You already know your customers are online learning about the products and services they’re considering. And you’re probably ready to jump in the ring and share some of your own dealership content to hook them on your brand—which is awesome. But before you start throwing articles, pics, and videos online, there are a few things to remember. First, and most importantly, it’s up to you to create the best content possible to build consumer engagement and grow your online community. Today’s consumers are fickle and demanding, so be sure to streamline and offer your best content, including only what’s relevant and interesting to your audience.
It may sound simple enough, but figuring out what your audience is looking for can be one of the trickiest parts of creating content that resonates. It’s safe to say every business is looking for engaged consumers; that’s how sales are made and life-long brand relationships are built. Everyone wants customers who are excited about their brands and who want to share that excitement with their online social circles. After all, that’s the way social media works its magic. But do you know how to make that work for your dealership?
Here are a few important things you can do to engage your online consumers and get them fired up for your brand:
- Know your audience.
It’s ok if you’re still building your audience. In fact, it means you’re starting from a fairly blank canvas, and that can be fun. Be sure you continue to include those who already follow you as you get to know new target consumers you want to reach.
Start getting to know what consumers want by being a great social listener. Be sure you dedicate time to creating a presence on big social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and don’t just focus on creating content. Instead, search industry keywords, your own brand, competitors, and anything else that relates to your dealership in the marketplace. Pay close attention to the things consumers are saying and how they’re interacting with specific posts and types of content. What are their interests, likes, needs? What motivates them to comment, interact, shop? The answers to these questions are important, because they will guide you as you select content that’s authentic and truly speaks to your consumers.
- It’s not all about selling.
Of course you want to sell cars. And you want to get customers to come in for service and maintenance, too. But when you’re planning content to engage consumers and build relationships, you’ll gain more traction by steering clear of the hard sell. We’ve all seen the people who come across our social feeds (you know the ones) who post incessantly about selling the next great mascara or diet potion. After a while, we either become immune to them—or worse, we block them and ignore them altogether. No one wants to end up in the blocked category.
This may tough to accept for those who are hard-wired to sell, but you’ll gain more online followers when you contribute meaningful content that entertains, educates, and informs—rather than trying to convince online followers to buy. And when you build your online audience, you’ll build trust, which will bring more customers onto your lot in the long run.
- Tell a compelling story.
Stories have been around since the beginning of time. They’re our way of communicating who we are, what we stand for, and where we’ve been. Your brand story makes your dealership unique, so look for ways to share relatable moments with consumers so they’ll feel more connected to you. You’ll build engagement and loyalty when you’re able to let shoppers know what your dealership stands for in a way that resonates and creates a meaningful experience.
Stories are full of details, so when you’re choosing the details to share with consumers, focus on what drives them in the marketplace, what inspires them, and what causes them to pause and reflect. Offer solutions that make their lives easier, and you’ll end up being the hero of the story every time.
- Interact and leverage user-generated content.
Your audience wants to know they’re appreciated—and that you’re listening to what they’re saying. So be sure you have a regular social presence and engage in the conversations that are important to your followers. Additionally, keep in mind your audience is full of great ideas when it comes to content. They continuously post pics, links, and other valuable information, so when appropriate and when you have permission, take advantage of the additional content opportunities available to you. Share what your audience shares and interact to let them know you care about what’s important to them.
Remember to thank your online audience and show your appreciation by calling out their contributions. When you let them know how valuable their input and feedback are, you’ll create an atmosphere where more people want to interact and share with you—ensuring you grow your online audience and end up with even more content and potential customers.
Remember, you are creating a community. Much like the community that surrounds your brick-and-mortar store, your online community looks to you to provide the information and insights they are looking for. As a smart business owner and marketer, you hold the keys when it comes to engaging your consumers—and in today’s digital world, consumer engagement is key.
Author: Joey Little
Joey Little serves as Director of Digital and Social Engagement for AutoAlert. An expert in customer experience management, he educates automotive professionals at speaking engagements across the country. With results-driven advice and proven industry knowledge, he assists dealerships in reaching their audiences and increasing business via their social platforms.