Look, I get it. I understand that it’s hard for vendors and OEMs to produce a social media solution for their dealers that scales properly while still bringing in good content. I do not, however, understand the concept of not even trying to mix things up. There’s an easy road and a hard road for automotive social media, but there’s also the right road, the one that scales properly while still maintaining individuality and creativity at the core of the service.
Facebook has a promise that it has made to businesses. It’s not an official promise in writing anywhere on the site. It’s an implied promise. “We have the attention of the masses. If you want to get in front of them, we’re the biggest game in town.”
I’m not a broken record, at least I’m not trying to be. It seems that I’ve covered this topic from different angles a lot lately, but it’s simply that important to understand. In business in general and in automotive marketing in particular, getting more Facebook fans is a very low priority compared to reaching more people.
Through two decades in the automotive industry (I think it might be three, technically, but I’m in denial), I can count on one hand the number of conferences I’ve truly supported. I speak at many events and attend a dozen a year, but I don’t truly support them. Some, like NADA (where I am right now writing this post) and SXSW (where I’ll be next month) are big enough that they simply don’t need my endorsement. Most could use any support they can get to expose them, but I often hold back.
This is Part 2 in a 5 part series. Read Part I here.
As we advance in social media strategies, one of the biggest challenges is getting traction. The rise of social signals in search marketing alone is enough of an incentive to make it happen even if you don’t believe in social media itself as a marketing tool. It is one, but now’s not the time to make that case. For now, the undisputed truth is that social media can help your dealership rank better in the search engines by sending social signals (Google +1s, Facebook likes, Twitter retweets, etc) to content on your website.
There is a rise in niche-level outsourced social media that is refreshing on one hand and discouraging on the other. It’s encouraging because when agencies take the stance of focusing on a single niche such as automotive or entertainment, they are able to build up several resources to make their jobs easier and the clients’ social media presence more robust. On the other hand, it allows many to create an assembly-line, one-size-fits-all mentality of automation that can actually hurt the clients.
There were several takeaways from Nielsen’s recent mobile study surrounding restaurants, travel, and the automotive industry, but the one that surprised me the most was that 43% of automotive searches on mobile devices were done to do price comparisons. The rise of mobile in our daily lives means that many of the activities that once tethered us to our desks at home or at work can now be done on the go, so I knew instinctively that the number of people comparing prices while out on the lot was probably high. I simply had no idea it was THAT high.
Like the Phoenix, the automotive industry has had ups and downs in its recent existence. Business was awful just a couple of years ago, but seems to have rebounded in 2010 and flourished so far in 2011. Will the trend continue?