Gone forever are the “good old days” of car-buyer ignorance. With the rapid rise of the internet as a research tool and, more recently, the advancement of social media (i.e. blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) customers now walk into your car dealership armed with vast reams of information to help them buy a car. The smart car dealer welcomes this type of customer. They’ve done a lot of your work for you. The key to generating new car deals with social media is to view it as an extension of your sales force.
It is also critical to incorporate these and other any electronic-based marketing mediums into your branding. If you merely cut and paste material from car manufacturers or from other generic sources into blog posts or Facebook feeds, you’re likely to see little if any response. In fact, those kind of minimal-effort activities can backfire, causing prospective customers to be less likely to consider you in their buying decision.
One of the most interesting truths about using social media is that customers are still customers, regardless of how they access your business. Like anyone, they still want personalized service. They certainly still want the best price possible, and are quick to employ tools like Twitter to find it. Most importantly, they want an honest, up-front salesperson that’ll be smart without being smarmy. The worst branding message you can ever send is that you’ll do whatever it takes to take advantage of a customer. Social media is especially powerful in this way. Think of it as a giant billboard along the busiest street in town. If you’re shady with even one prospect, their displeasure will likely end up on that billboard for all your other possible customers to see and digest.
With these ideas in mind, here are some key principles to consider when using social media to generate new car deals:
- Be yourself. Authenticity stands out to people. So does dishonesty. Social media is simply a high-tech showroom.
- Be personal. Rather than merely throwing up your latest deals onto Facebook, treat social media as a way to inform, educate and even inspire customers. Let them “kick the tires” by offering virtual tours of your dealership, offering helpful buying tips, or even talking about problems a car manufacturer you represent may be having with one their cars.
- Be fresh. There’s nothing that says “old school” quite like a blog post about your Halloween promo still appearing on your blog the following April. If you’re not the technically savvy person at work, find the person that is and put them in charge of this part of your dealership. Even brief, daily updates can be appropriate if it fits into the guidelines above.
In the end, the results you get from using social media to generate new car deals will likely prove the old adage true; namely, that what you pay attention to prospers. If you’re consistent, creative, and credible, new business will find its way to your dealership.