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How can your dealership stay connected?

Face-to-face interaction is a great way to communicate, however in today’s fast-paced world, many of our interactions take place online. While it’s true in-person meetings offer the benefit of less misunderstandings, instant feedback, and meaningful social cues—like body language and eye contact—sometimes there’s still information that’s missed during an in-person encounter. For example, details can be forgotten, extra information glossed over, or a post-meeting follow-up can be needed.

As more consumers go mobile and look toward social networking for their communication needs, it makes sense for dealerships to also look in this direction for new and efficient ways to stay in touch. Not only does social media link you with your consumers and potential shoppers, it’s a great way to stay in touch with employees and other industry professionals. As the largest social media site, more businesses are turning to Facebook as a way of reaching their customers with quality content and relevant industry information. A way of staying in contact and keeping your dealership front of mind with consumers, social media is not just for individuals posting cat pictures; it’s for consumers who are sharing product information, shoppers who are researching their next purchases, and companies that are expanding their reach via online social circles. 

Outside Employee Interaction

Communication has evolved from something that used to be contained within the four walls of a dealership office to what is now an online social phenomenon. With social media, dealerships are capable of contacting a large number of people with just one post from anywhere. For example, if you forgot to mention an important sales detail in your last meeting, you could simply post a status about it in your Facebook group. It’s like an old-school memo, but people can see it on their individual devices on their own time.

Another benefit is the ability to provide feedback in the comments section. If an employee felt uncomfortable mentioning something in a live meeting setting or had last-minute thoughts or suggestions, he or she has an outlet for sharing. This lowers this risk of poor communication, and it also allows people to go back through previous posts to look for any information they may have forgotten.

As technology gets smarter, in-house messaging also allows employees to stay connected regarding important work issues that need to be communicated throughout the day. By setting up group messaging and sharing information between employees, communication grows stronger and information is organized into one centralized location. 

Online Shopping

Shoppers are constantly online looking for the best deals, and with the upsurge in mobile technology, no one wants to spend time flipping through ads or visiting individual dealerships. In fact, most customers now conduct their research online, and by catching their attention with a social media post, you’ll have a better chance of being included in their research. A great post will draw them in, but easily accessible information will keep them with you. Ensure both the dealership’s profile and your own profile are clean and easy to read, and post links to your website or other social media platforms that offer more detailed information.

Dealerships that are succeeding in this area know they need to pique consumer interest and add value by fulfilling a need—possibly even a need consumers aren’t aware exists. By positioning themselves as experts in the industry and providing guidance, knowledge, and advice to consumers who may or may not be in the market to buy immediately, dealerships are able to convey concern for shopper wellbeing. Ensure your website is mobile friendly and contains the following things in order to garner consumer interest and drive traffic:

  • Research articles. Educate consumers regarding what’s going on in the marketplace with new vehicles, maintenance schedules, and repair tips. Any guidance you can provide, while avoiding a hard sell, places you in the position of trusted advisor—and they’ll seek you out, both for informationand when it’s time to purchase or look for service.
  • Consider posting videos of customer testimonials or live feedback. Consumers would rather place their trust in individuals who’ve shopped with you, rather than in your word alone; so get some of your best customers to talk about their great experiences with your dealership—then share with potential shoppers online.
  • Lot walk-throughs. It’s one thing to scroll through a website looking at inventory, but live shots with knowledgeable professionals pointing out selling features are appealing as consumers lean more and more toward online video. Consider including walk-throughs as part of your online outreach efforts, and you’ll see increased consumer interest in what you have to offer.
  • Reviews and comparisons. Shoppers do a majority of their research online before they even step onto your lot, and not surprisingly, they are overwhelmingly looking for vehicle reviews and comparisons. Ensure your online site keeps these up to date and makes them easily accessible so that shoppers don’t go elsewhere for valuable information.

With a highly intelligent, integrated system, dealerships can engage shoppers on multiple levels with content that is timely and targeted at exactly the topics that interest them at the moment. For example, the FuzeCast calendaring systemis able to track OEM initiatives, such as Truck Month, and post relevant, professionally curated articles to reinforce the topic in consumers’ minds. Additionally, custom posts, such as videos, images of new inventory, and customer testimonials can be scheduled to align with the ongoing topic. When dealerships utilize this comprehensive calendaring tool to help them organize and align content, they will be able to continually expand their reach while reinforcing brand messaging across a variety of platforms. To ensure a smooth, user-friendly experience, be sure to invite potential customers to do even more research on your website—and be sure it’s well-designed, easy-to-use, and mobile-friendly, too.

You’ll position yourself as the expert and facilitate consumer interaction with your products and services when you provide content that’s easy to access, timely, and targeted to their specific needs. Whether they are in-market at that exact moment—or whether they’re merely doing research—your expertise in the field will turn you into their go-to dealership when the time comes to shop.

Build Relationships

Building relationships with your customers is necessary in order to achieve success as a dealership. Prior to physically shopping at your dealership, customers will likely shop online via your dealership’s Facebook page, or even by scanning your own personal profile. They aren’t necessarily looking for information on cars, though. They want to know who they’re going to be working with and what kind of shopping experience they should anticipate. This is your chance to make a great first impression, and the more comfortable a customer feels when walking into your dealership, the more pleasant experience they will have.

How do you approach your customers online? It’s simple: provide quick, reliable answers to their questions and be a quality source of industry information. Most shoppers who reach out to dealerships with questions are looking for quick answers, so the faster you can answer, the more likely you are to gain a potential buyer. Everyone knows today’s customers don’t like to wait, and you’ll stand out from the crowd when you provide fast, accurate information.

Additionally, when you provide quality content that educates consumers regarding industry-specific topics they’re interested in, they’ll look to you as an expert in the field. By consistently providing valuable, relevant content, you’ll be actively building your brand in the eyes of shoppers, and your dealership will benefit in the long run.

Complete the Online Circle

As you are aware, there are other dealerships out there; so it’s good to keep in mind that outside companies could help your dealership. There are many networking opportunities out there, and with social media on your side, connecting with these resources is easier than ever. There are groups to join, accounts to follow, and videos to share—all of which will help you expand your dealership’s social circles, link you with shoppers, and keep you connected with consumers.

Social media is dominating the sales world, and knowing how to use it to benefit your dealership will be crucial in maximizing sales and reaching your consumer audience. Stay connected and interact with your online audience, and you’ll be moving in the right direction when it comes to growing your dealership’s brand.

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