While it is more practical for auto dealers than manufacturers to leverage the strength of interactive chat software on their website, some carmakers are leading the charge to fully realize the exposure of social media. From Cadillac’s global tour of the ATS to Toyota’s “Toyota Friend” program that sends private or public or public messages to owners, OEM’s are finding creative ways to directly engage their car buyers and prospects.
The Automotive News reported on Friday that Honda is “using more social media to further its brand messaging through storytelling” (SEE STORY). From stories about an owner with more than a million miles on their car to Facebook and YouTube focus on a backyard mechanic, they are now leveraging their softer side with a “Honda loves you back” program. Now, these tidbits won’t get the play of gossip pieces about Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake’s marriage, but they help the automaker connect with their owners and build a viral following.
Of course auto dealers don’t typically have the economic power to contract Madison Avenue advertising agencies or employ teams of bloggers, but they can scale these campaigns down to the local level. Below are five ideas to capitalize on social media in your store, but I preface this list with a strong recommendation to coordinate with your legal counsel to get signed model release forms from ALL EMPLOYEES or CUSTOMERS you use in your marketing.
- 1. Take advantage of YouTube to highlight an owner who has bought a high number of vehicles from your dealership.
- 2. Have a game on Facebook and/or Google+ that shows your product photographed by several hotspots around town and have — FB ‘likers’ identify the locations to be eligible for a prize
- 3. Tweet a coupon to one of your client’s businesses, like a restaurant or deli
- 4. Have a blogger (a mom, preferably) in your community spend a week or two in one of your premium products and write about it – a successful campaign by Cadillac a few years back
- 5. Use one or all the social networks above to highlight one or more employees who perform exceptional volunteer work in the community
These are just a few suggestions, and you can easily create more creative ideas by pooling the intellect of your management and employee teams. Most importantly, do SOMETHING, because the reach of social media is like a whole new internet. And if you are looking for a key strategy to generate more business directly from your website, contact us to find out how live website chat can benefit your dealership or dealer group.