influencer marketing

It would be easy to think that influencers have been a new tool for marketing in the last ten years, but you would be wrong. Dealerships and manufacturers have sold with a “race on Sunday, sell on Monday” mantra for decades through NASCAR. And advertisers have paid for inclusion in movies and TV shows since TV and movies have been around. However, influencer marketing, as we currently know it,  began 15 years ago. PayPerPost, the first marketplace to pay bloggers for branded content, began while many thought it would never work. People wondered if it would feel authentic since it was advertising. But it worked.

Celebrity association and use of products have been proven to persuade buyers to drive consideration and purchase of the products.

Can it Work with Your Dealership?

One example of dealership influencer success is actor Mark Wahlberg’s purchase of Columbus, Ohio, dealer Bobby Lehman Chevrolet. When asked why he purchased the dealership, Wahlberg said, “I am continuously looking for ways to innovate my brand and engage in businesses I am passionate about,” 

He added, “I love cars, and the chance to work with an experienced, proven dealer-operator like Jay and represent an iconic brand like Chevrolet inspired me to get involved.”

The good news is that you don’t need a celebrity to buy your dealership so you can succeed. But there are some takeaways from Mark’s statement that could help you when working with an influencer. But first, let’s go over some basics.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing uses a person with a solid social media presence to use your product and your dealership services. Engaging an influencer can bring an increase in customers to consider and use your services.

What’s in it for Me?

We recently reported that 71% of consumers have a higher likelihood of purchasing something recommended by an influencer. In addition, reports say that influencer marketing can return investment of up to 11x higher than the other traditional forms of marketing.

Why Should I Get Involved?

Currently, nine out of 10 brands are using some form of influencer marketing. So, rather than deal with FOMO (fear of missing out), you can quickly jump on the train. The good news is that you don’t have to get an influencer with 10,000+ followers. But, if you check some of those, you’ll see that fewer than 50 people engage with the posts – it’s not about the followers but engagement.

Influencers with 1,000-5,000 followers can have higher engagement rates, and, in most cases, the more local or regional the influencer is, the better.

Who Should I Use?

Let’s go back to Wahlberg’s comment for some clues.

  • Find Some Who Loves Your Product.  Wahlberg also said, “I love cars…” You’ll want someone who has a history of love for driving, using, and supporting the automobile. Not every influencer will work, especially with younger influencers, so choose wisely.
  • Find Some Who Loves Your Brand.  Mark finished by saying, “…the chance to work with an iconic brand like Chevrolet inspired me to get involved.” If the influencer has an Instagram page full of trips to Europe with selfies in their Aston Martin DB, they may not be the best choice to rep your Honda CR-V. For example, even though Mark Wahlberg is a successful Hollywood movie star, his recent movie characters, and personal life show someone who is an excellent fit for the Chevrolet brand. In the case of choosing an influencer, image is everything.

Getting Started

As excellent as someone like Mark Wahlberg might be when influencing people to purchase your vehicle or services, you don’t need a national star. But you do need someone who interacts with you regularly.

Find someone Local. Collaborating with local influencers or celebrities will go a long way towards providing an authentic experience. A local influencer will be easy for you to monitor and verify that they’re credible and trustworthy. Remember that their image will reflect on you.

Have a plan. When you locate your influencers, discuss ways your vehicle and service offering could work with them. Then, decide to interact with them and show what you can offer to their followers. They’ll be happy to help you target the right audience.

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