How social media can enhance dealers’ digital marketing efforts

social mediaMarketers know that just about everyone is on Facebook, but it’s not as easy to turn that information into sales.

Digital Air Strike, a firm specializing in automotive social media and reputation management, has some ideas to help dealers in that department.

According to a recent survey of dealers on social media marketing from the company, 91 percent of buyers used social media or review sites in the process of selecting a dealership. Furthermore, 48 percent indicated they would use a “click to purchase” button on Facebook to make auto-related purchases or take advantage of coupons or discounts.

The results came from Digital Air Strike’s “2014 Automotive Social Media Trends Study” and included an online survey of 2,000 consumers who had purchased a vehicle in the last six months.

Facebook has several advantages for marketers apart from its ubiquity.

For one thing, Digital Air Strike CEO Alexi Venneri told Auto Remarketing, Facebook campaigns can be precisely measured. “It’s literally the most measurable and the most holistic medium we’re seeing for dealers today,” she said.

As for using Facebook to connect with customers, Venneri recommended that dealers make efforts to engage their existing customers on the medium. And if existing customers write reviews, so much the better: Reviews from Facebook friends are “very compelling” to potential buyers, according to Venneri, and car buyers now rank Facebook among the top five dealership review sites.

Dealers that use promoted posts containing valuable content will likely perform better on Facebook  rather than using simple ads, according to Digital Air Strike. Facebook users are on the site to interact, so content that offers them something helpful and shareable has a good chance of succeeding. Dealers also should be sure to have clear links to their own sites and contact information on Facebook.

Review sites such as Yelp also weigh heavily on purchase decisions, Digital Air Strike said in its survey report, with 20 percent of buyers calling them the most helpful resource in choosing a dealer, and another 25 percent saying third-party reviews are “at least as important” as dealer sites themselves. About 83 percent of buyers said they looked at dealer ratings from review sites on Google in search results before deciding which dealers to visit.

Used car shoppers are turning online for their purchases, too.

By this year, 52.3 percent of shoppers cited the Internet as a contributing factor to an automotive purchase, according to CNW Research, up from 39.2 percent in 2013.

– Philip Ryan

Posted in Industry, Marketing Matters, News

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