Social Media was born out our need to establish trusting relationships. We’ve all felt the pinch of an economy struggling to recover. Through this difficult time, we’ve realized how important it is to grow and nurture our network. We want to know our contacts better, we want to know more about the products and services we buy. Social Media is our tool for building trust. For dealerships, it’s the golden opportunity.
Let’s face it, on the pain scale, consumers rate the car buying experience somewhere between chronic diarrhea and a root canal (although there’s medication for both of those). Social Media provides dealers the chance to take the pain out of that equation and provide a safe, comfortable place to do business.
My contacts all know I’ve managed dealerships most of my life so when they need a car, they call me. I’ve always considered it a pleasure to help them navigate the tricky waters of vehicle purchases and the evidence of appreciation is the look of relief on their faces. This common thread of fear that runs through car shoppers is all due to the Trust Gap.
Think about why you buy the things you do. When you’re thinking of purchasing a big-ticket item (or even something not-so-big-ticket), do you ask advice from your friends and family? The stats say 84% of us do. You most likely take a look at your contact list to see who can help you with your decision. This advice carries weight with you because you trust who you’re getting it from. The same goes for your customer: The higher the trust, the more likely they are to do business with you.
When a potential customer is looking for their next car, they’re asking their Social network for feedback. They search online and your ratings come up on page one. Social Media lets you do all you can to be there when they start asking those questions and researching your online ratings. Have you taken the time to build your Facebook community so your current customers can help recruit for you? Just as in real life, when you engage and support your community, they’ll become your brand advocates.
Just this week I had a lunch meeting at The Veggie Grill. I checked in on Foursquare, had a delicious vegetarian meal (the best I’ve ever had!) and left within an hour. When I got back to the office, The Veggie Grill had already noticed my check-in and sent me a message on Twitter asking how my meal was. I was so impressed that a large restaurant chain would reach out to me. I am now telling you all about it, I am now their brand advocate. Your sales and service customers can do the same for your store.
The Trust Gap is the amount of trust you have to earn before your potential customer will consider buying from you. Thanks to the gradual homogenization of car design and the fact that cars are all fairly reliable, the only difference between your store and the next one is your level of service and your connectedness to your community. Social marketer Scott Stratten of Unmarketing says, “People buy from those they know, like and trust.” Developing your presence and engaging your community on Social Media takes you to that sweet spot.