Car Dealers Using Social Media
Let’s face it people; we live in the “Electronic Age”, and the Internet is at the heart of it all with the various forms of “Social Media” acting as the veins and arteries; reaching every inch of the world. In fact, the entire world itself owes much gratitude and thanks to Robert E. Kahn and Vint Cert, the inventors of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP); essentially the foundation and brain of the Internet, and the thing that makes the Internet—the Internet. There isn’t anything we can’t find on the Internet today; cars, houses, music, TV programs, antiques, books, a significant other (no, seriously, we can), and so-on-and-so-on. In addition to shopping via the Internet, we can also pay bills, and perform extensive research on any topic or subject; just I did to find out who created the World Wide Web.
Then, just when we thought we had seen everything the Internet had to offer us, and just when we thought we had taken it as far as we could—websites like Google, YouTube, and Facebook hit the scene and Social Media was born. Anybody selling anything and every major retailer, mom-and-pop-shop, entrepreneur either has used, or are currently using Social Media to promote, advertise, and market their products and services—including car dealers.
As with most retailers, businesses, and corporations; prior to the emergence of Social Media, car dealerships were limited as to the reach of their audience because they could only primarily attract ‘local’ business, customers, and clientele. It wasn’t until sites like Craigslist and Angie’s List, and again, Facebook and Twitter came along, that these dealers could expand their advertising as far as they wanted—auto sales began to rise. One way dealers are increasing their sales is by practicing “Social Care”, online, one-on-one customer service. Statistics show that consumers today prefer social care over traditional customer service and are prompted to continue doing business with a company because of it. According to a recent survey by Dealer.com, approximately 27% of car buyers said they were influenced by social media to purchase their car when and where they did.
Social media is also helping auto sales rise by making customer reviews available online for the new, potential buyer to view. These reviews aren’t just limited to past and current customers, they’re also written by leading industry critics and experts, and seem to hold more weight with prospects than a customer-based testimony or rating. Yes, there are half a million online review sites, but when 67% of auto sales are generated from consumers who studied online reviews to aid them in choosing the dealer and car right for them—it makes a world of difference. Automakers and dealers alike are milking this cow for all it has—ever hear the phrase; “There’s an app for that”?—of course you have. Strategists are now resorting to “Smartphones”, “I-Phones”, and “Androids” to further reach their audience and consumers—this is because almost every consumer loves convenience and ease, and they’re more likely to do business with a company that makes things easy and convenient for them.
Car dealers have found other ways to use Social Media to attract clientele and increase auto sales such as; offering incentives, discounts, and specials redeemable only “online”. Many dealers open “Fan Pages” on Facebook and encourage customers and potential customers to “Like” the page. They entice the customer/potential customer by filling the page with new auto trends, advertisements, videos, fun posts and games, etc… They also utilize celebrity endorsements and boast about their large number of “Followers” or “Friends” which gives the impression; “everyone else is doing it, so I should too”. Four Square is another Social Media site car dealers are utilizing. Four Square allows you to show or post what businesses you’re visiting or using; their hope is that it will trickle down to your friends, and their friends, and so forth, and ultimately create new business and a positive impact on auto sales.
Car dealers have wasted no time learning what a valuable marketing tool Social Media can be and how to optimize its fullest potential to their benefit. As dealers continue to find new ways to effectively use Social Media, auto sales will continuously rise, and present yet, even more opportunities.