While almost everyone is aware of social media’s impact on our daily lives, only some are aware of its impact on the business world—more specifically, how social media can act as a catalyst to increase business and revenues.
A growing number of businesses have fully committed to marketing with social media to ultimately increase sales. This is certainly apparent in the automotive industry, where potential customers can view a dealership’s Facebook page. According to CNW Research, around 41 percent of dealers now have a Facebook page, a percentage that can only grow as dealerships realize the impact that Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn—the “big three”—can have on their sales numbers. In the Facebook realm of social media, a dealership’s Facebook page inform consumers of special sales, financing options, dealership inventory, and new car models including technical manufacturer specifications. The time-saving nature of finding all of this information in one location, in a friendly and easily recognizable format such as Facebook is a huge plus for today’s consumer, who doesn’t have time to spend an entire day driving from dealership to dealership to become informed and educated.
In addition, social media provides another opportunity for word-of-mouth recommendations, the single most effective form of advertising. Here’s where social media gets interesting. The efficiency and ease of communicating one customer’s positive experience, first-hand, can have the immediate impact of drawing interest to your dealership and producing future customers. This is where Facebook’s features such as the comment box or the “like” feature become most valuable. Consumers can not only attribute a comment or “like” to a person and a face, but can be made aware of an individual’s recent purchase of a new car with a post resembling, “I just bought my dream car!” As a result, one person’s Facebook post can have an outsized effect as it reaches five hundred of their Facebook friends, some of whom are currently scouring the internet for their own dream car. This starts a chain reaction of those select few reaching out to the origin of the “I just bought my dream car!” post to determine where they purchased their car, how their experience was, and what kind of deal they received. The end result: Additional consumers—the product of social media marketing—walking through your dealership’s doorway. In this fashion, social media should be thought of an extension of a car dealership’s current marketing campaign, not a substitute; as a way of gaining an edge on competitors in an ever-changing environment. Social media is not the be-all and end-all of marketing, but provides another opportunity to reach and connect with interested consumers in a more meaningful format than a simple billboard, fifteen-second TV commercial, or newspaper advertisement.
Car dealerships that want to establish themselves in the social media environment have two options: in-house marketing or outsourcing. For an already stretched, inexperienced marketing department, outsourcing may be a dealership’s best bet, and a number of agencies specialize in managing dealership social media websites. On the other hand, some dealerships would be reluctant to cede control of the direct link social media provides to their consumers. In the end, it’s up to the individual dealership to find out what works for best for them.
In today’s world, social media is ubiquitous. Business leaders recognize that today’s social media investment will drive tomorrow’s sales. Those companies that are ahead of the curve will be better able to fully realize the benefits of marketing through social media, and will be better able to react to tomorrow’s changes in the social media environment.
For more information on this topic, or to learn how Baker Tilly dealership specialists can help, contact our team.