There’s a lot of territory to cover when it comes to your dealership’s social media activity. The problems are a-plenty, and we see them every day. The wrong kind of content. Inconsistency and infrequency of posting. Misreading your audience on one platform versus another, delivering the wrong message in turn, and not taking the correct steps to grow those audiences.
But one of the biggest problems affecting dealerships is the lack of “social media listening” going on. Now, we’re not talking about observing your page metrics, mentions, industry trends, or gauging the effectiveness of a particular post or campaign. Despite being crucial practices (and we’ll get to all of them) those are all covered under the umbrella of “social media monitoring”.
So, what’s “social media listening”? It’s the act of understanding the intent behind any engagement, and properly reading the mood of your engaged audience members. And no, I’m not talking about “Karen”, and the fact that she insists on talking to your manager. I’m talking about the wider audience or prospective buyers and service customer, and the general perception of your dealership being built every day.
You may have heard the term “social media sentiment” – a gauge by which you can assess your content’s engagement be it positive, negative or neutral. And newsflash: a negative sentiment may not your biggest problem. In most cases, a neutral sentiment means you’re not making much of an impact at all, and it’s more common than you may think.
Take the all-too-familiar “Please join me in congratulating so-and-so on their new vehicle purchase” post, complete with awkward smiling salesman photo op. Oh yeah, you might get a heart reaction from the buyers themselves, a close friend or family member, maybe a share or two, but who cares? Unless you’re dangling a sub-prime lending carrot on a string, people without a personal stake in that sale are likely to be indifferent; and nothing about that kind of post (in its own) mobilizes another prospective buyer to pull the trigger on their purchase. From the general audience, that post is eliciting a neutral reaction. So why do so many dealerships make these posts a cornerstone of their social media content. It’s because they’re too busy talking, instead of listening to what people are saying…and not saying…that could help them to secure more business.
So, before you start planning your next week (or month) worth of social media content, let’s talk about five steps you can take to get out of that neutral zone.
Always Be Listening.
In other words, cast a wider “listening net” so that you’re paying attention across all platforms – and not just on your dealership’s profiles, either. Listen to what’s being said on the pages belonging to your OEM, your competitors, in influential enthusiast groups. Remember, WHAT they’re talking about IS important, but HOW and WHERE they’re saying it can help to really gauge its significance. Make it easy for yourself; start with Facebook, and build out from there.
Monitoring your competitors’ profiles should be standard operating procedure. Not only will it help you to see what they’re doing right and wrong, and what topics they’re covering to gain traction, but you might be surprised to find that it’s another place where your dealership’s name can come up in conversations.
Share Openly & Collaborate.
If you’re open to the insights and feedback that are right there for the taking, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to improve your operation, both departmentally and as a whole. This might require new strategies, collaboration between departments, or the enlistment of new talent. A perfect example for you do-it-yourselfers out there? Making sure that you’re building fresh blog and/or original video content around hot button topics, exciting new offerings, or buzz worthy industry news that you may have otherwise left untouched. This alone can pay off huge.
Adapt to What You Hear.
Trends come and go. 2020 is a perfect example of how topics that are important to us one day, can be swept aside the next day when a different topic steals the spotlight. You don’t have to follow every passing trend, but you need to be aware of what they are to determine which provide a natural opportunity to fuel organic engagement with your desired audience.
Remember the difference between “social media monitoring” and “social media listening”. Both are important, but metrics will only get you so far. At some point you need to step into the conversation, and be ready to do something with the new information you’ve received.
In the coming weeks, we’ll talk more about your dealership’s social media content, the motivation behind that content, your success at executing it, and the means by which you can promote it. Just make sure that – at the core of everything you do – your social media strategies aren’t tone deaf to what your audience is saying…and what they’re not saying.
So stay tuned. We have plenty more to come next Thursday, and every Thursday, right here on “Just the Tip”.