Social media can be much more than just an online marketplace for your vehicles. It allows you to converse with your customers and showcase your company in creative, engaging ways.
Read on for our guide to accelerating your business with social media, and protecting it with motor trade insurance
Know your channels and audiences
If you’re pushed for time and inspiration, there are platforms you can use that will share the same posts across all your social media channels like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, among others.
But ideally, you should be tailoring your message to suit different platforms and the people who are most likely to use them.
Instagram is all about photos, and is where you’ll reach Millennials (those born in the early 1980s) and Generation Z (those born in the mid-late 1990s). How about posting photos of smaller models here, perhaps those that would be suitable as a new driver’s first car?
Facebook is the channel for speaking to older Baby Boomers and Generation X, so SUVs and other family cars could receive a lot of ‘likes’ here.
Interact with your customers
Traditional marketing is a one-way street: it lets you talk about your goods and services to people, but doesn’t let them to talk to you.
The real beauty of social media is that it allows you to start a conversation with people, getting feedback on your offering and building a relationship with existing and potential customers.
So encourage comments on your posts, and be ready to answer questions. Be polite, but don’t be afraid to be humorous. The very best social media marketing will often show a more human side to your business than is possible with traditional marketing.
Competitions and promotions can also encourage interaction, and maybe win you some new trade.
By networking with relevant businesses, particularly on Twitter, you can keep abreast of current conversations and join in with your own view.
Be warned – running social media channels can be time consuming and the route to success is being consistent. Many businesses employ freelancers or agencies to do this work for them, often as part of a larger marketing strategy.
Include customer testimonials
Social media is all about the human touch. So if you can show that real-life people have been pleased with the car they bought and the service you provided, that counts for a huge amount.
Ask your satisfied customers to leave reviews on Facebook, or even send you photos of their new vehicles in action.
If you get negative feedback, respond promptly and courteously. Ask them to contact you directly offline. You can disable or delete comments, but such actions risk making a bad impression.
Target the right people with advertising
Facebook allows you to take out adverts. Whereas traditional advertising can be somewhat scattergun, with Facebook you can pinpoint your target demographic and location more precisely.
So if you’ve got a promotion coming up, then social media is a cost-effective way of getting it in front of the people in your area who might be interested.
That could entice them to your forecourt, where you can offer them a test drive and hopefully make a sale.
When buying a big-ticket item such as a car, most customers will carry out a fair amount of research. You want your social media sites to be part of their background reading.
So if you really want to drive business growth, then use your motoring expertise to write blogs for your website and even make videos for YouTube. Link to them from all your social media sites.
Provide links to external review sites and motoring magazines, too, so customers know you’re happy to give them a balanced view.
Tell a story
One of the beauties of social media is that it gives customers a glimpse behind your corporate façade into the workings of your dealership.
That humanises your operation, and makes you look like car salesmen that people can trust.
So don’t limit your social media posts to simple facts about the cars you have in stock. Talk a little about what makes your dealership tick.
That could be excitement about new models arriving, introductions to new members of staff, or celebrations to mark your dealership’s anniversaries.
Remember to include good photos – pictures really do say a thousand words, particularly on Instagram.
Highlight your good works
Of course, your focus is on the motor trade – it’s where your expertise lies. Ultimately, you want to sell cars.
But if your dealership does community engagement or charitable work, then make sure you showcase it on your social media.
Again, it’s all about giving a good impression of your organisation, and presenting you as trustworthy, community-minded people.
You should then be front of mind the next time someone in your neighbourhood wants to buy a car, so make sure you’ve got suitable motor trade insurance
to cover public visits to your forecourt.
Keep it updated
Setting up social media sites is simple. Keeping them supplied with fresh and engaging content is another matter.
Set up a schedule a few months in advance. Think of promotions and competitions you could run, dates you might mark, and events you want to highlight. You don’t need to overload your followers with posts – just a couple a week is fine to get started.
Remember that posts grow old very quickly. If you’re running a major promotion, you’ll need to post about it several times, preferably thinking of slight twists each time.
It’s by no means easy, which is why many companies employ a social media manager on a permanent or freelance basis. But if you get your social media game right, you’ll help shift your business into a higher gear.
Is your motor trade insurance up to date?
Running a dealership is a demanding job. That’s why it’s important to feel confident in your motor trade insurance policy.
Insurance Choice Commercial has been arranging low-cost, high-quality motor trade insurance for over 20 years. We can find policies tailored to your business requirements and budget.Contact us today for a free quote.