Car shoppers, for the third consecutive year, ranked social networks as more important than a dealer’s website when choosing which dealership to visit, according to a recent Social Media Trends study by Digital Air Strike survey.
The study, based on research findings from 2,000 car buyers and 2,000 service customers, also found 75% of car buyers and 68% of service customers say Internet research, including social media and review sites, was the most helpful when selecting a car dealership.
Some 66% of car buyers or owners who have seen a Facebook ad say they have clicked on it, up from 33% in 2014, the study says.
Consumers looking to purchase or service a vehicle are doing their research primarily online, with 50% of recent car buyers and 69% of service customers saying they physically visited only one dealership once completing their research.
When it comes to car shopping, social-media sites clearly are a major influencer in a buyer’s decision-making process. Here are five tips to ramp up your dealership’s social marketing.
Target Consumers on Facebook
This is a must, especially with 84% of potential customers on Facebook.
Place ads to reach people who have indicated they are in the market for a car. You can narrow down these selections to geographic areas near your dealership, by vehicle type, gender, consumer interests and more.
The investment is well worth it. Research by Unified shows auto ads have two times higher click-through rates than the average Facebook ad.
Use Twitter to Drive Sales
Marketshare research discovered that in 2013 Twitter drove $716 million in car sales.
Twitter continues to be a popular choice among auto consumers. Recent research by Canvs found more than 327,000 auto-related tweets are sent daily, and 75% of these are directly related to owning or shopping.
Using keyword targeting, these signals can be picked up and direct messages, and advertising can be sent to those consumers who have displayed purchase intent.
Market to Millennials on Instagram
A survey by Facebook discovered Millennials are turning more of their attention to Instagram. Instagram, primarily used on mobile devices, is all about taking, sharing and uploading pictures and videos.
Instagram provides a great platform to creatively share your brand story. For example, share pictures that allow consumers to imagine themselves in the moment – a picture of one of your vehicles at the beach, tailgating at a sporting event, camping, near a lake or any creative way you can imagine to showcase the lifestyle your vehicle represents.
Video Marketing with YouTube
According to Force Marketing, 84% of car shoppers plan to watch an automotive video the next time they are in market for a car.
Car consumers are seeking information on model comparisons, safety features, connected devices, walk-arounds and other content to help them make a decision. While videos should be embedded into your website, they should be hosted on a channel such as YouTube for more organic visibility.
Be 100% Committed
Social-media marketing clearly offers huge benefits to the automotive industry – more brand visibility, more leads and ultimately more sales.
Commit 100% to maintaining a social media strategy. Once you start building a fan base of social followers, continually engage and interact. If you go several days without posting or responding to comments, you will quickly lose your social credibility.
When it comes to your digital presence, you only have a small window of opportunity to engage with online car buyers. If you don’t, you can be sure your competition will.
Michael Taylor is director-sales for Relevate Auto, an industry provider of cross-channel auto intelligence.