If you’re still stuck in “kill mode” — blasting top-of-mind awareness ads on traditional media shotgun style, keeping up the barrage like you’re in an epic battle, it’s time to put down your weapon, soldier. Today’s marketing warrior is a lean, mean social machine, and he (and more increasingly, she) brings in customers with a softer touch and a much longer time frame.
Sure, being on top of customers’ — and potential customers’ — minds is always a good thing. Some things never change, and that’s a good thing! But what HAS changed is the way dealerships get that fabled position in potential customers’ minds.
To get this brand of long-term relationship inside your head, think of your dealership not as a sales lot, but as a community partner. And yes, let Facebook (and your customers, both past and future) — help you create this image. It’s true that reputation is built on service and customer satisfaction, but goodwill and positive top-of-mind awareness are built from within a community. You create the community, the community creates the goodwill.
So there’s some new ways and new tools with which to create these communities. First, don’t discount the importance — or power of — virtual friends. Stories abound of companies that have risen to fame and also gone down in flames, via the chattering crowd online. But the power of this word of mouth and goodwill that virtual communities can create is so powerful, it is well worth the effort to build your reputation online.
The opportunities the Internet and social media offer dealerships goes way beyond simply offering another landing pad for today’s customers’ eyeballs. Give this content-hungry herd a tasty nosh of local news that isn’t about your dealership directly, and they’ll click on it right along with their favorite cat or Miley Cyrus video. Give them something they can cheer (or cry) about, and you’ve just earned a new “friend.”
A Great Place to Start is Right On Your Own Lot
The social platforms the Internet offers are also excellent launching pads for events that involve the community. In the past, charity sponsorships were typically approached with that attitude exactly — charity. The general consensus being the success of these events to be limited at best; untrackable, and they can even cause distraction or disruption of true sales transactions on the lot.
But the power of social media (yes, Yelp!, along with the traditional partners of Facebook, Google+ and the top social sites) has turned small community-oriented groups such as churches, local nonprofits and schools, into a virtual army of publicity soldiers, ready and itchin’ for a good social cause or event with which to storm the Internet. And of course, buzz begets buzz (exactly what was Paris Hilton first known for, besides just “being known?”). So your digitally-driven event can also yield very real and impactful local media coverage (the kind and placement of which you can’t buy in most local dailies).
Now do you want to put a little skin in this game and get in the social trenches for some real community action? Then you’ll want to come see one of the industry’s most successful social and community marketers when he speaks at the 16th Digital Dealer Conference and Exposition, May 6 – 8 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Join Kristopher Nielsen as he takes the social media talk beyond “likes” and service specials to learn how to create social media campaigns that engage your user base.
Nielsen will show how his auto group has hosted social media-based events that attract big-name co-sponsors (and big-time advertising support), including brands like Amtrak, Garmin, and Southwest Airlines.
You’ll walk away with ideas on how to create campaigns that engage your community, how to identify and recruit partners in your community, how to create a message that gets heard above the crowd and how to translate that success into real-world sales.
So suit up and get ready to take your social campaign into battle for victories that generate real results for your dealership.
Don’t miss the industry’s premier educational conference and exposition dedicated to Internet and technology solutions for automotive professionals – the 16th Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition, May 6-8 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.[box]
Don’t Miss Your Chance For Early Bird Registration
Digital Dealer is the biggest because it is, quite simply, the best event for dealers and managers to learn how to use technology and the Internet to sell and service more vehicles more profitably.[/box]