One of the most overlooked and underutilized practices in digital retailing is leveraging the full power of social media to drive leads and sales. While it’s true that there are a lot of obstacles to overcome, including a true appreciation of the value, lack of required skills, and certain business cultures that don’t lend themselves to being social, if a company can eliminate the stumbling blocks, there are lucrative opportunities to drive leads with social media.
Sadly, some CEOs/GMs consider social media to be an afterthought, believing its only value is in creating interest in the company’s brand. If this is your mindset then take notice because you’re leaving money on the table.
Automotive Digital Retailing is a quickly evolving beast.
What the car business will look like post-pandemic continues to be up for discussion but one thing I know for sure is that social media will be part of the transformation.
Consumers want a digital experience that’s convenient and personal.
The store and its employees will become “digitally fluent” out of an ever growing need to put the customer first.
Challenges still lie within the social media ecosystem. Social platforms are constantly changing their algorithms, releasing new features and “changing the rules” regularly. New platforms are emerging, offering unique opportunities to attract and foster communities. All this requires marketers to think on their feet and quickly adapt their approach at the drop of a hat.
It’s very difficult today to cut through the noise.
Laying the required groundwork is the key to driving leads with social media.
Listening in order to understand your customers improves marketing success. Leveraging social media to engage people before you try to sell them something keeps customers coming back.
You save big money because you can laser-focus on interested buyers instead of blasting unwanted messages to strangers.
Groundwork produces seedlings and the opportunities become plentiful.
The next steps are to enact strategies to drive leads with social media and it’s worth your while to be open to the possibilities. Your level of willingness to adapt to the new ways of reaching customers has a direct effect on your results.
Looking for expert advice in Automotive Digital Retailing? Click the button to learn more about our advisory services that boost dealership performance!
12 strategic ways to drive leads with social media.
1. Begin with a plan.
So many companies admit they don’t have a marketing plan in place. They know how valuable marketing is in general, and make some good marketing efforts, but inevitably management’s attention turns to daily operations.
While it’s true that the day-to-day activities running the business can make you wish there were more hours in a day, the irony is you can actually save time and resources with a marketing plan in place because you’ll be operating proactively rather than from reactive mode.
Mapping out a plan ensures managers can more easily hand off the implementation to someone else. New hires get a head start when a strategic plan is in place, and they make fewer critical mistakes because they have a process roadmap.
Greater efficiency is just one perk of a marketing plan and here are 6 additional ways a marketing plan can benefit your business.
- Reinforces your brand
- Positions your company in the marketplace
- Nurture current customers
- Attract new customers
- Prepares company for growth
- Helps to analyze what works and determines success
2. Create useful, high-quality, original content.
Every business is a content business. Getting the right messages to the right customers at the right time is crucial and it involves careful planning and skillful execution.
“Content” means everything from your website, user experience, VDPs, social media, social advertising, print, TV, radio and more. Every place your business engages with a prospect requires content. Depending on where the customer is in their purchase journey, content should educate, empathize, and ultimately entice them to buy.
High-quality content does not happen without a content strategy (who, what, where, why and when you post). The benefits of developing a content strategy include:
- Influences buying decisions
- Improves brand equity and reputation
- Earns customer loyalty
- Attracts more of the right buyers
- Competitive advantage
- Increased leads and sales
3. Engage people directly (be social).
Yes, you really do need to be social on social media.
Instead of broadcasting the “benefits” of products and services to strangers, add the steps to attract interested buyers by engaging with them on social media.
71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend that brand to others. (Forbes)
Only 19% of those who don’t get any response are likely to recommend that business. (Forbes)
When comments show up, respond. When online reviews are posted, respond. Be more accessible and you’ll notice more customers engaging.
4. Amplify with Facebook ads using 4 industry-proven strategies.
80% of recent vehicle buyers surveyed visited a Facebook property. (source: Facebook)
78% of potential customers who plan to purchase a vehicle within 3 months don’t know where they will buy. (source: Facebook Automotive Playbook for Dealers)
Facebook ads are by far the most powerful way to merchandize your vehicles on social media.
The following four strategies are designed to help dealerships reach more people in a strategic, efficient way, tie results back to sales and service, and increase profitability.
5. Incorporate social selling tactics within your sales process.
Digital retailing (in whatever form it manifests for you) is an integral part of revenue building during these unprecedented times. Communicating with customers and conducting business online is not going away anytime soon, which means that salespeople need to navigate the online world as well as they do over the phone or in-person. For salespeople who want to up their game, Social Selling is the next step.
Social Selling is the act of developing referrals, leads and sales using social media.
79% of salespeople who use social media in the sales process outperform those who don’t.
If you’re a sales manager, it’s worth exploring Social Selling with your team.
COVID-19 has changed the way we do business forever. Customers already didn’t enjoy dealing with salespeople at the dealership and now it takes an even more focused effort on the sales process.
With Social Selling, you can provide more options for your customers and engage them during their purchase cycle – not just at the time they want to buy – thereby boosting your chances of making the sale.
6. Use well-designed landing pages to capture leads.
When a shopper is in the final stages of his/her research and is ready to buy, strategic landing pages (example: Vehicle Details Page or VDP) will guide them further to a sale.
If you want to sell a vehicle off your lot, you’ve got to display it on your site.
Good VDPs are often the difference between getting the appointment or losing the customer.
- Use your own photos. Shoppers want to see recent photos that were taken on the lot…and they want to see lots of them – bumper to bumper, inside and out.
- Answer this question: What do you want the shopper to do next? Make an appointment? Schedule a test drive?
- Provide easy, frictionless access to take the next step, which is typically a form with a call-to-action.
7. Remarket to people who visit your website with Facebook ads.
Perhaps one the most powerful tools Facebook has to offer is the ability to serve personalized ads to people that have visited your website.
Remarketing works by following your leads around the web with related offers. When a user visits your website, they are “cookied” or tagged. To remarket to these visitors, a piece of code (a Facebook pixel) is placed on the page that the user visits, which then triggers your ads to follow that cookied user around the web, whether that’s on a social media site or on various websites across the Internet.
The more advanced Facebook ads strategies are difficult to master but the results are hard to ignore. If you feel comfortable using Facebook ads, great! If not, consider hiring a trusted partner to run your ads for you.
8. Leverage the power of LinkedIn.
If you’re a salesperson or small dealer, there is no reason NOT to use LinkedIn to build your network as one of the ways to drive leads with social media.
Customers are Googling car salespeople. Due to LinkedIn’s influence, profiles appear at or near the top of Google search results.
Putting your own “Professional Brand” into action allows you to greet the customer where they are and help facilitate a purchase (or a purchase through their friends and family).
Make sure you have a 100% complete LinkedIn profile – no “lazy bones jones” on this one. People want to know about you and a well-constructed profile with a nice picture says, “Hey, I’m here to help.”
Be deliberate and thoughtful about who you’d like to connect with and who can introduce you or recommend you.
Once you’ve begun connecting to the right people, you’ll need to continuously provide value in the minds of your connections. Regularly share helpful information, along with images and video to ‘tell the story’ of your current customers’ experiences.
Earn the trust of potential customers by using LinkedIn to showcase proof that will backup your claims.
9. Utilize Facebook buy/sell/trade groups.
Most every town or local area in the U.S. has a Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook Group. I happen to know a few dealerships whose salespeople are selling 8-12 cars per month using these groups to post specific vehicles for sale. Here’s how they do it:
- Explore and join groups in your area
- Post select vehicles (top-notch images and description)
- Include your cell number so shoppers can call you
- Monitor your posts for likes, tags, comments and shares
- Respond timely (pretend they are on the lot!)
- Reply to interested parties. If they ask a question, answer it and ask them question back, such as “Is this a vehicle you’d be interested in?” or “Would you like to come down and test drive?”
- Set the appointment!
10. Show another side of you on Instagram.
Instagram is a great place to promote your company’s personality. Instagram allows you to tell a visual story about what it’s like to do business with you.
Spend 10-15 minutes each day engaging with other users. I know a dealership and a few salespeople who drive leads via their Instagram account. They use Instagram to help illustrate the unique customer experience they deliver.
To attract leads, show a side of your business that’s consistent with your “personality”:
- Content that unmasks a more intimate or fun-loving side of your business.
- The genesis of your business (how you got here) is a great storyline.
- It’s perfectly ok to showcase your products and services but do it in a way that educates rather than an in-your-face pitch.
11. Encourage Employee Engagement.
When employees feel engaged, they care about the company and they do their best to achieve the company’s goals.
Companies with a highly engaged workforce are 21% more profitable. (source)
Employee engagement is about first improving your workplace and culture so that employees feel more connected and dedicated to the organization’s goals and values.
There are many ways that employees can utilize social media. One powerful way is what’s called “Employee Advocacy.” Here are its three main points:
- Social media amplification: Employee engagement in the specific marketing campaigns, events or promotions supports your goals.
- Social proof: Employees are considered “people like me” by consumers. When employees advocate for their employer, it adds a layer of comfort for buyers.
- Social recruiting: Top talent finds its way to you through your employees.
12. Measure and review your results for ROI (Return on Investment).
Venturing out into the world of social media without the necessary metrics to measure results is similar to setting sail on a rudderless ship. With no clear direction, you’ll drift about without reaching your goals.
The data and metrics necessary to establish an authentic return on investment don’t often come up in month-end reviews. KPI’s (key performance indicators) are especially crucial to social media success. The medium itself offers all kinds of data and tracking the right KPI’s goes beyond your “fan”, “follower” and “like” counts.
There are four focus areas for social media ROI:
Each of these areas has its own specific metrics. Setting goals and tracking these metrics will help any business leader to understand much more about their progress and create a system of determining ROI.
Are you ready to drive leads with social media?
Using social media to drive leads has become even more complex, which makes it difficult for business owners to know which way to turn. Thankfully, you can use these 12 strategic ways to drive leads with social media to guide your own strategy and eliminate the obstacles to converting your fans into customers.
Are you ready to take it to the next level? Kruse Control helps automotive retailers just like yours navigate the digital retailing environment. Book your free discovery call HERE.