Social Media can be a sticky subject for our car dealer clients. Because a motor trade Twitter or Facebook account tends not to generate leads as its main focus, dealers tend to worry that it is a waste of money, or a waste of time.
As digital advocates we of course believe that social media can offer a lot more than just enquiries – and in fact would advocate that it is a vital part of a content marketing, customer service or branding strategy.
Whilst dealers have become more knowledgeable in social media, we still regularly get asked questions. Here are a few of the common social media myths we’re here to dispel:
1. Social Media Is Only for Manufacturers
Car Manufacturer accounts on social media have loads of followers and lots of content – but that doesn't mean dealers can’t play too.
A manufacturer Twitter or Instagram account may feature amazing imagery, professional (read: expensive) video and lots of comments from loving, brand-obsessed fans – but what they generally don’t have is the local angle.
Whilst a dealer group or location may not ever have quite the level of followers as their franchises do, they still have an opportunity to connect with a local audience and show them what their dealership is all about.
By running competitions, exclusive offers and talking to existing and potential customers online, dealers can make social media work for them – and can often encourage the manufacturers to share and reply to posts, boosting impressions!
2. Car Dealers Can’t Sell Cars via Social Media
Whilst selling on social media is never going to be its key purpose, it can (and does!) happen.
There are tools out there that let us see what social media users in your local area are saying, giving you a chance to connect with people who are talking about buying a new car. That means that, as well as all the customer service and branding benefits that you get with a social media presence, you will occasionally generate real, hot leads that you might not have found any other way.
Dealers also report a lot of success using Facebook (supported by Facebook advertising) to promote cars to local audiences - it’s especially good if you have unusual or desirable cars that can be shared by your social media followers.
Never write off your ability to sell!
3. Social Media Will Invite Customers to Complain About Me
If a customer is going to complain about you on social media, it doesn't matter whether or not you are on there.
In short, a customer will complain about your regardless of whether you have an account! The only thing that not having a social media presence will then mean is that you don’t notice them complaining, so you pass up your opportunity to take that person and turn them back into a brand advocate.
Even if they are one of the few crazy people out there who just want to shout and complain, by being on social media you can make sure other people see your side of the story and make it obvious that you have done your best to resolve the situation.
A couple of things to bear in mind though – sometimes even if you are definitely in the right you will have to go above and beyond to persuade a customer to forgive you, and NEVER get involved in an argument. There is nothing that will make you look bad to potential customers faster than a Twitter war with someone who complained!
4. The Youngest Person in the Business is the Best Person to Manage Our Social Media
There’s no denying millennials know social media – but that doesn't mean that they are the right person to represent your brand online.
Tone of voice, wording, response to complaints – all are of vital importance to a social media strategy. We often find dealers assigning social media responsibility to anyone who is young and has time on their hands – but we think it deserves a little more thought!
Whether an agency like Bluesky manage your automotive social media, or whether you choose to put the responsibility within your marketing team, it’s important to make sure that you have a set of rules and a deliberate approach. If you are going to do it, do it right!
5. Our Dealership Won’t Have Anything to Say on Social Media!
Everyone has something to say on social media – it’s just a matter of involving the right people!
One of our largest social media clients used to have no personal content online at all. We’d share brand news updates and talk to social media users near their dealerships, but there wasn't any content from the dealers themselves. The reason – everything was coming through a central source.
We opened this up to the dealerships with a social content submission portal, where dealers could share images, news and more – from new babies and new car handovers through to dealership events, sponsorships and more. The team had loads to say – they just didn't have anywhere to say it before.
The point? Successful social media means a mentality change – it has to be part of the way the company thinks.
Give us a shout if you want to know more about Social Media. We offer full management and social media consultancy services for car dealers, so we are more than qualified to help!