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Sunday, November 14, 2010

How Car Dealers Can Keep Best Customers on Board

How Car Dealers Can Keep Their Best Customers and Raving Fans on Board...

This article is based on recent data posted by eMarketer which validates the importance of a well managed, full time monitored Social Media Marketing strategy.  Lisa Koutek from The Cobalt Group describes these research reports published by eMarketer as "proof statement as to why dealers should consider letting experts manage their social media"... And I agree with her. Here is a link to the original source post for data, followed by the eMarketer charts and our edited commentary: http://www.emarketer.com/Articles/Print.aspx?1008041       

Show the Social Web some Love, but don't overdo it!

Car Dealers who have implemented Social media marketing campaigns or initiatives that have successfully attracted "fans", "followers", "subscribers", "friends", "connections" and the like for their dealership on their Facebook Pages, YouTube Channels, Automotive Communities or Twitter profiles have only just begun the real task of turning all that work into a sustainable business ROI: keeping those automotive consumers interested and engaged, and hopefully turning them into advocates on the dealership's behalf.

According to a September 2010 survey by social media marketing agency Cone, incentives  and private offers remain the biggest draw for consumers connecting with car dealers within the social web. New-media users expect deals and invitations to events not made available to the general public. Automotive consumers also use the social web to look for dealers and trusted voices of authority to help solve their vehicle and auto related problems, as well as get their feedback on cars, trucks, SUV's, their warranties, accessories, various automotive products, modifications, maintenance and repair services...

They also seek out cool and hard to get trophies such as high resolution images and OEM agency video footage usually made available only to advertising Agencies, publishers and broadcast media professionals.  Dealers who have set up their own social networks positioned as "Automotive Communities" or enthusiast networks that offer registered members access to these types of branded trophy assets have reaped the rewards of being more than merely accepted by the social web, they have become part of the social web's tangible substance while enjoying the benefits of being publicly and repeatedly lauded by some of the automotive online scene's most respected citizens.

The following chart gives car dealers some ideas about what social web users are looking for in general from businesses... The best use of this research data would be to interpret it from an automotive sales and service perspective:

http://www.emarketer.com/images/chart_gifs/121001-122000/121533.gif

Because car dealers have historically shown a propensity for "killing the Golden Goose", it is especially important for dealers to be equally aware of, and steer clear from flooding their dealership's social media accounts, profiles and channels with what social web using automotive consumers aren't looking for...

Why is this equally important? Because the top two reasons new-media users said they stopped following or disconnected from Dealerships within the social web (both 58%), were dealers and their employees sending out too many messages, updates of little to no value or acting irresponsibly.  

In the research studies referenced by eMarketer, the majority of respondents also complained about the content being sent by dealers through these opt-in social media channels as being irrelevant and of little interest or value to them... Which may be why it is so easy to "unlike", "unsubscribe", "hide", "block", "unfriend" and "disconnect" from a dealer's online accounts, profiles and pages without the dealer knowing about it... Other than a steadily declining total number of connections!  

The following chart shows the results of research into why social media using consumers disconnect from a business or company sponsored social web channel:

http://www.emarketer.com/images/chart_gifs/121001-122000/121534.gif

These findings are similar to those in a DDB Worldwide and Opinionway Research study of Facebook brand fans worldwide. There, the top reason for consumer unsubscribing (unlike) was a lack of interest in the brand or sponsoring business, followed closely by complaints about information being published too frequently. The third reason was very closely related, and may actually be what determines whether updates are perceived as being too frequent: "uninteresting or irrelevant information".  

Think about that for a moment... When is the right time to receive an uninteresting and irrelevant communication from a business that has no value? Once a year might be enough to trigger consumers to disconnect!  On the other hand, how often would you have to send the next day's winning lottery numbers before being told you are sending too many updates? Of course... And yes, lottery numbers may be a far fetched and extreme example, but something like a monthly update that included coupons for percentage or dollar discounts from a seasonally relevant menu of services and accessories has been proven to be a reason why consumers connect and stay connected to dealership social media accounts and profiles, rather than a reason why people disconnect. 

For Car Dealers, the far more frequently seen #fail situation is when dealers create social media accounts and profiles, then do nothing with them, seeming to forget about them. Among automotive social media marketing professionals this is known affectionately as the "set it and forget it" social media strategy! Although dealers that are perceived by consumers as publishing too little appears to be a problem for some automotive consumer social web users—and certainly won't help engagement—it will not typically get fans to actively unsubscribe from a dealer's Facebook page, YouTube Channel or stop following the dealer's Twitter profile. When the dealer wakes up and hires somebody or outsources the tasks around creating and posting high value content, fans and followers will still be there to see it. But too much content or the wrong kind of content will drive consumers away, the last thing car dealers and OEM marketers will hope for after making the effort to attract them in the first place!  

Want to get connected with many of the most successful automotive social media marketing dealers in America to learn how they do it? Then visit and join any of the following social networks, blogs and communities that have established a base of members:

[Sent from Ralph Paglia's iPhone]

Ralph Paglia
Automotive Digital Marketing
cell: 505-301-6369 
http://ADM.fm