While social media platforms are pervasive in today’s society, using them effectively for business is equal parts art and science. This is especially true with car dealers that often underuse these potential gold mines.
If your dealership’s typical social media posts consist of announcing vehicle arrivals and highlighting key handovers to customers, it’s time to reinforce these efforts with social selling.
In simple terms, social selling is a marketing approach that uses social media platforms to connect with prospective customers, generate leads, and build relationships. It’s another form of lead nurturing. In other words, it’s a promotional technique that’s more about subtly than sledgehammers. Check out this article if you’re looking for a primer on social media marketing.
Let’s explore four social selling practices you can use today.
Hire and develop influencers
Ideally, your hiring efforts already consider sales staff candidates with social media followings. Influencers have their own constituencies, and exposing these groups to your dealership is free advertising. But more importantly, this approach adds a personal and relatable touch to your dealership. A potential customer is more likely to reach out to your business versus a competitor if there’s even a peripheral relationship with a staff person.
At the same time, adding sales staff to your dealership’s social media efforts is a force multiplier. Identify key individuals (you know the ones) who are naturally outgoing and automatically step out of their way to connect with customers. Foster and coach them to start or expand their social media presence (as it relates to their sales career and your dealership).
Adding your sales team to the social media recipe only supplements what you might already be doing with a more centralized strategy.
Reward and embrace participation for social selling efforts
Naturally, your sales team responds to incentives, so applying this methodology to social selling efforts makes sense. Setting up a monthly contest for the best or most creative post is a simple way to encourage everyone involved, even those without a large following. Considering buying lunch for every social seller who’s reached a specific threshold. The rewards don’t have to be elaborate.
Don’t hesitate to establish an informal coaching program to help newbies get off on the right foot.
Chances are there’s a social media whiz working at the dealership, even if it’s not part of their normal job function.
Setting posting guidelines can be helpful, too. But this can just involve some basic do’s and don’ts if the dealership is tagged. Avoid regulating creativity.
Join relevant groups
There’s more to social media than Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. Platforms like Facebook, Reddit, and Quora all have specialty groups ideal for social selling. For instance, if you’re a Ford dealer not tapping into the Mustang culture, you’re missing out on opportunities.
And these efforts don’t have to be limited to salespeople. There’s no reason service department staff can’t share their expertise. Even F&I staff can join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to them. Ultimately, these efforts can lead to sales referrals.
And because selling cars isn’t always distance-sensitive, creating a presence among these specific groups can lead to referrals or sales from just about anywhere.
Share valuable content
Content is still king on social media; every post must be informative or entertaining. That’s why followers’ eyes tend to roll to the back of their heads when they see customers taking delivery of their new cars or holiday sale announcements.
Ideas for effective posts include content that solves problems like how to set up Apple CarPlay or buy a car with bad credit. There are also opportunities to inform and entertain. For example, a Jeep salesperson can post a simple video detailing Easter eggs on a Wrangler.
There’s nothing wrong with supplying your social sellers with content ideas or “copy and paste” content. This can be particularly helpful for those just getting started with their efforts or if you’re trying to encourage a particular message.