Cycles are a common part of our lives: every year brings a cycle of four seasons, every day brings a cycle of waking hours and sleep, and even our daily routines often take on a kind of cyclical appearance. The marketing, advertising, and media industries are no different.
The benefits of an active social media presence for your dealership are well-established at this point, as is the importance of going beyond an organic presence with paid campaigns.
But, knowing where to start is not always easy. The nature of a cycle can make it hard to tell where one stage stops and another begins, and it can be difficult to figure out where, when, and how to jump into the social media marketing fray.
To grasp how social media can drive awareness, interest, and ultimately traffic to your dealership, get to know the three parts of the content cycle:
In a lot of ways, earned media is like your reputation – it’s what’s being said about you in the marketplace (think word-of-mouth, or, more appropriately for these times, online review sites).
On social, this takes the form of sharing, mentions, reposts, reviews, recommendations – all the ways that potential customers interact with your brand away from your oversight. Because of that, earned media is the channel potential customers trust the most.
The critical question is: Are you influencing the conversation people are having about you? Even more fundamentally: Are you monitoring what’s being said about your brand?
Influence the conversation for the positive with quality, curated content, boosting your page rankings and SEO strategy and steering traffic to two places: your organic social presence and your website.
Once you’re influencing through the trusted medium of earned media, the potential customer’s next stop should be your owned media, or content you directly control. Your website and your organic presence on social media are two examples of owned media.
Here you put the definitive stamp on your brand, and the message you want visitors to come away with.
As with all stages of social media cycle, quality content is key to pulling off valuable owned media that engages, informs, and presents actionable insights for potential customers.
Owned media also presents your first opportunity to engage directly with customers, meaning a thorough understanding of your target audience and the best ways to meet their needs is critical.
Your paid advertising efforts on social complete the cycle. With a focused paid strategy based on data-driven targeting, you can reach both:
- Potential customers who have either been drawn in by your organic presence or who may now be directed to it.
- Repeat customers who are satisfied with their experience and then spread the word via earned media, in effect becoming influencer marketers for your business.
Once again, the best use of paid media is to promote quality content to both drive a positive reputation in earned media and direct potential customers to your organic presence, or owned media.
Like all cycles, your social media marketing strategy is self-reinforcing: start doing one part well, and the other parts get a little easier, until eventually you have a sustainable system for driving traffic and profit in place.
Monitor and influence the conversation people are having about your brand; engage customers with quality content that demonstrates you’re ready to meet their needs; and, target and retarget potential and repeat customers with useful, actionable offers that drive traffic back once again.
Know the stages of the cycle and how best to apply your content to each, and watch your social media presence deliver results.
Author: Ryan Zwerneman
Ryan Zwerneman works as a Field Marketing Consultant for Naked Lime Marketing. He’s worked in a number of various facets within the automotive marketing community during his 5 years in the industry. Ryan has worked on teams as a specialist for email and direct mail services, managed teams centered around SEO, SEM, Social, Reputation Management, Design, and Content Writing. He strategically collaborates on services designed to assist in franchise dealer market share acquisition, and consults in-store with dealerships on their overall marketing processes.