CRYSTAL LAKE, IL – Stone Meta Media, a fixed operations-oriented social media marketing company, reminds auto dealers not to abandon their social media efforts when immediate gains lag, as its effectiveness at creating word-of-mouth advertising will continue to gain traction in 2012.
In fact, says Stone Meta President Rob McClurg, adoption and utilization of social media by auto dealerships is paralleling how they initially viewed web and internet technologies as they emerged in the ‘90s — first with curiosity and cautious adoption, until dealers realized how profitable the use of these technologies could be.
“We have been saying for some time – as automotive social marketing expert and Internet marketer Tom Gorham said recently as well — that social media like Facebook as a fully utilized word-of-mouth tool for auto dealers is just beginning to emerge. Dealers who want to be successful marketers going forward will continue to support and invest in social media,” McClurg adds.
In a recent blog on Automotive Digital Marketing, Gorham cautioned auto dealers who hadn’t made commitments to new media channels they may come to regret the decision this year.
“There may still be a place for traditional mediums, but the future for car dealer advertising is in social formats where customer word-of-mouth, customer interaction, and community-building will be essential,” Gorham said. “Social media marketers like Stone Meta, which embraces as I do the unique long-view of social media’s coming maturity, is and will increasingly be a highly influential and necessary word-of-mouth marketing channel for dealers.”
Gorham pointed to these reasons:
- Consumers want to do business with humans, not businesses. How you make it easy for them to get to know you – before they shop you — and how they hear from others who’ve experienced your dealership is critical.
- Price is meaningless in environments where shoppers can compare and praise or complain about how much they paid for a given make and model. With price transparent now, what sets you apart from other like-brand dealers in your area? Social media’s “cocktail party” like environment can help you build trust, familiarity and preference for your dealership so when the consumer is ready to buy your dealership is a preferred dealer on their shopping list.
- Social marketers will be successful who understand that this medium is for making friends and building communities that drives retention and less about selling stuff.
- Only in social media can you ask customers to recommend you and then provide a platform for them to do that and, with luck, their friends reading the recommendation will pass it along to others.
- Social marketers who understand that the goal of social media is to build a broad fan base by attracting a wide range of friends on Facebook, etc., before they begin herding local fans into their dealership, will be most successful with social media.
- Dealers who use their social media as a 90% community building and 10% marketing tool – selectively placing service coupons and other offers on the site – will see a return from social marketing.
- As consumer-engaging technologies change, dealers should embrace and adopt them, as selling cars today – and tomorrow – will be an ever-changing game.
“Dealers in the ‘90s who were late to adopt and to aggressively use web and Internet tools as they emerged later had to play catch-up to those dealers who had embraced these technologies earlier,” notes McClurg.
“You don’t want to be a lagging social marketer for the same reasons. But dealers who fail to get engaged in social media today may not be able to play catch up with their competitors later,” McClurg says.
Stonemeta combines Fortune 100 social media best practices with 100 years of auto retailing experience to bring auto dealers a strategic suite of automotive social media management services designed to help auto dealerships:
• radically increase their social media fan base and social engagements
• broaden their dealerships’ brand exposures
• increase fixed operations traffic and repair order volumes
For more about Stone Meta Media, visit http://www.stonemeta.comor call 815.333.3332
About Stone Meta
Stone Meta offers dealers in-dealership experience as senior managers with top 50 dealer groups and senior manager positions with DMS and CRM organizations, plus recognized digital marketing practitioners. This gives Stonemeta a unique perspective of automotive-related Social Media marketing challenges. For more about Stone Meta Media, visit www.stonemeta.com or call 815.333.3332