicks and attention. This is on top of all the legacy advertising that envelops us like a straitjacket. There are only two ways for companies to break through in an environment that is unprecedented in its competitiveness and cacophony. You can be “amazing” or you can be useful.”
Not everyone can be amazing all the time, however, everyone can be useful. When you focus your marketing on informing rather than promoting, you will drive sales but in a way that’s foreign to the car business. It’s a completely different, out-of-the-box approach but in the future it will be the norm. If you sell something, you make a customer today. If you help someone, you make a customer for life.
2. Radical Transparency Igniting Customer Experience. Social Media is now an integral component to providing a positive customer experience. The consumer is gathering information to make their purchase decision and 96% do that online. CMSWire puts this in great context showing how Social plays a roll in the consumer’s buying process. It’s called ESP:
- First, they use these tools or channels to Explore their options and find out what their friends are buying and recommending.
- Then, they Share their experiences and information to get validation and feedback.
- Lastly, they now go beyond sharing and Promote by encouraging others to make similar purchases.
Having a customer-centric culture has never been more important. Everything you say and do – including how you treat your employees – is being broadcasted throughout the Interwebs. Make sure your culture is ready for prime time. Being able to tell the story of your business in a meaningful way, using Social Media, connects you to your prospects and customers. By communicating how you do business, you initiate the customer experience long before they walk on the lot.
3. Facebook Advertising Comes Into Its Own. When you first launch your Facebook page or when you’ve had a page for a while without much action, you need something to spark interest and help you build a larger audience. Awesome content drives engagement but you need eyeballs on that content to make your page work. Whenever I’m talking to potential clients, I always include a promotion strategy that involves Facebook ads.
With the newest changes to the ads platform, it’s never been more valuable to boost your visibility and reach with Facebook advertising.
- Facebook ads target your ideal customer and save you from spending on those who will never buy from you.
- Facebook ads are inexpensive compared to other advertising platforms.
- Facebook ads uncover new brand advocates (prospects).
- Facebook ads drive leads and sales.
4. Content is Still King. A recent study from Outbrain showed that 90% of all digital marketing professionals believe content marketing will become even more important in the next 12 months. Develop and execute a clear content strategy that will encompass the “help not hype” credo. You need a mindset, culture and approach to delivering all your customer’s information needs, in all the places they’re looking for it, across each stage of the buying process.
The top 3 types of content that are working best for marketers now and for the foreseeable future are:
- Social Media posts and updates (83%)
- Email newsletters (78%)
- News or feature articles, such as blog posts (67%)
What are the Social Media trends you’re seeing for the second part of 2013?