More consumers are turning to social media and online review sites than ever before to research automotive dealerships. In fact, Digital Air Strike’s Sixth Annual Automotive Social Media Trends Study discovered that 71 percent of car buyers and 63 percent of service customers spend a few weeks researching a dealership online. Additionally, more than 40 percent of customers chose a dealership based on online research and reviews.
If you are the owner or manager of a dealership that wants to maximize the paid and organic social media and online review management efforts, having a social media strategy is paramount to your success. This guide will put you on the right track to get the most out of Facebook advertising, build a strong online reputation, develop a presence with reviews and maximize the potential of Yelp.
Keep Ads Fresh
Ads, whether they are commercial, print or social media, become outdated, so make sure to keep them current and relevant on your social media pages. This is especially important for an automotive dealer. Your inventory is constantly being updated and deals change frequently so your social advertising needs to follow suit. You should also keep in mind that variation is the key to keeping your audience engaged. Keep the creative juices flowing in your advertising strategy and keep monotony at bay. Customers want to see something new.
Using New Ad Types
Research shows that about 97 percent of ads will get clicked on via a mobile device. The Facebook Mobile Lead Generator is an ideal tool for getting results. When this type of social ad is used, sales or service customers’ information is automatically inserted when they click on your ad from their profile. This “auto-fill” option creates a stronger lead for your dealership and ensures a mobile-friendly experience for your customers. Ease-of-use is extremely important considering more than 50 percent of car buyers and service customers are searching for dealerships on mobile devices.
Proper Use of Online Video Ads
Short and to the point — those are the two top tips for adding video to your social posts. Also, while it may be tempting to share YouTube videos directly onto your Facebook page, be aware the video transfers over as choppy and unprofessional. Instead, opt for Facebook’s native ad videos. These videos auto-play, have a cleaner appearance and generate more clicks from customers.
Check for Comments on Ads
An ad campaign is virtually useless without follow-up. The power of ads is only as strong as the consistency of response to comments and inquiries. Remember that comments on your ads won’t appear in your timeline, so you have to be extra vigilant and monitor and manage your ads and respond to any comments as those comments are often leads!
The Power of Having Reviews on Top Sites
Google now showcases reviews from around the web – so even if customers aren’t actively looking for reviews about your dealership – they will still see them. Searching for and seeing your brand through the eyes of a new customer is a key online reputation management strategy. Know the keywords someone might use to search for your business and see what’s found. Remember a positive online reputation is insurance for any advertising dollars you’re spending.
Pay Attention to Yelp & Use Check-In Offers
Yelp – love it or hate it – the platform is here to stay and its reviews are seen by millions of people. Apple even showcases Yelp ratings in its Maps app, so when Apple users are looking for directions to your dealership they’ll also see your Yelp rating. Here’s another pro tip: use check-in offers to get your positive Yelp reviews to “stick.”
Knowing the Reputation Rules
No dealer likes getting bad reviews, but getting more positive reviews will “push” the negative ones down. Of course, the positive ones need to be legitimate. In fact, it is illegal to offer freebies or any kind of currency for reviews. Another temptation may be to create fake car buyers and service customers to leave fake reviews or hiring a company that offers this service. Review sites like Yelp are too smart for such tactics and these practices will come back to hurt your dealership’s reputation. A best practice for organically increasing reviews is to send a mobile notification requesting a review while customers are still in the dealership. A new car buyer will still have the “warm and fuzzies” from his or her purchase and will be more likely to leave a positive review.
Becoming a respected and noticed dealership on the web requires a great online reputation management strategy and a strong understanding of social advertising tools and best practices. With these pro-tips, you can get more out of your social media dollars and get a handle on your online reputation.
Alexi Venneri, CEO and co-founder of Digital Air Strike, co-founded Scottsdale-based Digital Air Strike, the most-awarded digital engagement and social media technology company that works with thousands of businesses across the United States and Canada. Venneri started Digital Air Strike at her kitchen table during the recession in 2010 offering employment to recent college graduates who were struggling to find their first job. After just six years, Digital Air Strike now employs 170 people. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexi Venneri, CEO and co-founder of Digital Air Strike, co-founded Scottsdale-based Digital Air Strike, the most-awarded digital engagement and social media technology company that works with thousands of businesses across the United States and Canada. Venneri started Digital Air Strike at her kitchen table during the recession in 2010 offering employment to recent college graduates who were struggling to find their first job. After just six years, Digital Air Strike now employs 170 people.