It seems that every industry these days are trying to figure out how to employ social media. One industry in particular that has certainly been faced with a scrutiny of   challenges is the automotive industry. The automotive industry for a long time has been know for its glitzy TV ads, billboards, and radio spots that offer the experience of a lifetime. Only here recently has the auto industry somewhat turned the tide and begun to embraced the opportunities that social media can provide like brand awareness, increased site traffic, customer loyalty, and revenue growth. But when you look at social media and the automotive industry, on the surface, it appears they have a relationship better than Will and Jada Pinkett Smith. I’m sure we’ve all seen the great success stories of companies like Ford with the launch of their Fiesta campaign and the YouTube sensation of VW or the QR code campaign that Cadillac ran where they were giving away a gorgeous new ATS. All of these stories demonstrate the power of social media and telling a compelling story in the automotive industry.

Cadillac QR Code

Brand storytelling is just one part of the picture. It’s a piece of the overarching social media puzzle that drives true success for organizations. Brands like VW, Ford, Cadillac, and Mini Cooper have consistently excelled at telling their story on social media. That said, telling a compelling story isn’t the only piece of the puzzle that is important for brands trying to be leaders online. At the end of the day, business is about selling a product.

Studies show that while selling is one of the most important pieces of the business, it’s still one that many automotive brands are struggling with on social media. The challenge with selling on social media is the fact that brands are being forced to approach their customers in a different way. Instead of using traditional sales tactics, automotive brands are required to nurture their leads and build real, meaningful relationships to close a deal.

For most dealerships, selling is their specialty. Though there are many factors that influence how and what vehicle a person buys, the best sales people at a dealership know all the tricks in the book. However, a great deal of decision-making and research is happening before consumer’s even land at the dealership. When dealerships and automotive brands think about sales and how they can increase conversion rates in person, they need to start thinking about all the various touch points in which their customers are doing research and asking questions. Whether it’s on an automotive site or using social media, there is most certainly a shift in the buying process and dealerships need to connect with customers where there are.

In my professional opinion I find that most dealerships are not social marketing gurus nor do they have the time to manage this aspect of their business. But I do find that dealerships that are having the most success are connecting with outside marketing firms such as Digital Air Strike, CDK Global, & Dealer.com to help them develop and mange the right social strategy.

Jumping into the fast-moving river that social media marketing has become can be challenging for most automotive dealers. In addition to the fact they are trying to understand exactly what tangible objectives social media can help them achieve. My advice for dealers is to reach out to a firm that specializes in this area and allow them to fill in the gap. Just my thought… Would love to hear yours?

– Christopher L. Robinson

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