Social media: Easy for the Kardashians, difficult for dealers. For one reason or another, dealers struggle with social media. Maybe it’s because they feel like there’s really only so much you can say to get people to buy cars. Maybe it’s because social media is so impermanent, and a car is such a large and important purchase. Maybe it’s because they don’t feel like they need to. This article isn’t about why dealerships should be on social media; it’s about inspiration. Here are some dealers who are owning it so hard on social media, you can’t help but be impressed.
Of the automotive social media platforms, Twitter may be one of the most difficult for dealerships. The character limit, the fleeting nature of the information, the careful balance between spamming your audience with tweets and tweeting frequently enough to even be remembered. It’s a bit much for a lot of dealerships. Not so with Galpin. They have totally nailed Twitter. Not because they’ve launched an awesome contest or initiative, but because their automotive social media is just plain exceptional. Don’t know what to tweet when it comes to your dealership – keep reading.
One of the best things about dealerships is that they almost all have a sense of workplace culture, and that’s also one of the appeals that drive customers to a business. People like to do business with companies that don’t feel like a faceless money-void. Galpin’s automotive social media strategy is so great because part of their Twitter method is to post about Galpin company culture and pride. No obviously, a dealership’s Twitter feed can’t be entirely devoted to self congratulating, but a little of “this is who we are,” is an excellent choice.
Happy customers are automotive social media currency that not a lot of dealers are sure how to spend. Here’s how. Posting a picture with a spanking new beautiful car and the happy owner – and tagging that owner – is a great way encourage referrals, spread the Galpin name, and, like the best automotive social media strategies, show off a little bit to the world just how awesome the dealership is.
Now we’re not the biggest fans of when dealerships over-extend themselves with their automotive social media. Nobody wants to talk about the best recipes for leek and potato soup with a dealership. But staying within the realm of cars while still engaging with some of the most talked-about pop-culture events? We love it. And we love this tweet from Galpin that capitalizes on the awesome Netflix show, Stranger Things. Tweets like this show connection to what’s going on in the world – something shoppers like to see from businesses.
We love social media for many reasons, but chief among them has to be the ability to engage directly with your audience. As a platform for effortlessly (or nearly effortlessly) talking directly to both your customers and your potential customers, social media is unmatched. Norm Reeves Honda in California is one of the dealerships out there who are using this aspect of automotive social media exactly right.
A few years ago, Norm Reeves Honda decided overhaul their customer experience and online reputation. They began tracking their customer reviews the same way they track sales. They encouraged staff to get happy customers to leave online reviews. They guarantee excellent customer service and regularly survey their customers to fix any problems or complaints – and better yet, they do it online. On Google reviews, they have 4.6 stars, a number that would be impressive for any business, especially a dealership. They also have over 1,600 reviews (1,618 at the time of this writing), and nearly all of them are 5 star reviews. The dealership leaves comments on almost every single review. Most of the time, since the reviews are so positive, it’s just a kind and personal thank you.
But even when the review isn’t positive, there is still a comment. This is literally the best example we’ve ever seen for how to respond to negative reviews online.
We gotta hand it to Norm Reeves. They are dominating the automotive social media reputation management game.
In automotive social media, there’s no shame in wanting to be liked. Tempe Chrysler Dodge Jeep, of Arizona, has taken a desire for popularity that would shock a freshmen in high school and turned it into an incredibly powerful automotive social media campaign. Tempe orchestrated a Facebook contest in which they gave away four VIP tickets to the Phoenix Open – in addition to donating $10 to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for every new person who liked the Tempe Chrysler Dodge Jeep.
Let’s dive into this awesome plan. Everyone knows it’s lame to buy likes, regardless of any ethical implications. But Tempe’s genius was to do just that, but as donations. Like Tempe Chrysler Dodge Jeep during their three week contest, and the dealership donates $10 to helping kids with diabetes. If we’re being honest, the genius of Tempe Chrysler Dodge Jeep’s automotive social media plan is that it is for charity. Just offering $10 to everyone who liked the Facebook page in a three week period would have worked – but only kinda. There would have been a lot of making fun of the dealership for doing something so sad, and there might not have been any more people. Giving $10 to each person individually isn’t easy, and even if that was the program, the information required to give over just to GET the $10 wouldn’t be worth it to a lot of people. Bottom line: it’s just so easy to click like and then know that you’ve just helped someone. No back and forth with an organization. No paperwork. Barely any information given out. In fact, it’s so easy that you would kinda feel like a bad person if you didn’t go the tiny step out of your way to like the Facebook page and secure the donation.
Now, let’s forget about how cool Tempe Chrysler Dodge Jeep made their contest. A three week contest in a local market might be very easily overlooked, like the standard business card drawing at a pizza parlor. So how did Tempe Chrysler Dodge Jeep face the problem of obscurity in their automotive social media strategy? They promoted the program all over Facebook with both ads and sponsored posts. That’s brilliant. People probably aren’t going to join Facebook just to donate $10 and maybe in the the running for some tickets, but promoting the program on Facebook, to people already using Facebook, who didn’t even have to change the website they were on to complete the very simple requirements of the contest. That’s a wonderful example of taking customer experience and making it a central point of an automotive social media strategy.
We got so excited about this automotive social media strategy that we almost forgot to tell you how well it worked out for Tempe Chrysler Dodge Jeep. Their likes shot up by 1308, they collected 1081 marketing leads, and had an outstanding 6,340 clicks with a 61% custom audience match rate. You have to hand it to them, that is some solid automotive social media work.