There are still a group of car dealerships out there who don't see a need to market their businesses by using social media. They have been fighting it since the MySpace days and even with all the news out there about the exploding popularity about many forms of social media, they still aren't onboard.
I recently did a little research to see which dealerships and their service departments are social media savvy while others are either late to the party or haven't yet arrived.
One service department manager a few years ago said that he would never consider Facebook as part of his marketing, because it's only used by teenage girls. First, I told him that's not even remotely true. But even if it was, when teenage girls turn 16, they're excellent prospective customers and if you can connect with them early on, they can be avid supporters and awesome clients for life.
So, if you don't personally like social media, that's fine--but I don't think you can argue with the numbers. More than one billion people are active on Facebook and more than 100 million people use Instagram every month and it surely can't all be teenage girls.
In fact, According to the Pew Research Center, 72% of American adults who have an internet connection use Facebook and it's especially popular among women, 77% of whom are users. In addition, 82% of young adults with internet connections use Facebook; 79% (ages 30 to 49); 64% (ages 50 to 64) and 48% (65 and older.)
So, I checked out the social media presence online of five dealerships with large service departments, to see how much or how little they're doing on what I call "The Big Three"--Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I also wanted to see if they are promoting their service departments and using all of the other marketing and promotional features that each form of social media offers.
I found that three out of the five in my study were going all-in when it comes to their social media. By the level of professionalism I witnessed on their Facebook pages, Twitter and Instagram feeds, I can see they do indeed see some genuine value in staying engaged with their customers, vendors and employees through social media.
These companies are doing all the right things with their social media, including:
- Posting regularly (at least 2-3 times weekly)
- Providing original content through a blog that is connected to their social media
- Running specials and customer incentives
- Producing original videos and featuring them on their social media
- Using tons and tons of photos, because they realize that people read less now
- Posting customer testimonials and reviews
- Posting marketing collateral and press releases
- Buying ads on some of their social media platforms
- Adding "blasts" and other marketing tools to push more information to existing or potential customers that are targeted demographically and regionally
By continually working on their social media to strengthen their position in the market, some dealerships are beating the competition online while others either do it halfway or not at all. Hopefully if you are one of the latter, these compelling facts about social media will re-ignite your interest in this form of marketing. Because although it will undoubtedly change and evolve, social media is here to stay.
Ed has been a professional writer for more than 35 years and his specialties include B2B reporting, blogging, ad copywriting, public relations and general editorial.