What is social media? A) An additional place to list inventory; B) A way to personalize your dealership; C) A task for my niece / nephew because they’re young and were born knowing what to do; or D) A waste of time?
The correct answer is B.
After auditing a handful of dealership Facebook pages recently, I noticed that many don’t know what social media is. I say that because a few are using it to post inventory, some are only posting images from inside the dealership and others aren’t posting at all.
One thing I didn’t see much of was content generated from customers, also known as user generated content.
Facebook and other social media channels are often used to tell everyone how great their dealership is and that they have inventory to sell. What these platforms should be utilized for is socializing and engaging with your dealership’s audience to build brand awareness and customer loyalty. But how do you do that?
For example, if you asked your customers to email photos and videos to you of them riding their new purchase, you should post those photos and/ or videos that your customers took while riding a trail rather than posting your newest models or happy customers that purchase from your dealership.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget to give the customer credit by including their name when you share their photo or video (i.e. photo via loyal customers John and Jane Doe). If you are Facebook friends with them via your personal Facebook account, you can tag them in the post. These types of personalized posts are more engaging and will, in turn, entice them to share the post on their own Facebook Page, exposing your dealership to all of their friends.
How to obtain user Generated Content
There are a few ways to acquire user generated content. You could set up a separate email address for your customers to send it to. You could encourage them through a contest to upload it to their own Facebook Page or Instagram and tag your dealership.
You could create a unique hashtag for your dealership and monitor that to see what gets posted. Keep in mind that your customers’ posts need to be public on their page in order for you to see it. Private posts from customers are not viewable, unless you are friends with them from your personal account.
Reach out to a few of your customers who have a lot of friends on Facebook or followers on Instagram and see if they would be willing to take some photos or video on their next ride.
Pro Tip: Ask your customers if you can follow them while they are at your dealership. This will help you get your Likes count up with people you know are directly interested in your dealership.
Once you have built a library of user generated content, consider dedicating a day of the week to customer posts, that way your fans know when to expect it. Once your fans know that you’re sharing content that they created, you’ll start to see more photos and videos come your way. Soon enough, you won’t have room to only post inventory, because you’ll be flooded with photos and videos from your customers. The goal here is to train your customers to create content for you.
How can you leverage user Generated Content at your dealership?
User generated content engages your audience and creates conversations on social media. Search for customers that get a lot of engagement on their posts and have an active posting history. You will want to encourage them to post the content on their page, tag your dealership and ensure the post is public. By doing this, you just leveraged that person’s following on social media and amplified your dealership’s brand to their friends.
Social media is social, and if you are not creating engaging content, you’re missing a big opportunity. Remember, social media sites like Facebook and Instagram are meant to facilitate conversations, not to be a platform for the deals you’re offering and what inventory you need to move.
Once your dealership masters user generated content, you’ll start to earn customers simply by engaging on social media, which is what it’s meant for in the first place.
Jim Jabaay is the vice president of Sales and Marketing for LotVantage, a leader in digital marketing for automotive, powersports, marine and RV dealerships. Jim has grown up in the automotive industry with the family dealership in the suburbs of Chicago. Jim started at Manheim in sales and continued to grow his career running sales teams throughout Texas for nine years. Following Manheim, Jim spent two years at Dealertrack expanding his career in the software side of the business. LotVantage utilizes data to help dealerships understand which inventory to post and when to post it for a local, national and social presence. Jim’s number one goal is helping dealers succeed in an ever growing and changing dealership world.