Automotive Marketing Inundated with Social Media Use

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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.

 

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