Utilizing Social Media for Dealership Brand Loyalty
Remember when you thought social media wasn’t relevant for your dealership’s marketing? Turns out that was wrong, in a big way. By now you’ve established a presence on all the key social platforms that your prospects and customers are using. You’ve become pretty comfortable posting and sharing content. But are you using social interactions to boost your dealership’s brand loyalty?
And have you considered adding social media ads to your marketing strategy? Ads can help increase brand loyalty, too.
Brand loyalty works for your dealership on two levels
You want to reinforce devotion to the OEMs whose products you sell. You also want to earn more devotees to your dealership’s own brand as a business that sells, rents, services, and repairs heavy duty trucks and/or construction equipment. When customers demand what you sell and they wouldn’t think of buying it from anyone else, you’re in business.
We all know that loyal customers can be some of your strongest advocates. On social media, they are highly likely to share, like, or comment on your posts. So the more loyal followers you have, the more your content will be circulated – increasing awareness of your dealership as well as your credibility.
A recent study revealed that nearly 75% of people have purchased something they saw on social media. Granted the things you sell aren’t exactly impulse items, but it’s easy to see the direct, positive impact social can have on your branding. It builds a sense of familiarity. And, considering that one of the fundamental truths of sales is that people buy from people they like, social interactions make your dealership more likeable.
What can you do?
We’ve pulled together some tips on how you can use social media, including paid ads, for brand loyalty-building.
1. Hold up your end of the conversation.
When you got started on social, you focused on providing content. Useful, interesting content still matters, but it’s not a matter of what you want folks to see or hear. Today it’s all about the customer. If you’re actively listening (as in keeping a watchful eye for questions and comments) and responding quickly, you’ll develop loyal followers.
When customers communicate with you, they expect a response within an hour at the most. Sadly, one source claims that for every eight messages customers send to a brand, just one is answered. Simply be being polite — responding to all questions and in a timely manner – your brand’s reputation will soar. Especially when those thrilled customer (and prospects!) rush to tell their friends.
2. Speak in a consistent voice.
The tone and language you use on social media should reflect your dealership’s unique personality. Beyond that, though, personalizing your interactions with references to your hobbies, pets, or the occasional short anecdote helps generate a sense of connectedness with followers. Remember what we said about likeability.
3. Give your top dog a voice.
Are your dealership’s top managers participating in your social interactions? They should. Over 80% of social media users say they have more confidence in a brand if the top leaders are involved. When the “head guy” (or gal) answers a question or posts a comment, it shows your entire team is customer-oriented. Loyalty goes both ways.
4. Listen to learn.
Don’t wait until someone posts a comment or question or complaint directly to you, jump right into the conversation. The more engaged you are – sharing, retweeting, responding, etc. – the more you’ll reinforce your brand. You’ll also pick up on what issues or topics are uppermost in the minds of your prospects and customers. One easy way to earn major loyalty points with followers is to thank them for conversing about your brand, whether a product or your dealership.
You can even step up to answer questions asked by those outside your group of followers, to get your brand in front of yet more folks. Search for questions using relevant keywords (one example is Twitter’s Narrow tool), then provide a useful, detailed, concise answer. Doing this is a smart move, because no matter how well-known you may be, not everyone knows you and your dealership are The Experts when it comes to your subject matter. Sharing your knowledge and insights boosts loyalty.
5. Share customer stories.
When you talk about a customer’s experience with your products or services, you’re imparting information in the form of a third-party testimonial. Don’t stop there, though, share or retweet posts from your customers about their experiences, questions, or general observations. That shows both listening and appreciation – no wonder they’re so loyal to you.
6. So what can paid social media ads do for you?
Strategically-targeted advertising can:
- Promote your most relevant content, to reach and attract a broader audience and reinforce your brand as a valuable resource.
- Help you connect with prospects that share your interests or concerns, depending on the content you promote in your ad.
- Help you expand your community, by attracting new interest via special promotions, discounts, or premium content available only to loyal followers. “Join the party, and join in the rewards.”
If you do use ads, always, always make sure they are branded with your logo, official colors, and an overall look and tone that match the rest of your marketing. And use photos and captions that have proven successful in generating customer response.
7. Finally, be deliberate.
Creating an overall social media strategy allows you to incorporate the specific brand-building tactics you suspect will be most effective for your dealership. And it enables you to interact consistently, so there’s never a question about your dealership’s brand. That builds brand loyalty, too.