Automotive Marketing Inundated with Social Media Use


J.D. Power blog

Con­sumers have flocked to social media in recent years. Accord­ing to the J.D. Power & Asso­ciates 2012 Social Media Usage Study, par­tic­u­larly in the auto industry.

Social media com­pletely changed the auto mar­ket­ing dynamics.

Con­sumers have flocked to social media in recent years. Accord­ing to the J.D. Power & Asso­ciates 2012 Social Media Usage StudySM, slightly more than 90% of U.S. adults who are online use a social net­work­ing site.

As a result of this con­sumer inter­est in social media, com­pa­nies are rac­ing to embrace the medium as well. Accord­ing to For­tune mag­a­zine, 73% of For­tune 500 com­pa­nies had an active Twit­ter account in 2012 (up from just 11% in 2011), and 66% of these com­pa­nies main­tain a cor­po­rate Face­book page (up from 8% in 2011).

Even with these high adop­tion rates, how­ever, there is lit­tle con­sen­sus about how com­pa­nies should max­i­mize the oppor­tu­ni­ties social media pro­vide, or what con­sumers are expect­ing to obtain from these inter­ac­tions. More­over, there is no clear direc­tion about how to inter­act in a way that con­sumers pre­fer. The result is an online world of frag­mented social media con­tent and inter­ac­tions, with com­pa­nies search­ing to under­stand and fill the needs of consumers.

Social media has pro­foundly changed the com­mu­ni­ca­tion dynamic between com­pa­nies and con­sumers. Whereas com­pa­nies used to be able to ini­ti­ate and con­trol the seller-buyer con­ver­sa­tion via tele­vi­sion, print, radio, and bill­board adver­tis­ing, social media now allows con­sumers to quickly and inex­pen­sively ini­ti­ate a conversation—sharing thoughts, opin­ions, expe­ri­ences, audio, visu­als, etc.—and then con­trol the course of the dis­cus­sion. To bet­ter under­stand their cus­tomers, and pro­tect their own brand rep­u­ta­tions, com­pa­nies need to track social media con­ver­sa­tion, and be able to respond as required.

Accord­ing to the 2013 Social Media Bench­mark Study, 61% of auto­mo­tive con­sumers who use social media to resolve a prob­lem (or have an inquiry answered) go directly to an auto brand’s social media sites. As a result, automak­ers need to be ready to respond and empower their rep­re­sen­ta­tives to act. Over time, social media could develop into an impor­tant tool for effi­ciently serv­ing cus­tomers, per­haps one day sur­pass­ing the tele­phone, inter­ac­tive voice response (IVR) sys­tems, and websites.