According to a research study by Russell Herder and Ethos Business Law, 14% of executives are unsure of social media, yet many continue to spend on it as part of their overall marketing or communications campaign. Almost none have utilized social media networks for their real value proposition; none have taken advantage of the gold mine of leads that they hide. It’s time for you to wake up to the big data store they provide.
1. Fly with your eyes open
Many companies chase social media tactics with no idea about the who, what, when and where of the social web. It’s essential that automotive companies first to develop a listening program to answer those “W” questions. It is critical to understand brand, competitors and key terms relevant to your audience on the social web. Without a smart listening effort, companies miss key opportunities: marketing, sales, brand management, and analytics for business decision-making.
2. Assign ownership and ask for ROI
As companies develop their social media programs, responsibilities and resources need to be allocated that lead to accountability and “ownership”. For successful social media usage within organizations, it’s important to establish social media goals and responsibilities in different parts of the organization. As resources and accountability are identified, the different departments (automotive sales, automotive servicing, automotive financing, collision centers, parts & accessories, etc.) can work to cross-pollinate efforts, and work together as a team.
3. Participate consistently and in a planned manner
Automotive companies need to be consistent with their social participation just as they are with their promotional campaigns. The solution to more consistent participation is to lead from the top, get executive buy-in. Establish goals and provide a feedback loop to contributors. Set aside resources, plan who will publish content, monitor and engage. Tap passionate fans and activate them to be brand ambassadors. Now, more than ever, is the time to show leadership and conviction when it comes to social participation and engagement.
4. Be smart with data from social web
With a wealth of information readily available online, consumers are now able to make decisions and compare products, services and prices—without even stepping into brick-and-mortar stores like vehicle dealerships and Body Shops. In order for automotive organizations to capitalize on these and other changes in the industry, they need ways to collect, manage and analyze a tremendous volume, variety, velocity and veracity of data. If the automotive industry succeeds in addressing the challenges of “big data,” they can use this data to generate valuable insights for personalizing marketing and improving the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, optimizing promotional decisions, and removing inefficiencies in distribution and operations.
5. Personalize your efforts
Use real team members in your social media campaign and lead generation efforts. Don’t use some faceless person behind “Brand X”. Forge 1:1 relationships with your potential customers. Embrace individuals; don’t worry about resource-intensive “hand-holding” or high-touch marketing. You have the tools to do that now. If 20 minutes in a week can get you leads qualified to the buying-readiness stage, then the ROI is right there staring at you. In the end, companies can win on the social web by developing a strategy, experimenting and iterating. And if you get lost, you can always get help..