Put 20 people in a room and ask them, “What is social media success?” With the overabundance of social media “information” supplied today, chances are you’ll get 20 different answers.
- Some people will say vanity metrics such as the number of likes or followers you’ve accumulated spells success.
- Some will say it’s posting benign messages that push products (but actually never get anyone’s attention).
- Some believe it’s a sin to speak about products and services on social media so success for them means entertaining people.
The truth is that for most auto retailers, social media success in 2017 means engaging fans/followers in order to turn them into customers.
I was reading an article about social media success recently where a dealer was quoted saying, “Our social media has gone through the roof!” I checked the evidence and while their efforts were commendable, there were crucial elements missing from their results. These missing elements would have made a positive impact so how successful were they…really?
Many dealership leaders (and their agencies) aren’t 100% sure what constitutes social media success.
That dealer believed they were successful and counts for something. However, many don’t take the time to examine their results and then rely on a vendor to deliver a monthly report telling them how successful they were.
I prefer to determine the successful and unsuccessful parts of my efforts so I can do better next time. How about you?
Taking action and experiencing the value of social media brings more knowledge and often bolsters your success. But for those retailers who are limping along, half-heartedly publishing counterproductive content, I worry.
Too often I see dealers execute tactics without a strategy. They begin with undefined goals, no form of measurement, no identifiable KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), and because they got some people to like their page, they call it a success.
If this scenario sounds familiar to you, it’s time to stop fooling yourself.
Social media success, especially today, is not worth the trouble if you’re not able to show that you got something substantial for your trouble – like meaningful engagement with users that can morph into sales.
12 questions to answer for social media success
Sit down, shut your door and take 30 minutes to outline your answers to the following questions. The information you’ll discover will lead to the development of a solid strategy for social media success.
1. Why do customers choose you over your competitor?
The answer to this sets the foundation for all your marketing, not just social media. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
2. Who is (are) your target customer(s)?
The more clearly you define your ideal customer(s), the easier it will be to attract, engage and convert them.
3. What social networks do your target customers spend time on?
You don’t want to waste valuable resources on a channel if your target customers don’t spend time there. Don’t forget to include online ratings sites in your answer.
4. What are your business goals for the next year? Next 5 years?
These goals will help you decide what your investment will be in social media in order to achieve what you want.
5. What are your goals for social media?
This is where many dealers fail in their process. Everything you spend money on for your business should have an intended goal. That way, you can create a strategy to achieve those goals, execute it, measure your efforts and tie the results back to your goals. In other words, establish ROI.
Some common areas for setting goals are:
- Growth of business page or profiles (likes and followers) from within your market area.
- Traffic to website
- Online reviews
6. Who will handle your social media presence? In-house or outsource?
There are specific characteristics and skills needed in the person(s) who will lead your social media marketing. If you promote someone from within, make sure they’re suitable to handle all areas of social media including marketing, advertising, sales, PR, data analysis and online reputation management.
If you’re outsourcing, make sure the vendor has provided you with a written content strategy. This strategy should reach all the touch points for communicating your store effectively.
With the overabundance of snake oil out there right now, it’s just too easy to turn social media over to someone who makes promises they might not be able to keep.
7. What resources do you have to create trustworthy content?
One of your first resources to turn to is your “subject matter experts”, otherwise known as your employees. Tap into their expertise and implement a plan for them to illustrate and share it.
All forms of content will be needed: written word, images and video (and even audio if you’re into podcasting). Identify which form your customers and employees feel the most comfortable with and leverage their skills.
8. What topics can you focus on to inform, educate, or inspire your audience?
A content calendar really helps to define the subjects you want to focus on. Each month you can choose a topic to focus on.
Helpful guides to create content:
- Gain inspiration from your customers’ frequently asked questions.
- Refer to your list of keywords that you’d like to be found for on search engines.
- Look at your reviews. Derive ways to inform and be transparent with your sales process by giving some background stories on those 5-star customer experiences.
- Survey your employees to find out their customers’ most frequently asked questions.
9. What are your competitors doing right and wrong on social media?
Regular reviews of what’s working for them (or not) informs your social media strategy. It’s beneficial to identify those businesses that are doing well on social media and why.
At Kruse Control, we guide our clients to review other pages just to get inspired and motivated.
10. What would success look like for your store on social media?
Part of your strategy is to document what you want and how you would feel once you’ve had success.
With our clients, many of them don’t have an answer for this when we first start working together. This is why it’s important for a social media strategist to help walk you through the process of brand discovery.
11. How will you measure your success on social media?
What software will you use to track your results?
Who will monitor and provide insightful reporting and determine ROI?
12. How can you prepare for a social media crisis and/or negative comments and reviews?
First, it’s a good idea to implement a social media policy with your employees. It helps everyone know how to behave and react, especially in times of negativity or crisis.
Included in your strategy should be a plan for inviting online reviews and responding to negative reviews. Don’t leave that area of social media up to chance.
Social media success starts with a strong strategy. By no means are these 12 the only questions you’ll need to answer but they will get you started at making decisions about going forward.
Kathi Kruse will be presenting “4 Essentials of Digital Transformation in Auto Retail” at Digital Dealer 23 this Sept. 18-20 in Las Vegas, NV! Join her session to learn how to improve store performance to remain competitive, keep pace with disruptive technologies and evolve with shifting consumer expectations.
Author: Kathi Kruse
Kathi Kruse is an Automotive Social Media Marketing Expert, Blogger, Speaker, Coach, Author and Founder of Kruse Control Inc. Born in the heart of Los Angeles to a family of “car people”, Kathi’s passion for the car business spans a 30-year career managing successful dealerships in Southern California. Kathi is the author of “Automotive Social Business – How to Captivate Your Customers, Sell More Cars & Be Generally Remarkable on Social Media”.