Aust & NZ
18th May 2016

For those who have been in the industry awhile, you will remember the days when all prospects would visit or call a dealership to ask what could be even the most basic question. This was the time when a computer was a device shared between four people on a standalone desk in the house.

Fast forward to today when you drive past a dealership with balloons, flags, large signage and inflatable tube men all on display in an attempt to lure prospects onto the lot. With only a few people in sight and new car sales reaching 1.1million for the last few years, the consumers do not go, the playing field has just expanded.

Whilst foot traffic might not necessarily be like the old days, you can still leave an impression, which can be shared and people will probably still like it or even engage. If you picked out the focus words in the previous sentence, you must be a digital marketing person. We’re talking about social media and the impact it has in the automotive industry as more and more consumers go online before making any type of purchase.

It all starts with smartphone users, whilst the immediate priority when receiving a new phone is to ensure all contacts and emails are carried over, the next stop is the App store. Taking a quick glance at the top 10 apps by popularity reveals the answer, what application type is the most common? Social networking applications. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter are the favourites and the list goes on and on.

A recent study revealed the following information*:

  • 38 percent of consumers report they will consult social media next time they purchase a car
  • 23 percent (almost one in four) car buyers use social media to discuss or communicate a recent purchase experience

It’s not just as simple as creating a social media account, generating some followers and posting status after status. A common mistake in any social media strategy is to think only promoting sale events will make a positive impact on the social community when in fact based on the previously mentioned statistics, people are heading to social media for multiple reasons. If you tweak your marketing plan just a little further with true creative online content you can actually make quite a significant impact on your target audience and they’ll remember your brand and dealership quite distinctively. People buy from people, so give your dealership another chance to differentiate with a personality.

The street actually goes both ways, with consumers doing research into peer reviews and other available online information before visiting a dealership. The street also doesn’t stop when a purchase is made, as the post-sale relationship is just as important, especially if you’re looking for strong customer retention.

So how good is your online presence? With users preferring to do their research online and after business hours, assess your consumer engagement options as the new type of traffic is measured in impressions and engagement.

Begin the online conversation and enjoy the benefits of your new dealership social media strategy.

*2013 study by and GfK Automotive Research