Social media is a fantastic marketing tool, once you figure out how to do it correctly. This is particularly true for local businesses where you can use platforms like Facebook to narrow down your target audience and market specifically to people in your general area.
However, many businesses are missing out on one of the most significant opportunities in social media advertising, employee advocacy, and that’s what we’re really here to talk about. We’ll get to that in a minute but first, let’s talk about why a platform like Facebook is so great for car dealerships.
Social advocacy and local markets
For a local business, like a car dealership, this provides a plethora of useful information like gender, age, income, and location. Here are some of the most critical metrics for Facebook advertising that you might want to take into consideration.
Learning about the kind of customers that you want to attract and filtering at those that don’t match your metrics reduces your ad spend. For example, if you own a Ferrari dealership, then you’ll likely only want to market to people of a certain age and income level.
While every teenager would love to own a Ferrari, they simply can’t afford an expensive sports car. That doesn’t mean they won’t click on your ads and waste your money though. So, you need to eliminate them from the equation. Social media platforms allow you to easily apply this kind of filtering.
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Get a boost from social brand advocacy
When comparing search advertising to social advertising it’s easy to think that they are the same, but social media advertising has a few significant benefits which you won’t get from search.
A social media campaign provides something that’s very important. It’s called social proof, and when people like or comment on your ad, people who are connected with them on those platforms are more likely to see your ads or posts.
This strategy works particularly well if you’re doing some kind of giveaway because the boost you get from these organic interactions can actually net you far more attention than you originally paid!
Strategies for organic brand advocacy
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In the past, celebrities were the only real influencers, and they got paid millions of dollars to promote brands to their adoring fans. Celebrities are, of course, still doing this, but thanks to social media, the influencer category has expanded significantly.
Now, everyone’s an influencer. Even everyday people can have hundreds or even thousands of followers on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and they have an even closer relationship with those people than a celebrity does with their fans.
It’s estimated that 81% of consumer purchasing decisions are based on a friend’s social media posts. That makes social brand advocacy something that you simply can’t ignore, but how do you take advantage of this for yourself?
For starters, you need to provide exceptional customer service. If your service is lacking then this strategy will backfire spectacularly, and you’ll get only negative posts for your efforts.
However, by taking care of your best customers, they can take care of you by helping you to build rapport and brand recognition in your area.
- Discounts for photo sharing
Everyone loves to take pictures of their new car for social media. Offer your latest customers something useful for tagging your dealership in their photos. Offering a discount on their first service appointment or a free gift is a good strategy. You might even consider taking high-quality photos yourself to share on your own page.
- Crowdsourced content
Some of the biggest websites in the world don’t actually create any content at all. It’s all user-generated. People are often really proud of their cars, and if they mention that they bought it at your dealership, you should consider sharing those photos on your page.
They’ll likely be thrilled to be featured, and they’ll make sure to tell their friends about it. However, you should ask permission first and be sure to credit them for the photo.
- Offer referral bonuses
Unfortunately, people are typically the most vocal about businesses when they’re angry, but by offering a referral bonus you can give people an incentive to share good stories about your dealership. Offer your customers a sweet bonus if they refer a friend or relative to you, and they’ll be happy to sing your praises on social media.
- Giveaways and prizes
Social contests are great ways to get free advertising. They can greatly extend your reach when people share or like posts in order to get something. The prize doesn’t have to be expensive either, just offering people a small trinket for posting on social media about their visit to your dealership for service or sales can be a great way to increase brand recognition.
- Give dedicated social media customer service
People are watching your every move on social media, and if you don’t immediately rectify customer service complaints in your comment sections, they will notice. Dealerships who don’t respond are telling potential customers that they don’t care about them!
Social media is a two-way street, and you need to be involved in the conversation to make it work. Plus, it also allows you to get some sneaky brand recognition in as well. When you respond to a person on a platform like Facebook or Twitter, that person’s followers will see those interactions.
Employee advocacy – The most powerful social marketing tool nobody is using
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Employee advocacy is one of the biggest tools in social media marketing that a staggering number of businesses are still ignoring. Remember when we talked about how everyone is now an influencer? Well, that includes your employees.
While salespeople will have the most to gain by being sociable and promoting your brand, that doesn’t mean your other employees should be forgotten. Offer every employee who actively talks about you on social media some kind of cash or gift bonus when they refer a new customer to you.
This will not only benefit you in the way of social marketing, but it will also give all of your employees, no matter where they work, a higher level of job satisfaction.
What kind of content should brand advocacy strategies use?
The type of content you use will likely depend heavily on your demographic. For example, if you post a bunch of memes that only young adults will understand but your demographic consists entirely of the 40+ crowd, then your marketing strategy won’t be very effective. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Ask your employees for help.
Your sales, service and customer support teams spend a lot of time talking to your customers. Ask them what content they think would resonate with your audience. They likely have a lot of great ideas.
- Be helpful
Vehicles are complicated, and a lot of people don’t understand them. If you have some employee advocates in the service department that don’t mind being in front of the camera, then making some videos on car maintenance could be a powerful way to bring attention to your dealership. It also shows that you’re dedicated to helping your customers even after the sale is completed.
- Be entertaining
Everything on your page shouldn’t be a hard sell. Sometimes showing your personality can be a good way to bolster the community’s opinion of your business. Make some videos of your employee advocates having fun at work or being active in community events.
- Find new content with drum up.
Are you still stuck? DrumUp can help you to curate new content which is relevant to your industry. Think things that people would need to know and would be glad that you’ve shared with them. This makes your dealership’s page a valuable resource for the community that you’ve built and not just a place to get bombarded with car advertisements.
People both love and hate social media because of the massive amount of data that it harvests from their lives. Facebook likely knows more about you than some of your closest friends do. It tracks what you look at online, where you go throughout the week and what’s most important to you.
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