Car dealers and makers are always looking to drive up sales, and marketing and social media are two key components of that.
According to research firm Autodata, automakers sold 1.55 million vehicles in March of this year, a slightly larger figure than at the same time last year; there is a little growth in the auto industry, but there is room for improvement.
So, how can carefully-crafted marketing and social media campaigns to engage customers?
Getting Customers Involved
As a marketing channel, social media is less of a soapbox and more of a conversation piece.
Customers are looking to interact with their favorite brands. Some automakers have been adding the “social” into social media with their market campaigns.
Take Citroen for example. Facebook followers were able to be part of the design team for Citroen’s upcoming C1 Connexion, using an app that allowed them to tweak the specifications of the car. With more than 24,000 versions of the car submitted, the campaign boosted Citroen’s social media engagement.
The popular UK-based Mini got in on the action by giving mini owners the chance to see their cars on digital billboards around the country.
Customers uploaded their images to Mini’s dedicated Tumblr hub, or by using Twitter hashtags. The campaign boosted both social media followers and sales for the brand.
Adding Visual Appeal
As the article “What Cars Are the Cheapest to Own?” points out, when deciding to buy a car, there are lots of budget-related and other practical factors to consider.
But for grabbing a customer’s interest and hopefully kicking off a series of events that will lead to a sale, automakers need good visual appeal, and Ford uses social media to achieve this beautifully.
Ford’s social media content includes witty and attention-grabbing Vine videos, Tumblr posts crafted to appeal to the younger demographic of their audience, and artful Instagram pictures that make you want to jump in and drive.
It all adds up to social media marketing that stays new and interesting post after post.
Making the Most of Different Channels
Car companies have a wide-range of marketing and social media channels available to them these days, giving them the opportunity to reach out to customers in different ways and hone their content for each channel to best suit the audience.
For automakers, this means there is more than one way to get their message across.
Honda put this to good use with Honda Stage, a dedicated YouTube channel and associated concert tour that showcased and supported musicians, while forming good connections with young followers and building a strong database of leads.
Automakers can also use their websites and blogs to promote high quality content.
Toyota and Mazda have turned the concept of blog content into vividly colored and visually appealing online magazines, where readers can browse interesting articles and connect with the larger community of Toyota and Mazda owners worldwide.
Building Trust with Customers
Social media is great for car dealerships, too.
There are a lot of jokes out there about car salesman. Social media is a fantastic tool for breaking the tired old stereotypes and providing customers with high quality content that helps build a relationship of trust.
Subaru dealer Subaru of Wichita uses their Facebook page to get their followers engaged. From asking questions of their followers to discussing pop culture, Subaru of Wichita makes sure their Facebook page is part of building a connection.
Frank Myers Auto Maxx in Salem keeps their followers interested with a range of content that matches their fun, friendly and knowledgeable personality.
From useful hints and tips on car maintenance and ownership, to humorous quotes and shareable giveaways, Frank Myers uses social media to keep customers interested in their brand.
For automakers and dealers everywhere, social media and online marketing provide a versatile method for driving brand awareness and building customer loyalty.
About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a wide variety of topics, including branding, inbound marketing, and how to use social media to drive sales.