If you are in the business of selling and repairing cars, not using social media outlets to their full extent is equivalent to giving up a large amount of revenue on purpose. Sound like an extreme statement? I understand that every social media guru everywhere tries to convince every single type of business that they must either tweet and post or die, but sometimes there are actually numbers and examples that back those claims up. For automobile dealers, the facts are pretty clear.
The Big News
If you write off this information, you may as well not read anything else and just give up on more sales. Digital Air Strike is the top social media, online reputation management, and digital response company in the U.S. for the automotive industry. In a report they issued a year ago, they made the startling revelation that the online reviews for dealerships have become the single biggest factor for consumers in deciding which dealership to buy from. The single biggest factor. Ignore that at your own peril.
The study looked at the way that 650 dealerships nationwide use social media, and compiled survey responses for 2000 customers who had purchased within the previous six months. It wasn't an educated guess. This brings social media monitoring software and reputation management up to the top of the priorities list.
Facebook's Bold Claim
Facebook commissioned a study from ComScore which led them to make a claim that they are now poised to target car buyers not only better than Google, but in fact better than television advertising. Considering the amount of money put into TV ads by Car companies and dealers every week, that statement might be the game-changer of the decade.
Specifically, customers who viewed a Facebook ad about a car model were 50% more likely to visit the page for that model. Conversely, the customer's interest in viewing the page of another model they were considering dropped by nearly 15% after viewing the ad. I'm no statistician, but those seem like pretty massive percentages when combined. From a budgetary standpoint, a Facebook ad is infinitely less expensive than a television commercial, so you do the math.
Same Strategy, Different Platform
Car dealers are already doing what they need to do on social media, they're just doing it elsewhere, on antiquated platforms. TV ads? Facebook is the most used and viewed social platform on the web, and the most effective for car sales. Radio? Twitter is the always-on, soundbite platform equivalent.
The weekly or monthly car exchange magazine that is in every convenience store can be easily transplanted on Pinterest, for free or almost free, and will exponentially grow exposure. Google+ is forever intertwined with Google search. If you can't make the jump in your mind on that one then I can't help you.
There is literally room for massive sales and revenue growth in using social media for auto sales, but it won't fall in your lap. Every day that you mull over these options or dismiss them is another day of almost guaranteed unrealized revenue. Are you willing to take that chance?