Social media has experienced a meteoric rise over in the past few years, going from a social experiment by a group of college students to a worldwide communication phenomenon. Businesses have recognised its potential for interacting with customers and more and more deals are being done online than ever before.
So what is social media and why should a car dealership be interested in it? Put simply, it involves interacting with other people via social networking websites and online forums. It allows very rapid dissemination of information and the chance to react to news and other developments almost as they happen.
For a business such as a car dealership, getting involved with social media will boost its online presence, raise awareness of its products and services, build customer loyalty and trust and increase a website’s traffic and ranking on search engines such as Google. So, it’s all good.
Social media can be especially effective for small businesses and dealerships. After all, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like are all free to join and relatively simple to operate. By tweeting, updating Facebook or adding to Google +, small businesses can engage regularly with customers without resorting to costly advertising campaigns. or time consuming networking events. Companies can save even more time by connecting their presence on different social media sites together for example, linking a Facebook business page to the same company’s Twitter feed to see updates appear on both platforms simultaneously.
Studies have proven that people are more likely nowadays to go to social media to find local businesses, such as car dealerships. They like the ‘human face’ that social networking sites give the company, as well as the chance to interact online before paying a visit in person, as well as seeing images of available cars or the dealership’s premises in advance. Tablets, phone and other handheld devices are being used to access social media sites more too, which only adds to the advantages of being able to connect with people who are physically nearby and looking to do business locally.
While it can take a little time to build up a significant list of social media followers, once an online audience is in place, it is very easy to stay in touch with them. Regular, relevant contact will keep a business at the front of people’s minds too – and will drive them to visiting the website, picking up the phone or dropping by for a browse.
So what are the best social media sites to use?
Here are six good ones to get started with.
This allows you to connect to others based on mutual interests, locality etc. So you can really home in on the type of customers you want to target. Plus, every single thing you do on Google + is indexed by its search engine, moving your website higher up the rankings.
It allows you to post concise updates, or ‘tweets’ about your business as often as you like, but only using 140 characters per tweet. It is fast-moving and helps connect people with brands, celebrities and causes.
This site is primarily designed for business use, this has always been the more ‘grown up’ social media site. It is, effectively, an online resume where you can list your products, services and qualifications. Keep your profile updated and join groups sharing industry-specific knowledge.
A visual social sharing platform that allows you to create collections of images relevant to your company and its brand. Car dealers might use it to showcase monthly deals or best selling cars. Pinned images are clickable back to their original website, which can generate more traffic. Pins also count as links back to a website for SEO ranking purposes.
The largest social networking site out there, but this is still primarily used for personal communications. Businesses can create effective pages and generate a good fan base however, so long as they can keep the conversation going. Make sure people are able to ‘check in’ to your business while they are on Facebook to give you extra exposure for free.
This directory site allows users to upload reviews about their experiences with local businesses which, if favourable, will help drive customers and strengthen reputations. Dealerships can list themselves on the site and feature in highly targeted, local-based searches.