Ah, the good ol’ days. It was just a few years ago that traditional advertising was king of the kingdom. Blast your message to the masses and inevitably someone would hear it. Direct mail, TV, radio, print and e-mail marketing were the “go-to” players for dealerships who needed to drive traffic into their showrooms. Today, the colossal growth of social media has permanently altered the direct marketing landscape. Many believe social media is something separate from their store’s marketing plan. “Sure.” They say to themselves, “It’s something we need to do, but the real customer is out there somewhere else.”
The truth is that social media and direct marketing go hand-in-hand. I’ve been in the trenches myself with many traditional automotive dealership marketing campaigns. Now that I’m entrenched in the world of social media, I witness daily how it can support direct marketing. Even more, when used in tandem, they make each other more effective. Here are six moves you can make to integrate social media and direct marketing for your business:
1. Establish consumer and employee awareness
I used to work for guy who demanded we post the ad on the sales manager’s office wall every stinkin’ day. We had to memorize it. Why? So we’d know what the heck was going on.
It’s the same today. If you’re running a social marketing campaign, make sure you have visual representation in the store and on your direct marketing to remind your staff and your customer that you’re on social media. Use QR codes to direct them to your Facebook or Twitter. Growing your fan base is easier when your staff knows you’re on Facebook and directs your customers there.
2. Fuse social links with direct marketing campaigns
Have you been watching a TV show lately and seen a hashtag (#) in front of a word at the bottom of your screen? That’s so Twitter users can all converse about the show online. Capitalize on that same tactic by including icons, links, hashtags and even stories around your social networks on your direct marketing. “Join us on Facebook,” “Follow us on Twitter” or “Love us on Yelp” are becoming more and more expected by the customer on direct marketing campaigns. Email marketing to your repeat customers linking to your social profiles helps build your online community and boosts your online reputation.
3. Use direct marketing principles in your social media channels
Direct marketing is only part of your business’s overall marketing strategy. It’s designed to reach a certain customer you want to stay in touch with. Social media allows you to reach another type of customer –the many who are researching their next vehicle, looking for the best repair shop in town or just chillin’ with their friends on social media. Once someone has agreed to like or follow you, they’ve given you permission to market to them. However, the marketing they’re looking for must have a human component to it, it’s social after all. Which leads me to my next point.
4. No interruption marketing, please
Attention is scarce these days and you’re competing for it every step of the way. Intrusive, noisy pitches will get you nowhere fast. In fact, it’s a good way to get your hard-earned fan base to bolt, just like they fast-forward through TV commercials. It’s time to stop interrupting what people are interested in and BE what people are interested in. How do you do that? Read on.
5. Plan your content strategy
Who are you? By that, I mean, what is it about your dealership that makes people want to buy from you; what brings back those repeat customers? Take time to define who you are and what you stand for and communicate it well on social media.
Then, take that same telephoto zoom lens and aim it at your customer. Who are they? Describe their likes and interests, what their challenges are and how they live in your local community. This will give you ideas on what content to share and write about.
Now you have a solid foundation from which to build your content marketing strategy. If this sounds like something you’ve never done, remember that you write content for direct marketing. With social media, you want to build a community online to mirror your offline community of happy, satisfied customers. Giving your social audience a reason to like you is how you keep them interested and engaged.
6. ABM: Always be measuring
With all marketing, direct or social, it’s essential to measure how you’re doing. Once you’ve got your content strategy in place, set the goals for your campaigns so you have something to measure from. For example: one goal would be to grow your Facebook Likes. (Facebook ads and relevant content for your audience are the best tactics for that). Start your campaigns, monitor using Facebook Insights (Analytics) and ads manager, and measure your daily efforts. One of the best parts of social marketing is you know almost immediately what’s working and what’s not.
Kathi Kruse will be speaking at the 13th Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition, October 23-25, at The Mirage Resort, in Las Vegas, NV. To learn more about her session and about other speakers at this conference, visit: www.DigitalDealerConference.com.