Dear Socially Stephanie:
I work for an online car advertising company as the acting brand manager. I have a social media officer who reports to me. I was once told by the founder that we shouldn't do sales-related tweets on the company's Twitter page. What other content can you recommend we put there aside from traffic reports, funny car pictures and real-time celeb car stories?
Cruisin' in Kalamazoo
I feel your pain. While your founder is concerned about the brand image, and rightfully so, I think he may not be fully aware of the best practices for social media marketing. But fear not, once we're finished here, not only will you have a grasp of what's right and wrong for social media, you'll also be able to take some of the ideas and start your social engine. So, get your motor ready, because we're off to the races.
The first thing you need to know is that while you don't want to overly promote yourself or constantly push out sales-related tweets, it's not forbidden. You have to look at Twitter as an extension of your marketing and advertising communications. Imagine what your sales would look like if you never told anyone that you are offering a special deal on your latest car. It wouldn't fly now, would it? In fact, you probably wouldn't get an influx of visitors to the dealership like you would with a strong advertising campaign. Well, the same goes for Twitter. Of course, the first thing you need to do is build relationships, but the next is to advertise and get your cars out there to the public to entice them to come check you out. A good rule of thumb is to stick to the 80/20 rule: 80% engagement, 20% promotions.
If the engagement is going to pull your customers in, it needs to be strong. Car photos, memes, and celebrity shots will all work well. But you can actually go above and beyond and engage with your current customers and care enthusiasts. One company who totally rocks the car world is Jaguar. Take a look at their feed and you'll understand what I mean. They are constantly engaging with people who are avid Jaguar fans and drivers. They reshare their photos and put their customers and prospective customers first. And let me tell you something, it works like a charm. I truly believe Jaguar is a leader in online marketing, and by studying them your company can learn from the best.
Another thing Jaguar does extremely well is nurturing their ambassadors. Okay, I know from first hand experience. Last year I won a competition in which I was able to drive their new #FTYPE. It was an incredible experience in which Kelly Rowland and I took to the streets of Miami for an exclusive ride.
This is an example of a brand going above and beyond to make sure their ambassadors are happy, engaged and forever in love with their brand. You can take the same idea and apply it to your most engaged fans. By offering exclusivity you can be sure that your fans are going to do their job in promoting you for you. It's a win!
So now that you have your engagement strategy down, it's time to develop your online sales strategy. I recommend searching for people who are in the car market and engage with them directly. Yes, that means reaching out and talking to them on a one on one basis. While time-consuming, it is a surefire way to reach the people in the heart, which for a car buyer is extremely important.
And don't forget to utilize your other channels as well. Instagram is highly visual and for a car buyer, visuals make the sale. Use the correct hashtags and search for those that your customers and potential buyers will use. Engagement is key!
Well, there you have it. I'll see you at the finish line!
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Please email [email protected] and let Stephanie help you solve your social quandaries, queries, and boondoggles. (Questions may be edited for length and clarity.)
Illustration by Jesse Wells