Top Tips for Social Media in Cars Sales Communication
By combining the digital marketing expertise of Kim Goforth from our parent Investec’s marketing team and Mann Island’s Head of Sales Andy Muir, we have developed some introductory designed to help dealers to start making the most of social media as a way of communicating with customers and potential. We hope they prove useful!
2020 has been the year in which many car dealers have made the jump from point of sale to omnichannel retailing to support people looking to buy cars online. It was a trend that has been gaining momentum, but COVID-19 lockdown has put this into overdrive.
Social media has been a great tool in helping dealers and car buyers to come together, enabling dealers to take the car and more to the customer. An online dialogue may not be the same as face-to-face, but for many would-be buyers that is not a problem.
Social media ‘newbie’ or a seasoned veteran, here are 10 tips that dealers can use to get closer to the people they aim to serve. We’ve written these with car dealers in mind, but the ideas are transferrable to other people interested in how to make the most of social media to communicate with their target audiences.
The Where & How
There are no absolute rights and wrongs when it comes to selecting social media platforms. Only with testing will you discover what works for you, but here are three platforms we like;
- YouTube – yes, YouTube is a social media platform. Views on YouTube of test drives, features, and options, and walk-throughs have doubled in the past year, with 69% of people who used YouTube as part of their car buying process being influenced by what they watched.
- Facebook – 40 million people in the UK visit Facebook at least once a month, while 80% of those access it more than once a day. 75% of UK Facebook traffic falls during the working week. Using Facebook’s targeting features, therefore, makes it an ideal platform for creating interest and leads.
- Instagram – image and impact often form part of car buyers’ needs. With over ninety-five million images and videos shared on the Instagram network every day, there is clearly plenty of potential in getting your car images out there.
Before we outline some tips, we want to flag the importance of care when posting anything on social media. Once your post is published, it is there for everyone to see. So, before hitting the button to post a message/image or comment ALWAYS check that it is something you are happy for anyone to see and that it promotes your business and people in a positive light. Inappropriate posting or misdescriptions risk reputational damage and can have unwelcome consequences. As a lender, we also want to point out that finance promotions on social media must follow FCA Rules such as those relating to representative examples. If you are unsure if a post is OK or compliant, the best advice is always not to send it, until you are confident that it is both compliant and/or a message you are proud to stand behind.
- Plan your strategy and execute it – a random approach to social media will seldom if ever, work as well as a planned one, any success could be just chance. What you want is a repeatable process. Create goals, write them down and commit to them.
- Test & Measure – test and measure every post to assess its reach, impact and engagement to refine your winning formula.
- Invest in your expertise – If you already have someone comfortable with social media and/or filming that is a head-start; if not, then you may need to buy in expert help, or you can learn. As with most things, online can be your friend; there are stacks of helpful articles online to teach you what to do.
- Recency, Frequency & Responsiveness – keep the chat going – The importance of posting regularly and responding promptly cannot be overemphasised. Imagine if you were with friends and you asked them a question and it took them 45 minutes to respond; you’d hardly see that as social.
- Craft your content thoughtfully – if you’re posting just to post something – you’re going about it in the wrong way. Become a copywriter and walk in the shoes of the people you are working to reach. We recommend crafting content on a PC/Mac, proof it and sign it off before posting (the simple checking process can be very helpful in avoiding errors or unintended consequences!). You can also use this technique to avoid getting caught up in some of the online ‘debates’ that might be less than helpful! This tip is equally applicable to video as well as copywriting.
- Be interested and interesting – another copywriter’s tip is to be engaging. Address your audience directly, use creative or even witty hooks to pull people into your posts and always write a description on every link you post. Never just put the headline of the post. As an extra tip here, do what we are doing and write in the first-person (I/we etc).
- Understand essential tools – when it comes to increasing traffic, hashtags are definitely the place to start. They will boost the ‘optimisation’ of content. In other words, more people are likely to see your posts. While hashtags are undoubtedly useful, please don’t overdo it.
- Engage, inform, don’t be too ‘salesy’ – People don’t want to be sold to; they want to establish real connections and relationships with you; your social media focus is on trust-building.
- Video is not just about your cars – even in a digital world, people still buy from people; so, ensure they are fully briefed/prepared and get your team in front of the camera (and remember to check and edit before posting).
- Stay ‘on-trend’ – Consider the latest trends and be topical and informed. Also, recognise that social media marketing changes all the time. New algorithms and developments such as the effectiveness of including links that have fallen in some situations recently, happen all the time. Just like the car market, nothing stands still in social media!
- And one final and easy tip to get you started. Take a handover photo of every customer and encourage them to post it on their Facebook page, ask permission to follow them and then comment on their post of the handover.