Social Media Implications From Dealer.com
The rise of social media has broad implications for retail businesses, especially the automotive sector. Consumers now have the ability to broadcast their opinions and recommendations to their networks via social media.
To understand the effect of social media on dealers and manufacturers, DriverSide and Dealer.com partnered with GfK Automotive Research to study the impact of social media on the automotive shopping process.
The organizations surveyed nearly 2,000 U.S.-based consumers who had recently purchased a new car, or who were planning to purchase one within 12 months and had started shopping. The findings from the survey reveal just how much consumers are influenced by the advice and advocacy of others via social media channels in making their purchase decisions.
In this report, we outline the Five Fundamentals – five concrete steps that both new car dealerships and manufacturers need to follow in order to leverage social media to maximize loyalty, advocacy and influence.
- Step 1: Embrace Social Media as a Vital Communications Channel
Social media and networks are the new marketplace for both manufacturers and dealers. It is therefore critical that businesses consider social media programs with the same authenticity and seriousness with which they approach other areas of the business
- Step 2: Ask Prospective Customers to Like/Friend/Follow You
Step 2 seems almost too simple to include, but asking friends or prospects to friend or follow the dealership or brand is the critical step to building a solid social network. Yet too many often fail to take this step.
- Step 3: Create Content That Drives Consideration and Sales Among New Customers
Our research uncovered the type of content consumers want to see on social media channels while they are shopping for their new vehicle. In addition to transparent and prompt interaction, dealers and manufacturers need to provide content that appeals to consumers and that will help drive consideration for the brand, model and dealership.
- Step 4: Create Content That Drives Loyalty and Advocacy Among Owners
64% of consumers believe they need to have a passion for a brand first in order to engage that brand on social media. Consumers who have signaled the ultimate affinity for a vehicle brand via their purchase present a golden opportunity for dealers and OEMs to engage and nurture them after they drive their new vehicle off the lot.
- Step 5: Leverage Social Media to Break into the Consideration of Loyalists and Encourage Competitive Switching
Remember that 41% of those who consider themselves loyal to a brand are open to switching to a new brand if it’s more compelling. In addition to using social media to build loyalty, manufacturers and dealers should use it to lure customers away from others. Dealers should offer services and incentives that are both convenient and valuable to attract new customers.