Sourcing, Creating Content for Social Marketing
For any great accomplishment, either in business or personal, someone must “sweat the details”. Many people have the ability to conceptualize great ideas, but the essence of effective execution lies in the specific details that must be handled. Such is the case with social media marketing, where recognizing the importance and creating a Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest page is only accomplishing the conceptual phase. The “devil will be in the details” of creating a steady stream of solid content that will help you build and nurture a community of fans.
For the past several years social media marketing looked like this: 1) Facebook page created 2) Traditional or digital advertisements posted onto pages. 3) Irresponsible person at dealership is given logins; posts objectionable content and is soon afterwards fired. 4) Dealer gives up and Facebook page goes dormant. In many conversations with dealers, some variation of this story is shared, along with the opinion that social media cannot sell cars and is therefore a waste of time. This is a shame since the failures were not in the concept of the importance of business social media pages; they were in the details of effective execution. In most cases it comes down to dealers not knowing what the right type of social content they need, or how to go about obtaining it. It is an established fact that consumers spend massive amounts of time on social networks (especially on mobile devices); dealers cannot ignore this fact and simply give up.
It has been said repeatedly (and I agree) that the right balance of social content is 80% focused on your fans’ needs and wants, and 20% promoting your brand or product offering. I think this 80/20 rule may be the same balance you might have in a casual real-world cocktail conversation with a potential business prospect. You might spend most of the conversation discussing industry trends, the economy, sports, kids, vacations, and only touch on your business offerings occasionally as the opportunity arises. Consumers know dealers are in business to make money, but if you first build trust and help entertain or educate your fan base; you’ll earn the right to occasionally tell them about a great special you are offering.
Ok, so we know we’re allowed to talk about the business about 20% of the time, that part is easy since dealers have experience developing ads. The troubling part is the 80% of content needed that will not be business-related but needs to be funny, relevant, or educational to help build community. Where will this content come from? One of the easiest approaches is to simply endorse other content. Share an automotive-related article that you truly think your fan base would find interesting. You could also dig up some historical photos of the dealership and post those on Throwback Thursday (#TBT). How about sharing tips on car ownership? You could create a video on how to change your own oil, or prepare a car for snow and winter? Don’t forget your online reviews. Find someone who has posted a positive review for you, and ask him or her if they are will to share this (and tag your dealership) on Facebook.
Remember in school being told to talk less and listen more? The same rule applies to effective business use of social media. We can’t only post information, but we must also spend a fair amount of time listening. Listening on social media can take many forms, but it is watching what other successful dealers are posting on their pages. It could be using twitter.com/search to find people who are in-market for buying a car. It could also be listening to comments and questions posted on your pages and responding to them quickly and thoughtfully. Your fans (and others) will be watching this content and admiring you if personal responses are posted. After all, we are all humans and your fans want to see the human side of your store.
Is creating, posting and responding to great social content easy? It is not, but it is absolutely essential to effective social media marketing. Keep in mind this great content can also be shared on your website or email newsletters, since the needs are very similar. A strong community of friends, fans, and advocates awaits you, and this community is spending more and more time on social media. Yes, someone will have to sweat these details, but I promise the payoff will be well worth it.