Monthly Archives: October 2012

What The Merovingian Can Teach You About Marketing – Automotive Marketing Professionals

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
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Larry Bruce writes: “Facebook or Adwords is not a choice; it’s a question of message and intent…the “WHY”of it all.

What Ford and Scott Monty knows, that GM doesn’t, is that people don’t go to Facebook to find Ford or to find out “What’s going on at Ford”? The truth is, they don’t care!  People go on Facebook to keep up with friends and family and to discover things that are important to them, in other words, the “WHY” of what makes them visit a page. Ford and Scott Monty’s team do a terrific job of producing content with that intent, the “Why” of it all, in mind.  People go on Google and other search engines to find things, that is their intent, their “WHY” and smart marketers buy keywords and write ads with that intent in mind. It’s a “WHY” question NOT a “WHAT” question…  It shouldn’t be “WHAT” are your goals from the platform?

But…  WHY are they there?  And more importantly, how can your message fit the visitor’s “why”?  The Merovingian would be proud!” Please use the link provided to read Larry’s entire article, view the video he included and leave a comment… RP

 

via What The Merovingian Can Teach You About Marketing – Automotive Marketing Professionals.

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Content Marketing Comprehensive Guidelines and Tactics for Car Dealers – Automotive Marketing

 

Recently, I was conducting research on the various rules around content marketing and the sharing of blog posts, videos, images and other online information resources across various media channels. While doing so, I came across two fascinatingly detailed and comprehensive articles that clearly lay out what car dealers must do to have effective content marketing strategies.

 

One of those two articles is: How Content Marketing Will Enhance Your Social Media and SEO Strategy published on the Teir10Lab blog site, and the other article is a treasure trove of details with links to complete articles describing exactly how to execute each item in the action list. This comprehensive guide is titled the “Content Marketing Codex” from Demian Farnworth at CopyBlogger.  

 

For many ADM members, this may be a little too much information and detail, but for those of you who are realizing how effective content marketing can be when it comes to attracting the very best customers a dealership can hope for, this is a high value guide to what needs to get done in order to optimize how well your dealership’s automotive content marketing strategy will work.

 

Each of the colorful and eye catching infographics/charts I’ve included in this ADM forum post can be clicked to view in full resolution.  The very first infographic at the top of this post is from Tier10 Marketing. I want to highly encourage you to read the Tier10 Marketing article on Content Marketing for Car Dealers written by Elizabeth Frey at http://tier10lab.com/2012/05/30/how-content-marketing-enhances-soci…

Just like the author says at the end; what (if anything) is missing from the Tier10 Marketing article referenced and this exhaustive and already detailed, linked and resourced guide re-posted on ADM? 

–Ralph Paglia

via Content Marketing Comprehensive Guidelines and Tactics for Car Dealers – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Why Dealer Facebook Fans Hide Posts At Shockingly High Rates – Automotive Social Marketing

Why Dealer Facebook Fans Hide Posts At Shockingly High Rates

 

The article shown further down was originally published by Fast Company and has been getting a lot of attention from a wide audience, including many business executives and leaders outside of social media marketing circles.  The author touches on the subject of chasing “Fan Count” more than measuring “engagement”. However, I believe that the issues around the need for improving rates of customer engagement within a car dealer’s social media marketing strategy are more directly addressed by understanding the data shown in the chart on the left… The disparity between what marketing professionals THINK that customers want and what the customers actually say they want is illustrated by the varying red and black bar graph data points.

It is no surprise to anyone who has been a member of the ADM Professional Community that an author would be calling for “maximizing fan engagement”, in my opinion we have thrown the word “engagement” around like chips at a Las Vegas Poker Room, what we need to better understand is what the drivers behind increased consumer engagement really are, and which ones are relevant to car dealers. 

It is also no surprise that your dealership’s most loyal customers will “Like” your Facebook Page out of sheer loyalty… But beyond that core group of your most loyal customers, who are certainly VERY important and your Facebook posts should address their needs, what will everyone else respond to?

For example, when asked, most automotive consumers expect some fairly simple and predictable things from being a Fan (Like) a car dealer’s Facebook Page:

  • Service Coupons that save them money
  • Special Offers on Accessories that save them money
  • Discount Promotions on new and used vehicles that save them money 

Now, I am the first person to suggest that dealers communicate a lot more than promotional offers, discounts and service coupons, but I will also suggest that we do not ignore what the marketing research indicates over and over again… Provide value to your dealership’s Facebook Fans in the form of money saving discounts, offers and promotions. 

I have re-posted the Fast Company article below for your review and consideration:

Your Facebook Fans Are Hiding Your Posts At An Alarming Rate

For far too long marketers focused on maximizing fan count instead of maximizing fan engagement, and now we’re paying the price–to the tune of users who block all of your page’s updates. Here are the (bleak) statistics and what you can do about them.

We are all counting numbers around our communities. After all, a thousand fans looks better than a hundred. But have you personally ever hid a post from a brand you’re a fan of? And have you, as a marketer, ever wondered how many of your fans do the same thing?

There are four types of negative feedback on Facebook ranging from undesirable, to worst for a marketer, starting with:

  • Hide: hides a single specific post from the user’s newsfeed
  • Hide All: hides all the posts by that page from the user’s newsfeed. This used to be known as “unsubscribing.”
  • Unlike Page: “unfan” the page
  • Report spam: user thinks your page is spam

Negative feedback means your content isn’t aligned with your fan base. That doesn’t always mean your content is bad–sometimes you are delivering great content to the wrong audience. Or sometimes you are simply posting too frequently and overwhelming the users.

The importance of this metric seems to be dangerously underestimated by marketers.

I was curious how frequently fans take any of the above actions, so I asked the team at PageLever if they could share some benchmarks. PageLever is a Facebook analytics tool that provides much deeper insights than Facebook’s native Insights. They currently measure more than 1 billion Facebook fans across thousands of fan pages; so I consider their benchmarks to be pretty accurate. (Disclosure: Intel is a customer)

What they found was rather interesting: 98% of post views generate no negative feedback. But the other 2% of the time a fan responds with some form of negative feedback:


(Note: The Y-axis on negative feedback over time uses a logarithmic scale. A linear scale made it impossible to see the Report Spam and Unlike Page because they were so small compared to Hiding Posts.)

Results from the data:

  • 1 out of 50 post views gets a negative response
  • Facebook fans are most likely to block ALL your page stories when they take a negative feedback action, 60 times more likely than unfanning your page. Which means that just because your brand has a lot of fans doesn’t mean all those fans are seeing the page content. Some fans may have just hidden the page.
  • Fans are more likely to report a post as spam than to unlike the page.
  • Why do 2% of fans unsubscribe?

For far too long marketers focused on maximizing fan count instead of maximizing fan engagement, and now we’re paying the price. This has nothing to do with Facebook’s algorithms and has everything to do with content marketers put in front of their fans…in many cases content our fans don’t want to see.

What can marketers do to ensure that fans engage with them instead of hiding their content?

Your fans will remain loyal as long as the content remains relevant and expectations for frequency are met.

1) Focus your fan acquisition efforts on quality fans rather than quantity fans.

Identify your ideal fans-–those are the folks who will truly engage with you because they love your product and your brand. Accept that a portion of your existing fans may no longer be interested in what you have to say, and don’t get frustrated if your unsubscribe rates are temporarily higher than this average of 2%. It may just mean that you need a different set of fans, not a new content strategy.

2) Stay on-topic with your content.

Even the most loyal fan will leave after reading 10 off-topic posts in a row. Be humble enough to admit you don’t always know what your fans want to read–so ask what they want to see.
Whether you run a poll or simply pose a question, it’s worth doing this at least once a quarter. Once you receive the feedback ensure you act on it, and adjust your content strategy according to those findings.

In addition, track your metrics very closely to see which posts not only are getting the most engagement, but the most organic virality. Those are the topics that resonate.

3) Match your fans’ expectations for posting frequency.

How to time your Facebook posts to reach the most fans is a perennially popular topic, but just like an email list, it’s easy to wear out your fans, even with good content. My recommendation is post once a day. If you have an event that offers a lot of good information, go for several times a day for several days of the event, but not more than that.

4) Tweak your copy so it’s recognizably your brand voice.

Sometimes the problem isn’t that the content is off-topic, but that it’s off-voice. Your brand has a unique voice which your fans know and appreciate, so make sure your posts are phrased in a way your customers expect. And don’t forget that you are human, so write like a human, not like a PR professional.

5) Experiment.

Finally, don’t be afraid to try new content, new format, and new approaches. You might be surprised what types of posts your fans might react to in the most positive way. The key with experimentation is not just trying new things, but measuring the results and adjusting in real time.

–Ekaterina Walter is Intel’s social media strategist. Follow her @Ekaterina.

[Image: Flickr user Staci Myers]

Source: www.FastCompany.com

via Why Dealer Facebook Fans Hide Posts At Shockingly High Rates – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Wall Clutter and Pushy Sales Efforts Discourage Customers from Liking Dealer Facebook Pages

English: Graph of social media activities

English: Graph of social media activities (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wall Clutter and Pushy Sales Efforts Discourage Customers from Liking Dealer Facebook Pages

Excessive Frequency of Posts, Fear of Unwanted Contact by Sales People Discourage Car Dealership Likes On Facebook

Social media users who don’t like Car Dealers on Facebook are primarily deterred by newsfeed clutter (47%), while many don’t want to be contacted (36%) or are concerned about their privacy (30%), finds Lab42 in September 2012 survey results.

Irrelevant Content Clutter was also the culprit for unliking Dealer Facebook Pages: among the 73% who have done so, dealers posting too frequently was the top reason why. March 2012 survey results from Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB) and Constanct Contact similarly found that over-communication was a leading turnoff for Facebook likers.

Dealership Discounts and Promotional Offers Drive Likes More Than Loyalty

Overall, the Lab42 study finds that 87% of the social media users surveyed like business pages on Facebook. When asked their biggest motivator for doing so, these respondents cited promotions and discounts most often (34%), followed by free giveaways (21%). Loyalty and business trust were cited by 14% and 11% respectively. 77% of respondents who liked businesses on Facebook reported having saved money as a result of their likes.

Still, 46% have liked a business from which they had no intention of buying. Asked why, 52% of this segment reported having liked the business for a free item, while 46% said they couldn’t afford the products, and 24% that they liked the business to help out a friend.

Even so, most social media users appear to truly wish to connect with car dealers and other businesses via Facebook. Of those who like a car dealership’s Facebook Page, 82% believe that Facebook is a good place to interact with those businesses. 3 in 4 feel more connected to the business on Facebook, and 35% feel that the car dealers and business owners listen to them on Facebook. This preference for engagement on Facebook is supported by the June 2012 results from an Allstate/National Journal survey, which found that 64% of social media users want to see an increase in companies using social media to respond to customer questions and c….

Embarrassment Does Not Discourage Car Dealer Facebook Likes

The Lab42 survey also finds that some product categories discourage likes. 22% of respondents reported having been too embarrassed to like a certain business or brand, most often in the categories of adult novelties, weight loss products and health and wellness products. Car Dealers were not found to be a source of embarrassment and this factor does not influence their Facebook Likes.

The overall results reveal that the leading ways by which car dealers can get non-likers to like them on Facebook are through more giveaways; posting less often; and letting consumers hide the fact that they like the business.

But, car dealers and other businesses may see little value from that engagement, particularly from young social network users. April 2012 survey results from a group of professors showed that almost 7 in 10 Millennials who like a business on Facebook rarely o…, while a February 2012 report from Ehrenberg-Bass Institute revealed that just 1% of Facebook users who like big brands such as Procter & Gamble or Coca-Cola actually engage with those brands.

About The Data: The Lab42 data is derived from a survey of 1000 social media users.

Data Source: www.marketingcharts.com

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Creating Your Social Marketing Strategy: Defining the Functional Requirements

Social Media Marketing Strategy: Defining the Functional Requirements for Car Dealers

 


I was reading a few recent Social Media related posts on ADM and realized that depending on who you ask, the definitions of what an “Automotive Social Media Marketing” strategy should entail can be quite different.  

 

For example, there are those that believe if you have a decent Facebook Page, then your dealership has covered the Social Media Marketing gamut (wrong)… Then on the other extreme, there are those that profess a need to have the dealership’s name secured as a profile on 300+ social media type networks, with content then published to every single one of those sites on a regular basis… and ONLY then will you have it covered for your dealership (wrong again). What I have learned while creating and assisting in the creation of automotive social media marketing (SMM) strategies for car companies, dealer groups, single-point dealers and automotive vendors is that an effective Automotive SMM Strategy is both comprehensive and clearly defined around a combination of software tools, workflow processes, content creation, customer engagement, targeted social networks, dealership brand protection, monitoring and the roles and responsibilities of those assigned to execute the tasks which support the strategy… As well as those who are designated to monitor, supervise and evaluate their execution of those tasks as an ongoing dealership management function.

 

The purpose of this ADM Professional Community Forum discussion is to serve as a “Living Document” based on the specific objectives around defining what a comprehensive “Automotive Social Media Marketing Strategy” for a car dealer should either include or consider.  

 

In order to keep this discussion focused and confined to a manageable space, and specific to the marketing role of social media, let’s save Dealership Reputation Management for its own separate discussion.

 

I will start this off by listing the functional areas that I have personally seen included up to the current point in time and hope to get your input and feedback on describing areas that should also be included in the practice of social media marketing for car dealers and car companies.  

  • Dealership Account and Profile Management – Combination of services, tools and apps that enable automotive marketers to manage/create their accounts and dealership profiles across multiple social media platforms (see http://Knowem.com). Services and systems selected should allow dealers to create, develop, refine and publish information and content into their profiles across multiple social media properties and networks (e.g., your Facebook brand page, YouTube brand channel, LinkedIn Groups, Pinterest account, Slideshare, etc.). 

  • Marketing Communications (MarCom) Management – Suppliers and systems to be considered as part of a dealer’s social media strategy should provide a comprehensive bundle of services and tools to create status updates and messaging, designate distribution points and automate the scheduling and posting of these messages/updates across various social sites. Both the practice of, and the tools used should facilitate the management of filtering and flagging (e.g., to remove profanity, block repeat offenders and competitor shills, etc.). MarCom management services or software features should include real-time message tracking with reach and engagement analytics. A great example of a system of tools that create a software based platform for professional automotive marketers is Wildfire, which is a platform I became familiar with while using it at Tier10 Marketing and which has recently been acquired by Google.  Here is a video that describes what the Wildfire platform is about: 

  • Campaign Management – Dealers should seek service providers and software systems that provide the ability to create, quickly deploy, track and measure business promotional campaigns. Selected service providers and software systems should provide campaign management related applications across multiple social sites, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, Slideshare and Pinterest. As part of an effective social media marketing strategy, car dealers should seek out both service providers and software apps that contain prebuilt campaign and promotion templates that support a wide variety of campaign types, including coupons, service loyalty rewards, equity targeting, vehicle exchange programs, sweepstakes, contests, charitable fund raising, pick a favorite, brand history quizzes, etc.

 

  • Social Media Advertising (SMA) Management – As part of an effective social media strategy for car dealers, any suppliers or software platforms considered should provide and enables dealer based professional marketers to manage the full range of paid advertising functions across multiple social networks, including profile demographic research, ad campaign budget planning, actual advertising space purchases, campaignoptimization and automated rotation and testing of multi-variate creative content. Software systems and solution providers should provide real-time ad performance tracking and analytics because they are a critically important part of making social media advertising as effective as possible from an ROI perspective. Although known for their auto industry leading Google Search Engine Advertising (SEA) campaign management and bid optimization technology, the Marin Software system is an amazingly effective software platform for optimizing visitor to dealer-contact conversion rates and the ROI dealers receive from their Facebook Advertising campaigns. As an example of what dealers should seek in their SMM strategy relevant to SMA campaign management, here is a video from Marin: 

  • Content Creation – An effective social media marketing (SMM) strategy must include either internal resources or outside suppliers for creating assets suitable for publishing and distribution in multiple formats, include text, image and video. An example of a cost effective professionally written article creation resource for car dealers that I have personally used for many dealers is http://www.textbroker.com/ . When looking at the landscape of social media based networks, the site infrastructure is the framework and the content added to that framework by car dealers is the substance that makes social media marketing effective on any level.  The analogy wold be that the social media network (ie: Facebook, YouTube, Slideshare, etc.) is the engine, and the content uploaded, posted and published by the dealer is the fuel that powers the engine. SMM software, apps and platforms considered by car dealers must have the capability of handling, storing and cataloging content so that it can be readily distributed to targeted social media accounts and channels, then re-purposed and reused for future opportunities, and easily referenced by dealership employees. Since the late 1990’s I have used dozens of strategies, tactics and workflow processes to create high-value unique, dealer owned and copyrighted article and website content for car dealers. I have never had more success with a content management platform or creation resource for text based article content than while using TextBroker.com for the past two years. Here is a video testimonial specific to the auto industry from a business owner who used TextBroker.com for his automotive website and content creation needs:

     

  • Video Asset Management (VAM) – Although this Automotive Social Media Marketing strategic category could be partially addressed by the “Content Creation” section, Video is a specialized area that should be specifically addressed in detail when creating your dealership’s SMM strategy.  The management of video assets distributed by automotive retailers across multiple social media channels presents unique challenges. However, the effectiveness as measured on many levels, including ROI is so great that Video Asset Management MUST become a key component of your SMM strategy. Within the auto industry there has been an emergence of three primary VAM tactical execution models:

    1. Dealer DIY Video Creation and Distribution – The “Do It Yourself” approach to VAM should be part of any dealer’s SMM strategy at some level.  This is a human resource intensive tactical execution approach requiring specific dealership employees to be assigned the daily, weekly, monthly tasks of recording, editing, uploading and distributing videos shot onsite at the dealership.  There is a wealth of evidence, including the success of the ADM Video Marketing Editor, Ken Beam at Douglas Motors VW and Infiniti. With over 125,000 video views and hundreds of vehicles sold as a result of Ken Beam’s dedication to video marketing, it is worth checking out the Douglas VW YouTube Channel. In addition to Ken beam, there are hundreds of highly effective and successful video marketing specialists working at dealerships across North America.  Elise Kephart, Tim Jennings and many others have embraced VAM tactics done onsite at dealerships endorsed by notable automotive consultants such as Jim Ziegler, Ralph Paglia and Brian Pasch.  Here is a YouTube video from Jason Lancaster where he describes what he learned from Tim Jennings about dealers being capable of doing their own video marketing:


    2. Automated Inventory Videos – These are “pseudo videos” created by panning across and zooming in on multiple still images taken for the online vehicle inventory listings, frequently supplied by photography service providers such as Dealer Specialties.  The hey day for these types of automated video creation from still image programs may have passed as consumers have become far too savvy to be satisfied by “fake videos”. My guidance would be to resist this sort of technology trickery which no longer fools anyone and hold out for newer systems such as what George Nenni from Dealer Specialties described as being in advanced pilot program development. New programs will make use of established networks of dealer inventory photographers to train and equip them to quickly and efficiently create actual video recordings of vehicles in dealership inventory. Regardless of how your dealership executes Cehicle Presentation Videos (VPV) they have been proven so effective that no SMM strategy can be considered complete without addressing the need for a tactical blueprint around creating a steady supply of fresh VPV’s on a daily basis. As a point of reference, here is an inventory “Pan and Zoom” video created using an automated system that relies on dealer’s website inventory photos:


    3. Video SEO Service Providers – The third major category of VAM tactics that dealers should consider including within their overall SMM strategy are the full service Video SEO service providers such as Car-Mercial.  I use Car-Mercial as a Video SEO Service Provider example because I have spent enough time working directly with AJ LeBlanc (owner) and his team of Video Marketing pros to know that their services and product offers a tremendous ROI value to dealers.  Much of this value comes in the form of Search Engine Results Page (SERP) listing real estate for the videos they create and host on behalf of their dealer clients, and the traffic this drives into dealership showrooms, websites and incoming phone calls. However, the Video SEO Service Provider approach should not be relied upon as the sole means of establishing a dealer’s SMM video strategy.  This type of service relies on the provider creating and publishing relevant keyword optimized videos across networks and channels controlled by the supplier, which does not include the social media video accounts owned and controlled by the dealer. As effective as this approach has proven to be, dealers need to supplement outsourced Video SEO services with some level of video creation and publishing to social media accounts, profiles and channels that are branded, owned and controlled by the dealership.  

    With that said, high value and low cost service providers such as Car-Mercial can effectively handle the “heavy lifting” of a dealer’s VAM strategy, thereby reducing the work load on internal resources substantially… Certainly, the workload reduction is far more than the equivalent labor hours that could be purchased by the dealer with the cost of the outsourced Video SEO services.  Here is a video from my friends at Car-Mercial, who I admire, respect, endorse and recommend to dealers:
          

    How to make Dealer DIY Video Creation and Distribution more efficient and cost effective… When it comes to dealers handling their own uploading, posting, tracking, titling, writing those all important text based descriptions and keyword tagging of video content to social media channels, there is an incredibly effective tool that I have used for several years. This video asset management tool allows dealers to upload their videos to one website based application, which then uploads through proprietary API based integration channels to dozens of accounts and profiles established, owned and controlled by the dealer (possibly by using Knowem). The marketing objective being the syndicating of dealer video content across multiple sites, networks and channels.  The tool is called “OneLoad” and is provided by a company named “TubeMogul”.  The web based OneLoad VAM application is sophisticated enough to allow automotive marketing professionals to dramatically streamline the titling, tagging of keywords and creating text based descriptions for each video hosting site used.  As a side note, TubeMogul also provides Online Video Advertising (OVA) campaign creation, management and placements across thousands of websites… But, that is not social media marketing!

    One of the many reasons I recommend TubeMogul’s OneLoad for dealership use is the API based integration with so many social media video channels and the highly accurate reporting metrics provided. OneLoad consolidates your videos and reporting data across multiple dealership video hosting accounts such as YouTube, Facebook, Viddler, Vimeo, Veoh, MetaCafe, MySpace, Graspr, BlipTV, DailyMotion, StreetFire, CarDomain, Yahoo, Zoopy and others. OneLoad will also automatically post a description of your video and a link to LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Imagine uploading a customer testimonial video or a very special used car video walk-around ONCE and having it published across dozens of video hosting sites, each with a search engine indexed URL containing your dealership’s name, into accounts and profiles owned and branded with your dealership’s logo, name, address, phone and live URL links. 
    Here is what my personal TubeMogul OneLoad video campaign dashboard looks like (click on the image to see larger resolution):
    To give you an idea of how much efficiency your dealership could gain usingTubeMogul’s OneLoad, while writing this section of the article, I uploaded a video to multiple social media accounts and profiles I had set up in the application. Here is a snapshot of the upload screen showing only the social media accounts I have set up (OneLoad handles many more) and the pending actions… You can click on the image to see a larger resolution view:
    What does TubeMogul’s OneLoad cost? Here is a link to their pricing matrix:www.oneload.com/solutions/features 
    My guidance to dealers is to not waste your time with the free “amateur” version of OneLoad, it is frustrating due to the constraints placed on it, such as saving your log ins and passwords, which in my opinion is one of the best aspects of OneLoad. The TubeMogul OneLoad “Business Account”, which is what dealers need, is an annual licensing fee of $900, which breaks down to $75 a month. Stay away from monthly billing, the premium you pay versus annual billing is 100%! Trust “Digital Ralph” on this one, TubeMogul OneLoad when used on a regular basis within your dealership’s Social Media Marketing Video Distribution tactical execution is the best $900 a year you will ever spend! BTW, I have no financial interest in TubeMogul (wish I did) and my only relationship with them is that I am one of their many raving fan customers. There are so many benefits to dealers incorporating TubeMogul OneLoad into their VAM strategy that you really need to visit this link and scroll down.

    However, I want to mention one very important consideration when considering a tool such as TubeMogul’s OneLoad, although I know of no other that does what this app does, consider this: 
    If you ever have to take a video down, for whatever reason, you can use TubeMogul OneLoad to take a video down from all the various places it was published with a single click… 
    This could be a lifesaver under certain rare circumstances, such a getting a letter from a customer’s attorney saying they did not give you permission to use their likeness in a customer testimonial video.  Or how about certain specialty used vehicles? Publish your VPV to dozens of sites, sell the vehicle to some potash magnate in Russia for all the money, and with a single click, take the video down from all the sites where it was posted.  Just one of many things to consider…  The following video is from an independent social media consultant explaining how to use TubeMogul’s OneLoad Video Asset Management (VAM) system:



  • Social Data Management – When a dealer is considering their social media marketing strategy, the issues and opportunities around data extraction, collection and management have the potential of creating significant competitive advantage to those automotive retailers who do it right. The auto industry’s emerging discovery of “big data” capabilities, an example being Dataium, can capture social audience data in a unified repository.  This can then be used by sophisticated automotive marketers to target the right messaging to the right automotive consumers in a far more cost effective manner than direct mail, customize promotional campaigns, and analyze and segment consumers based on dealership purchase history, owned vehicle data, demographics and social media profile based non-automotive interests.  Although the following video clip is a little far outside of being automotive specific, the discussion really offers some great insight into the future of “Big Data” and social media marketing strategy. Check it out with an open mind:

  • Mobile Marketing Support – As automotive consumers and dealership business customers increasingly access vehicle purchase and servicing information through mobile devices, it is important for car dealers to incorporate within their SMM strategy the use of suppliers and software platforms that provide native support for mobile content and the management of social media based assets that are accessible across a full range of mobile and tablet devices. This includes mobile device optimized templates that enable automotive marketing professionals to design content in one place, app or platform and deploy that content to any device via social media, email, mobile app push, etc. Good examples of dealer mobile app and system suppliers that incorporate strong mobile marketing support and social media integration include Dealer AppVantage with their YouTube integration. Another strong example is GroupCars and their recently announced AutoAmigo offering through Univision. 

  • Measurement and Analytics (Metrics) – At the heart of every effective social media marketing strategy are service providers, software, platforms and solutions that provide dealers with robust analytical capability. Whether a software platform or a service provider, this should include dealer management dashboards and automated reporting that provides multi-level detail, as well as traffic referral and conversion tracking. It is imperative that these analytics enable professional automotive marketers to conduct both dealership specific and auto industry benchmarking, both of which are vital to assessing the meaning and implications of these measurements from an ROI perspective. Having used several social media marketing platforms that based their value proposition squarely upon their measurement, reporting and real-time analytics capabilities, the one system that has always impressed me as being the most useful for car dealers is from Hubspot… Their thought leadership around inbound marketing is embedded within their software platform and is being used by quite a few automotive marketing professionals both within dealer service providers and by pros working for dealers and groups as marketing directors. Here is a short video describing Hubspot’s software system for use as an example of a metrics and reporting platform within a dealership or auto group’s social media marketing strategy: 

  • National, Regional and Local Deployment Support – Whether your organization retails or wholesales cars and related services on a national, regional or local basis, you will need a social media app, solution or services provider that enables both geographically defined content deployments and consumer targeting. In many dealership cases, this should include support for multiple languages, including the targeting of messages and content, along with the ability to set region-based visibility permissions. In recent months I have found myself spending a lot of time on behalf of my dealer clients on blocking out fans, subscribers, followers and comment posting from a variety of countries and locations that were simply irrelevant to the dealer’s specific market area. In other cases, for example a high line and exotic vehicle dealer in Los Angeles, we needed to target major metros such as New York, Miami, Dallas and Chicago because they sell so many exotic high end cars into those markets. Keep in mind that in order to best leverage your )for example) Facebook Page Fan base, you will want to target that database and their friends with paid advertising campaigns and promotional offers… If your Facebook Page’s Fan Base includes a lot of people from areas not served by your dealership, this clutters up the database rendering it far less useful for use in targeting Facebook based advertising campaigns, which are highly effective when the dealer’s Fan Base is primarily local customers.

  • Social Network Support – The SMM strategy your dealership develops should include software and (if applicable) a SMM services provider that supports all the major social networks. What are these most significant networks for car dealers? I would include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Slideshare, Pinterest, Blogger and WordPress at a minimum. The best SMM software and services suppliers will continue to add new social network integration and support as they gain favor and broad usage in the marketplace by automotive consumers and those that influence them. A good example of this type of support from a software platform provider is Hootsuite, which I reference and include an embedded video about in the “Platform and Infrastructure” section below.  For an example of a Social media Marketing Full Service Provider to the auto industry who I have seen continuously expand the social networks they integrate with and support, I will cite the team at SocialDealer which is headquartered in Chicago and led by Phil Penton and a team of very sharp automotive marketing veterans. Phil was one of the driving forces behind the development and growth of HomeNet up to their acquisition by AutoTrader. Here is a video that briefly introduces Social Dealer:

  • Security, Compliance, and Accountability – Equally important compared to the above outlined marketing and analytics capabilities are critical monitoring and functions that ensure security, compliance and accountability of your SMM efforts. You should ensure that your strategy includes the use of technology that provides access controls, role-based permissions and customizable workflows. In terms of security and compliance, an effective social media marketing strategy should incorporate the use of a platform that provides a fully secure data environment, including data encryption and an audit trail.

  • Dealer Usability – It’s highly likely that your dealership’s team members who will be using any SMM platform, software or solution will not be developers or programmers, so the technology you incorporate in your SMM strategy should be easy to learn and use. Deployment should be fast and simple, and your dealership’s agencies and other external partners should be able to customize content using the SMM applications, software or platforms you elect to use.

  • Customer Referral Generation and Tracking – When it comes to selling and servicing vehicles, most dealerships thrive on business referrals from their customer base. (see Roosevelt Gist’s comment below this post) These existing customer generated referrals of new business opportunities should be an established part of any automotive retailer’s social media marketing strategy.  From what I have seen on my own, and the research provided by car companies such as Toyota and Ford, the opportunity for dealers to leverage social media networks to enhance and promote the willingness of their most satisfied customers referring new customers from the ranks of their friends, relatives, coworkers and casual acquaintances is substantial.  For example, check out this video from Toyota Motor Sales created for their dealers to become more aware of the power of customer and product referrals:
    One of the more structured dealership customer referral and tracking systems I have seen developed and used by dealers is the Social Referrals Program offered by the SocialDealer team. Here is a video of Tony Nilles from SocialDealer explaining how the program works, which is very informative and useful in considering what your SMM Strategy should incorporate for generating more referral based business:

  • Platform and Infrastructure – I have often said that social media marketing has the potential of being a “black hole” of time and resource consumption for car dealers. After years of experience, I cannot imagine any semblance of positive ROI from dealership employee resource investments without the use of multiple software systems and SMM platforms. Basic requirements of a good SMM software platform include SaaS/cloud architecture, high scalability and ready availability from any web connected device including PC, mobile and tablets. SMM software and platform providers should be making frequent updates to ensure that their systems stay current with rapidly changing, evolving and expanding network of automotive relevant social networks. A few good examples of this proliferation are Pinterest, Instagram and Slideshare… Each of these networks are remarkably effective for dealers using them the right way and your strategy around SMM will benefit from leveraging software tools that make it easy for you or your supplier to incorporate these emerging networks into your SMM daily activities.  A great example of a software supplier that provides dealers with easy to use and constantly improving and expanding capabilities is Hootsuite Pro.  Here is a video showing the recent upgrades to Hootsuite Pro’s SMM dashboard and platform that introduced Instagram, Tumblr and YouTube dealership account integration and how to set it up in your Hootsuite Pro Account, which costs dealers a whopping $5.99 a month… That is not a typo, your cost for Hootsuite Pro is less than six dollars a month:


  • Dealership Services and Vendor Support – The right amount of service and support from dealership selected vendors and software suppliers is critically important to the success of any SMM strategy. Whether selecting software tools and systems to be used by dealer employed professionals or selecting a full-service social media marketing provider, dealers should select from only those suppliers that have a proven methodology and process for quickly on-boarding and training dealership personnel, including technical  support offered via web, phone and email.  Very important to this selection process is to focus on suppliers that offer comprehensive in-dealership training and consulting services.  Most, if not all retail automotive organizations will benefit from bringing in outside experts who will help you get the most out of your SMM strategy. Having done this myself on many occasions with multiple dealers and auto groups since 2007, I cannot stress the importance of ensuring that you bring in experienced automotive social media marketing strategists and implementation experts, which seems to be a critical control point in setting the stage for dealer success. There are quite a few experienced and effective social media marketing consultants available for car dealers to choose from, many of them are directly connected to more full scale digital marketing organizations.  A great example I would like to cite, both because of their integrity and effectiveness for car dealers is the the KPA Internet Marketing Social Media Team led by J. D. Rucker…  I am sure J.D. will get a chuckle out of this mention because he and I have squared off on debates around social media marketing strategies and tactics on several occasions starting back in September 2009.  But, when it comes to providing effective SMM Strategy consulting services for car dealers, I am always impressed with what J. D. Rucker and the KPA Social Media Marketing Team is able to get done with their dealer clients. Here is a video of the inimitable J.D. Rucker seeking to educate dealers on posting images onto their social media accounts and profiles:

    In the interest of both fairness and ensuring dealers have an adequate selection of Social Media Marketing Consulting and Training resources, I would also like to mention that ADM has a consulting provider directory that lists only those digital marketing consultants that we have been able to verify as being effective with a dealer through direct contact.

    The ADM Consultant Directory is at: ADM/Consultant-Directory which also contains a comprehensive “Consultant Selection Guide” for car dealers to use when considering which consulting resources to invest in.

    Of special note, I would like to also recommend the following companies who are consistent contributors of content to the ADM Professional Community and which also provide dealer verified effective Automotive Social Media Marketing Strategy consulting, training and implementation services:
  • PCG Digital Marketing Consulting Services (Brian Pasch)
  • Potratz Advertising (Paul Potratz)
  • ADP Digital Marketing Consulting (Jim Jensen)
  • Kruse Kontrol, Inc. (Kathi Kruse)
  • Persuasive Concepts (David Johnson)
  • Automotive Media Partners, LLC (Ralph Paglia)

 

EDITOR’S NOTE

Information Resources Used to Prepare this Article: In addition to my own first hand and direct experience in creating or assisting in the creation and implementation of automotive social media strategies for Ford, Toyota, Honda, ADP Social Media, Tier10 Marketing, Team Velocity Marketing, several large dealer groups and well over 300 individual dealerships I have been paid to serve, I used information, narratives and descriptions provided by the teams at YouTube, Hubspot, Knowem, Marin, Facebook and especially the white papers published by Wildfire, a Google owned social media marketing services and technology supplier.

 

The Wildfire research team provided me with a comprehensive checklist document written by an independent social media consultant who designed it as a tool for selecting SMM software applications and platforms. I highly recommend that you download this PDF and use it when evaluating BOTH the software systems available for your dealership to use in the implementation and execution of your SMM strategy, AND the services offered by SMM “Full Service” providers to the auto industry. The SMM application evaluation checklist document that I use was created by:

 

Although the Wildfire provided SMM App Evaluation PDF file is available to ADM Members for download, please show professional respect for Wildfire and Patrick Di Chiro by using the link below, where you enter your name and business information. Wildfire provides you immediate access to download this very useful SMM systems and process evaluation guide and tactical requirements checklist: 

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING APP EVALUATION GUIDE*

See Wildfire’s Social Marketing Suite in Action!

Discover how your dealership can grow, engage, and drive profits from your audience on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.

Special Request for ADM Professional Community Members:

Did I miss anything?

What do you believe should be included in an effective Automotive Social Media Marketing Strategy that is not incorporated into the items I have described above?

 

Please post your comments, recommendations, criticisms, agreement or otherwise and let’s create a useful ADM Forum reference point for dealers who seek to better understand what an effective social media marketing strategy should include…

 

This Automotive Social Media Marketing Strategy Requirements Summary was prepared by: Ralph PagliaPresident – Automotive Media Partners, LLC

 

To make it easier for ADM Members to make quick reference to this Forum page, a “Shortcut” URL has been assigned:

www.DealerSocial.org 

 

* If for any reason you either object to providing your info to Wildfire or are unable to get the download to work, ADM Professional Community registered members can download the PDF file, which is included in the three resource file attachments below.

 

Additional Files posted in a comment below for download and use by ADM Members:

http://www.automotivedigitalmarketing.com/xn/detail/1970539:Comment…

 

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Content Marketing for Car Dealers Getting More Attention: Lead Generation and Website Traffic

Content Marketing for Car Dealers Getting More Attention: Lead Generation and Website Traffic

Social Media Based and Self-Published Content Marketing for Car Dealers is Getting More Attention: Used Primarily for Lead Generation and Growing Website Traffic in Marketing Strategies at all Tiers in the Auto Industry…

Yet despite the importance attributed to content marketing and near-universal use (91% of Econsultancy respondents), just 38% of in-house automotive marketing professionals who responded (both B2C and B2B) said they had a defined content marketing strategy, and only 13% of agencies serving car dealers said their clients had one.

 

B2B Marketers Agree: Content Works For Lead Gen

A separate report released in September 2012 by Optify found that the most successful lead generation marketers in the auto industry are highly focused on content creation. 

 

The latest Optify survey results show that, indeed, lead generation is the most-cited top-3 goal for content marketing, at 68% of respondents (up from 62% in 2011). Automotive thought leadership and market education (50%; up from 37%) is next, followed by brand awareness (39%; up from 34%).

 

Automotive Marketers focused on B2B objectives responding to the Econsultancy survey have a slightly different view, but still emphasize the importance of lead generation.

 

When marketing professionals were asked what the 3 most important business objectives for their content marketing activity:

  • 52% cited increased engagement from prospects and previous customers
  • 44% of in-house marketing professionals chose lead generation 
  • 34% said increased website traffic was a primary goal
  • 30% identified Thought Leadership as a content marketing goal
  • 30% said creating Brand Awareness was among their primary goals

 

Interestingly, though, B2B agencies (including those that serve car dealers and OEM’s) responding to the Econsultancy survey see different priorities for their clients. Asked their clients’ top-3 most important content marketing objectives, these agencies choseincreasing site traffic (40%) first, followed by increased sales (36%), improved SEO (link-building – 35%), raising brand awareness (33%), and then lead generation (32%). About 21% of these agencies cited automotive thought leadership as an objective for their clients.

Car Dealers Focused on B2B and B2C Should Differentiate Goals and Tactics

Further details from Econsultancy’s “Content Marketing Survey Report 2012,” produced in association with Outbrain, show that B2B and B2C automotive marketers have different goals for their content marketing activities. For example, while lead gen is a top-3 goal for 44% of in-house B2B automotive marketing professionals, it’s only a top-3 objectives for 18% of B2C marketers. Instead, B2C in-house marketers are more focused on objectives such as raising dealership brand awareness and increasing retail showroom and service drive sales units and revenue, a pattern also found among agencies serving car dealers from a B2C perspective.

 

The different goals held by B2C and B2B objectives for automotive marketers might help explain a discrepancy in results between the Optify survey, which was limited to B2B respondents, and the Econsultancy survey, which polled both B2C and B2B marketers. In the Optify survey, case studies (68%), white papers/e-books (61%), and press releases (58%) ranked as the most widespread forms of content marketing, ahead of press releases, with social content in the middle of the pack. In the Econsultancy survey, though, social posts and updates (83%), email newsletters (78%), and news/feature articles on websites (67%) ranked as most popular, ahead of press releases (64%), with white papers (23%) and e-books (12%) far less popular.

 

Those differences translated to measures of effectiveness, too: automotive marketers focused on targeting business and enterprises in the Optify study were most likely to say case studies (78%), white papers (73%), and in-person events (72%) are most effective. Alternately, all in-house automotive marketers responding to the Econsultancy survey most often chose email newsletters (50%), social posts and updates (46%), and blog posts (36%) as their top-3 most effective types of content for marketing.

 

About the Data: The Econsultancy data is based on a survey of 1,315 in-house marketers, agencies or consultants, and people who described their job roles as “publishers.” 38% described themselves as mainly B2C, 39% as mainly B2B, and the remainder as equally focused on both. Optify conducted a survey with the 30,000 + member B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn, receiving over 740 responses in less than 3 weeks.

 

Data Sourcewww.marketingcharts.com

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Check out “Your Phones and Your Financial Statement” on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community
ADM serves Car Dealers, Automotive Marketing Pros and Internet Sales Managers
Ralph Paglia Ralph Paglia You really should take a look at this ADM Forum discussion ‘Your Phones and Your Financial Statement’
Chip King’s data, charts and analysis summary of incoming phone call handling performance metrics for over a million dealership customer calls is priceless…

ADM Forum discussion posted by Chip King:

It is news to no one that your dealership’s mission is to Obtain and Retain Customers in every profit center, maximized for every Ad Dollar…

ADM Forum Discussion link:
Your Phones and Your Financial Statement

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