Category Archives: Automotive

How To Create Your Dealership’s First LinkedIn Advertising Campaign

How To Create Your Dealership’s First LinkedIn Advertising Campaign

Getting Started with LinkedIn Advertising for Your Dealership

Most people working in management position at dealerships and dealer groups have figured out that LinkedIn is a remarkably effective tool for networking with business owners and auto industry professionals that may be a good fit for open positions at your dealership. But what about using LinkedIn for marketing your dealership’s new and used vehicles, service department, parts and accessories? More and more automotive marketers are turning to LinkedIn to promote their dealership’s products, services, and published content.

You and your car dealership have more power at your disposal with LinkedIn than you might realize. LinkedIn has a powerful advertising campaign creation and management platform. If you’re using Google Adwords or any PPC advertising to power your dealership’s presence on Facebook, Twitter and Google Search, consider adding LinkedIn to that list, too. If you’re new to the LinkedIn advertising app, you can reference thisADM blog post, which walks you through each of the app’s required steps to set up your dealership’s own user targeted LinkedIn advertising campaign.

I also want to thank the great social marketing professionals at Hubspot for the primary substance of this post which was originally published on the Hubspot Blog by Amanda Sibley. Hubspot also offers a highly informative eBook which provides a great resource for the how’s and why’s of advertising on LinkedIn. I recommend that all ADM Professionals download this eBook, print it out and keep as a useful reference document.

How To Set Up Your Dealership’s LinkedIn Ad Campaign

Step 1: Create a New Ad Campaign

To start creating a LinkedIn ad campaign, go to https://www.linkedin.com/ads/. Once in the ads platform, select New Ad Campaign and Start New.

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You will want to choose a name for your ad campaign that ‘s unique and relates to the campaign you’re running, for easier identification if you start running multiple ad campaigns. 

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These are only visible internally, so the more informative the name is, the better.  For example, if I was doing a test to determine what demographic targeting was the best for a particular vehicle model line, I may call one campaign:

“Ford Edge Ad Test-North America -24 to 48-female”

When I look at this name, I know exactly who I am targeting, without having to click into this campaign. A bad name for this campaign, however, would be:

“Ford Edge test 1”

By calling it “Test 1” I have no way of knowing who I am targeting by just looking at the name of the campaigns.

Step 2: Select Your Language

You can now choose what language you want your ad to be in. LinkedIn will not translate your ad into other languages, but it can be written in any of the languages LinkedIn supports, including Spanish, French, and German.

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Step 3: Choose Your Media Type

Next, choose between LinkedIn’s two media types, which include a basic text ad, and a video ad. Keep in mind videos must be 30 seconds or less.

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Step 4: Write Your Ad Copy

Now you’re ready to start writing the copy for your ad! First, decide where you want people to be directed after clicking on your ad. You can send people to a specific external web page, such as a landing page for an offer on your dealership’s website, or you can send them to a page on LinkedIn about your dealership, such as your business page or a group discussion about your dealership, specific models or events.

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Ad Headline: The headline of your ad cannot be more than 25 characters.

Ad Body: The body of a LinkedIn ad can be up to 75 characters long. The copy of your ad should be relevant both to the person viewing the ad, and the offer or page to which you’re sending them. For best results, create a different ad for each buyer persona you have, and tweak the copy accordingly. For example, when promoting a book to college professors, putting the words “College Professor’s Guide to …” may generate a higher clickthrough rate (CTR) than generic, untargeted copy. I mean, that copy certainly wouldn’t perform as well if it was viewed by elementary school teachers, right?

Call-to-Action (CTA): Having an actionable CTA within your ad copy will also help you improve your ad’s clickthrough rate. Tell people to “Download your ebook now!” or “Click now for free samples!” instead of writing compelling ad copy (great!) devoid of actionable copy that tells the reader what to do next (not so great).

Value: Incorporate your value proposition into your ad copy, making people more likely to click on your offer. If you tell them, “20% off your first purchase,” or “Clearance sale ends today, shop now!” you’re letting people know what specifically they can gain from clicking on your ad right now.

Don’t be afraid to test our your ad copy, either. You can create up to 15 variations of your ad in each campaign, and all variations of your ads within one campaign will be seen by the same people. These variations allow you to test different images and copy within your ads to find what works best for your audience.

Step 5: Target Your Ad

Targeting who sees your ad to a very specific and relevant group of LinkedIn users can help increase conversions — more relevant, more clicks. LinkedIn lets you target by location, company, job title, school, skills, group, gender, and age.

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Location: You must select as least one location for your ads. Depending on your dealership’s franchises, more specific targeting may be helpful. You can select a location as broad as North America, and as specific as the San Francisco Bay Area. So if you’re trying to grow used vehicle sales in Hartford Connecticut, showing your ad to people in Los Angeles, California would be a waste of money. You can also take advantage of this targeting option to conquest sales outside of your traditional markets close to the dealership. You can also tailor your ad copy to specific locations. For instance, Ford dealerships may do well advertising specialty vehicles such as a Shelby GT500 Cobra Mustang to the entire Northeastern part of the United States, but should create ads that seek to sell the more commonly available Fusion to LinkedIn users in their local metro market.

Company: If your target audience works at a specific company, you’re able to target them directly — even by name. You don’t need to have specific names in mind, though; LinkedIn allows you to also target companies based on categories, like Legal, Non-Profit, or Finance.

Job Title: If your model line being promoted or service department offers are best for Presidents, VP’s, General Managers and CFOs, targeting only people that have “CFO”, “President”, etc. in their title will increase your conversions, and ultimately save money for your advertising budget. You can choose specific job titles, or chose from job functions and seniority. From the CEO of manufacturing companies, to the entry level associates at an accounting firm, you can target a specific group of people for your LinkedIn ads.

School: If you are looking to target people who have a particular educational background, you can target your ads based on schools. If you know a lot of your prospects and customers come from a certain school, try reaching out to them through LinkedIn ads.

Skills: Your target audience may have a certain skill set — email marketing, financial planning, risk management — think about what your target audience is good at, and try targeting people on LinkedIn with similar skills.

Group: One of LinkedIn’s best attributes is the groups that like-minded professionals join to discuss industry trends and topics. If your audience is very vocal on a topic, or you’re trying to gain thought leadership in a certain area, this advertising type may be a good option for you.

Gender and Age: If your audience is heavily skewed toward one gender and/or age group, target your advertising toward them.

Step 6: Choose Your Payment Method

After selecting your targeting options, you can set up the payment method that works best for you. The two options you have for any pay-per-click advertising are 1) cost per click (CPC), or 2) pay per 1,000 impressions (CPM). If you pay per click, you will be charged each time someone clicks on your ad. LinkedIn will suggest a bid range depending on your budget and the competition for your ads; the more advertisers bidding on a similar campaign, the higher your bid will need to be. This bid is the maximum you will be charged. If the current rate is lower than your max bid, you will only be charged the current rate. If you choose to pay per thousand impressions, you will be charged a certain amount each time your ad is shown to one thousand people on LinkedIn.

Deciding what form of payment to use and the best maximum bid can be tricky. When deciding between CPC and CPM, think first about your end goal. Are you trying to get as many people as possible to see your ad to help with, say, a branding campaign? If so, CPM may be the way to go. If you’re trying to get more people to click on your ads to drive traffic to your website, or generate new leads, CPC may be better for you.

When thinking about an optimal maximum bid, some trial and error is needed. LinkedIn will give you a suggested bid, which is a good place to start. Then, think about when your audience is most likely online. You may want to bid higher during this time to be sure that your ads are the ones being seen. There are also certain times of day, and days of the week, that have a higher average bid based on usage and industry. Play around with your bids and see when you get the most return for your dollars spent.

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Step 7: Set a Daily Budget

Set a daily budget for what works best for your company’s marketing budget. Before putting a lot of money into one campaign, first test out the success of each campaign and ad variation — you don’t want to put $1,000 into an ad that ends up not resonating with your target audience.

Let’s say you’re the VP of Marketing at floral shop. You assume the majority of your target market is brides, so you direct your ads on LinkedIn to bridal groups. After spending thousands of dollars, you only generated 10% of the leads you were hoping for. After doing some research, you found that the people near your store and on LinkedIn are actually looking for flowers for corporate events. Wouldn’t it have been nice to know that before spending a large amount of your budget on LinkedIn ads?

LinkedIn ads can be really successful for targeting niche markets. Because of their extensive targeting opportunities, almost any industry can find success on LinkedIn. Don’t be afraird to test things out. If something is going well, put a larger budget toward it, and watch the leads come in!

Step 8: Decide on Lead Collection

LinkedIn now provides you with the option to collect leads on your behalf. This new feature allows people to ask for more information or to be contacted by your company via a checkbox at the end of your ad. You will be notified by email when someone has asked for more information, allowing you to promptly respond and hopefully turn those leads into customers. Keep in mind, however, that the only way you can contact them is via LinkedIn InMail; you will not receive an email address or phone number with which to contact this person.

linkedin ad

Finally, you can choose if you want your campaign to be shown continuously, or until a certain date.

LinkedIn Ad Reporting

Now you’re ready to start your first LinkedIn ad campaign! You can track your progress in the LinkedIn ads platform home screen. Here you will be able to see a graph mapping your clicks, spend, CTR, and more over set periods of time. You can also see statistics and average CPC for each campaign to make educated decisions as to how to optimize each campaign. For all PPC ads, the CTR will be a very small number. On LinkedIn, a good benchmark for a CTR is around .03% or higher.

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If you have campaigns that are under-performing, there are several things you can do to optimize them. First, click into the campaign you want to look at so you can drill down into data on only one campaign. All ad variations of this campaign will appear, with separate data. 

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Look at the CTR of each ad. Is one variation performing better than another? If so, you may want to pause the less successful campaign. LinkedIn will begin to show your less successful campaigns less frequently, so putting more resources into your most successful ad variations and campaigns will help you reach your marketing goals.

Post-Click Reporting

Now that you have LinkedIn ads running that people are clicking on, it’s time to determine whether they’re actually driving qualified traffic to your website. That isn’t something LinkedIn can tell you — you need to do some closed-loop reporting on these campaigns to see who this traffic really “is.” After someone clicks on your ad and lands on your site’s web page, put the content you are offering behind a form. On this form, ask people important questions that help you qualify them as a good lead or not. This lead capture form should be connected to your customer relationship management (CRM) software so that once the lead’s information is in your CRM, your sales team can act upon these leads, and hopefully turn them into customers!

After launching several ad campaigns on LinkedIn, look at the landing page form data in your CRM. Is the traffic to your website generated by LinkedIn ads qualified? Is it generating customers? If not, you may want to optimize your campaigns. For instance, if your LinkedIn ads are targeting people in companies sized 1-10, but you find that the majority of the closed deals in your company are from leads with company sized 100-200, stop targeting those smaller companies on LinkedIn! Because of awesome targeting capabilities on LinkedIn, you can target companies that have 100-200 employees, which may increase the number of closed sales from your LinkedIn ads campaign.

Image credit: clasesdeperiodismo

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by Ralph Paglia

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via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

LinkedIn Poll on 2013 Dealer Area Focus

LinkedIn Poll on 2013 Dealer Area Focus (Photo credit: DigitalRalph)

Will Car Dealers Leverage Social Media Advertising for Competitive Advantage in 2013?

Will Car Dealers Leverage Social Media Advertising for Competitive Advantage in 2013?

Car Dealers: Social Media Matters When Seeking Your Competitive Advantage in Local Markets

In 2012, more than 1.4 billion people around the world used social networks, up 19% from 2011. But although the worldwide social network audience is enormous, it is by no means unified. Within the North American automotive marketing landscape social media based advertising continues to mature and develop capabilities that are simply unavailable in other media channels. As social networking giants such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and others grow and develop increased business engagement models, their ability to attract marketing and advertising investments from the automotive industry grows.

The chart shown below shows five years of social media based advertising spend with fairly steady growth. I predict a faster rate of growth going into 2014 as the targeting, messaging and creative engagement models provided by social networks continue rapid development and increased effectiveness in achieving automotive marketing objectives.

 

US Online Social Network Advertising Spend from 2008 to 2013*:

  • $1.175 billion (2008)
  • $1.295 billion (2009)
  • $1.335 billion (2010)
  • $1.420 billion (2011)
  • $1.515 billion (2012)
  • $1.640 billion (2013)

Social Network Advertising Spend increases from another perspective*: 

*Data source: eMarketer

ADM Professional Community members have access to all the data and insights we publish about social media. You can learn more about social network usage around the world below, but you can learn a lot more by visiting the ADM Professional Community daily. Complete the “Sign Up” form on the upper right of every ADM page to submit a membership application and start the conversation with experienced automotive marketers and people selling more cars using strategies and their tactics within the social media universe.

Usage patterns are highly developed and predictable in some regions, and unstable and changing rapidly in others. And while many people use Facebook, not all social network users do. Facebook has shown many users how to get their most satisfying results from time spent online, this has driven an increased familiarity with online social media in general, and a cottage industry of social networks specializing in specific subject matters. Homegrown social networks, especially those seeking consumers, enthusiasts and influencers in automotive niches will play a larger role over time in most major markets in both the USA and Canada.

Countries such as India and Indonesia are rapidly becoming major usage centers for social networking, particularly via mobile phones, and will each see their user bases grow more than 50% in 2012. This phenomenon, combined with Facebook’s staggering growth in the region, mean that in 2012, the Asia-Pacific region will, for the first time, be home to more Facebook users than North America is. As North American automotive consumers have become more accustomed and skilled at using social networks via their introduction through Facebook, many of them have ventured outside of the social media behemoth to participate in User Generated Content (UGC) sites, specialized blogs and forums, as well as other networks.

In more mature markets like the USA and Canada, automotive marketers are looking to use the social media presences they have already established to deliver relevant content to fans. Social networks are making it easier for businesses, especially car dealers to broadcast changing incentives and promotional offers that create the deals which drive both sales and service recommendations across a wider network of users in real time with improved location and mobile targeting.

With Facebook’s New Ads Manager and the growing maturation of the platform comes an increasing effectiveness for their paid advertising models.  

This in turn enables car dealers to leverage user profile based targeting that delivers the right message to the right automotive consumer at the exact right time. More and more North American car dealers are using the growing platform maturity and advertiser responsiveness at Facebook for a competitive advantage over their neighboring dealership competition which has ignored Facebook’s emerging capabilities.

Data Sources: eMarketer, Facebook and MarketingCharts.com 

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

facebook

facebook (Photo credit: sitmonkeysupreme)

Branding versus Marketing on Facebook

Branding versus Marketing on Facebook

Facebook Logo

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that Facebook (and social media in general) is a communication tool. It’s a way for businesses to connect with customers and a safe venue through which customers and potential customers can interact with your business.

With that said, let’s look at the other two primary functions of Facebook: marketing and branding. Both are similar. Both are categories that can mean different things to different people and businesses. While it’s definitely possible to do both well on Facebook at the same time, the safer and less time-intensive strategy would be to pick one or the other as the primary goal (outside of communication, of course).

Here are the two basic options. There will be those who will say that it’s being oversimplified, but this isn’t a tutorial. It’s a way to distinguish between the two so that a business can make an intelligent decision about which mindset to take in their efforts. Once the mindset is established, the strategies can form.

Facebook for Branding

This is becoming the more common practice among businesses because it is more open in form and more singular in goal. More importantly, using Facebook as a marketing tool is considered by many to be harder (depending on your business type, of course). Many, particularly those who are engaged with individual customers on a daily basis such as car dealers and realtors will opt for this approach because it gives them the freedom to simply be entertaining or informative without having to put the time into crafting an appropriate marketing strategy.

It’s the easy road, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any less rewarding.

Using Facebook for branding is all about getting your name, logo, and general message out there. The general message is often abstract – it’s not talking about a sale or a particular product but rather trying to convey a company attitude with the message.

This strategy can use popular images, interesting (and sharable) facts, or funny concepts to will encourage liking and sharing. While some take the road of using ideas that are completely off topic, I’m a firm believer that it’s possible to stay focused on either the local area, the industry, or both with every post. In other words, a car dealer shouldn’t be posting pictures of cats. They should be posting pictures of cars, videos of cars, and images or discussions about the local area.

The branding message is easier to spread because it doesn’t involve marketing. There’s no goal of direct conversions or clicks to the website. It’s all about getting the brand out there as much as possible.

The downside, of course, is in proving ROI. Without direct marketing applied to the messages, it’s a leap of faith that by getting interaction and engagement around content that does not lead directly to a lead or a sale but that keeps the name and logo of the business in mind, that there are intangible benefits that are happening.

Facebook for Marketing

Unlike using Facebook for branding, the marketing strategy is trickier. It’s easier to mess up. There’s a risk of actually doing damage to the Facebook account by being too “spammy” with the posts. Those who are not ready to take a little heat on their path to get more conversions should not even go down this road.

However, if your goal is to achieve demonstrable ROI and take what you can today in a concrete manner, this is the right approach. It will rely on Facebook ads. There’s no way around it – unless you’re marketing something that resonates while also being productive such as a funny T-Shirt company, you’re very unlikely to get away with a hardcore marketing message without the use of ads.

Thankfully, Facebook ads are cheap.

Using a marketing strategy on Facebook does not mean that it’s all business. While some I have spoken to on the subject (including a VP at Facebook) have said that businesses can find success by only posting once or twice a week and promoting those marketing posts, I’ve found that a mix of interesting or entertaining content with the marketing messages can be beneficial.

People aren’t going to Facebook to see marketing messages, so yours has to be truly valuable. It’s not about putting up a picture of a car and calling that marketing. It’s about generating messages that they can only get through Facebook. For example, having Facebook-only sales events can be effective with next to zero risk. If people come to the store as a result, awesome! If they do not, then the expenditure was minimal. If they aren’t successful, you shouldn’t give up. You simply need to tweak the message, adjust the advertising, or go through a series of “fun” posts to set up the marketing posts properly.

Don’t Forget Communicating

Regardless of which path you choose, remember the number one rule: Facebook (and social media in general) is about communication. It’s about talking to your customers and having them talk to you. It’s about giving them a venue through which you can be completely open about your business and hold public conversations with unsatisfied customers as well as the happy ones.

Which way fits best with your business? That’s the only real question you need to ask to get started down the right path.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

English: Graph of social media activities

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

Web Connected Car Buyers Spend Over 3 Hours a Day on Social Networks – Automotive Marketing

Web Connected Car Buyers Spend Over 3 Hours a Day on Social Networks

Social Networking Eats Up 3+ Hours Per Day For Car Buyers

American automotive consumers aged 18-64 who use social networks say they spend an average of 3.2 hours per day doing so, according to new research released by Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange (OTX).

Factoring in survey respondents who don’t use social networks, the survey finds that the average online American Car Buyer spends 2 hours a day social networking from a computer, tablet and/or mobile phone. Unsurprisingly, American Car Buyers who are social networkers aged 18-34 self-report spending more time than their older counterparts, and women outpace men in consumption, also.

Specifically, among American automotive consumers who are social network users:

  • 18-34-year-olds report spending 3.8 hours a day
  • 35-49-year-olds report spending 3 hours per day
  • 50-64-year-olds report spending 2.4 hours per day

In terms of the gender difference, female social networkers spend almost 40% more time daily with social media sites than men (3.6 hours vs. 2.6 hours), a finding consistent with earlier research from MyLife and from Burst Media showing women to be more active than men on social media.

Some other interesting demographic gaps emerge from the Ipsos research. Those include:

  • Social networkers with low household income spending more time than those with high household income (3.7 hours vs. 3.1 hours) 
  • Those with low education levels spending more time than those with high education levels (3.5 vs. 3) 
  • Business owners spending almost 50% more time than those who don’t a business (4.4 vs. 3) 
  • Senior executives and decision-makers spending 40% more time than those not in that position (4.2 vs. 3) 
  • Unemployed social networkers spending 3.5 hours a day on social media, versus 3 hours for the employed. 

The study breaks down actual hourly estimates per day, with some striking results. For example, roughly 1 in 5 users aged 18-34 claim to spend 6 hours or more per day social networking.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

English: Semiotics of Social Networking

Content Marketing – Automotive Professional Community

Content Marketing – Automotive Professional Community

 

Content Marketing

Local Small Businesses or Fortune 500 firms alike, that plan on using Content Marketing as part of their overall Online Strategy must challenge themselves in developing a campaign that underlines the outreach of useful information through accessible channels for maximum conversion.

Before any Content is created there are 4 influential steps in developing your Content Marketing Strategy. 

  1. Research
  2. Editorial Calendar
  3. Content Creation
  4. Distribution

Research : 

As with any strategy, the most important course of action is research. A lot of research is the best way to grasp a hold of who your readers are and will be. You need to think in terms of who your audience and what websites do they visit and often engage with.When you are thinking of your audience it is important to note the target demographic and their particular behaviors.

One of the best tools in performing content marketing research is Google’s Keyword Tool. Using this tool will allow you to learn about what keywords drive your industry nationally as well as locally. Most Small Business Owners do not know even this even exists but with a little elbow grease you can achieve 1st Page RankingsYou want to think of Keywords as your way of maximizing your contents:  

“Search Engine Visibility”. 

Social Media Marketing is playing a major force in how Content Marketing is being shaped. Being able to listen in on conversations is a great way to stay ahead of the curve. Social Listening is just that, it allows you to see fill in the, “Content Gaps”.

It is important to create a content marketing editorial calendar to plan your communications to current and prospective customers.

The 2nd step in your Content Marketing Strategy includes laying out what your message will be based on the day, the month and your mood.

1. Remember The Past

First thing first, you are going to need to do a little research and see what has worked before and what has not worked before, for your company and in your industry. 

Before you start piecing your content calendar together,
 you need to ask these questions:

What type of content did you deliver this year?
What method of content distribution did you use?
Next ask yourself in a quiet room, What Worked…and What Truly Failed ?

The Future is always Tomorrow but the seeds are to be planted today. 

By thinking about where you’ve been the next logical step is to think about where you will go next. Deciding the next 12 months content road map is a difficult process. As you envision where your company will be in the next year, you can think of the content marketing calendar as your guide – a month to month breakdown of what your online marketing and offline collateral efforts will consist of.

So here you are, asking yourself a few more questions in a quiet room,

  • Where do you see your business in the the future?
  • Where do you see your business in a year?
  • What type of clients do you want to service and help?
  • Are there new services that you can offer for more sales?
  • Are you doing everything you can to build your database?
  • Is your staff properly trained in conveying your brands’ message?
  • Can you see new opportunities that you may have overlooked?

2. Tag Team,  You Are It – Idea Brainstorm

Gather a group of your employees in a meeting room and meet with for a purpose. Depending on how big your company is you will have different teammates from different sectors. For our purpose we will talk about a small business – owner, manager, creative, etc. – anyone you think of value who would add insight into how you could best build content for your business. Maybe your accountant or your janitor.

You never know who might be creative. 

The Idea Brainstorm, is a perspective that will not only create a spark but will give you the opportunity to see it from their view, from their – “Panoramic Point of View” – you not only see it from their shoes, but also see through their eyes. This Idea Brainstorm not only gives you ideas from which to pull content from but but also an opportunity to hear what your employees are saying. There are times when a group gets together and becomes energetic. This energy sometimes produces ideas that generate millions of dollars.

Always be listening.   

 

Remember, this is a session where ideas can be different and formless, go with the flow and allow different people to communicate. Whoever is in charge, ultimately guides the Idea Brainstormand directs it to stay on course for time restraints.  This person will ideally be in charge of gathering all the raw ideas after the session, and creating a structure within the calendar template.

Questions for yourIdea Brainstorm

What content would I like to see if I was a customer?
What are we missing that we can improve on?
What content will be created  (i.e.pr, social media, graphics, video, local seo marketing,  interviews, etc.)
Any old content you can re-hash for the upcoming year?
What new methods of distribution can be more effective?
Is there a way to integrate offline marketing in to online traffic?
Who is going to write the content?

3. The Editorial Calendar Plan

So you have met with your teammates and gathered intelligence on how to effectively build the proper content that markets to the correct demographic. So now is the time to start working on the calendar. You can start with a simple piece of paper and jot down the day.

If any holidays are in that month make sure to note that and also note it three weeks ahead. In fact, lets go ahead and mark holidays with the colour blue or any colour you desire. 

Some people recommend using a monthly calendar, but to be honest the best possible and effective way to to use content marketing is to look as far ahead as up to 12 months. This will give you a specific plan for the year you can relate to whenever.

Add the info to the Content Marketing Calendar

Take your monthly sheet of paper from step 3 and start with the first day. Plot your information on the calendar as well as online for maximum usage. You want to be consistent as well as keep the info simple and direct. Remember to add Conferences, Bills, Holidays, Birthdays and any other information that may provide content.

Repeat this for Each Month (12x)

Now that you content scheduled for each month, this will allow you to automate some of your online marketing using a service like Sendible or Aweber. This will save you future time but also give you more time to do more social engagement online.

What’s great about your Automated Social Marketing, is that you can schedule what information you want posted on what day and on what page.

It also can determine the frequency as well as where the information gets distributed to.

As long as you are prepared with a constant stream of content built up, this will help you on the Search Engines. You will be providing your customers and potential clients, a formal introduction as to who you are and the type of information that can formulated from strategy base on your business.

 

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

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7 Things to Accomplish in Social Media in 2013

7 Things to Accomplish in Social Media in 2013

2013

A new year represents beginnings. It is a time to reflect on what was missed and make plans for improvement. This year is going to be a crucial one for many businesses with uncertainty in the economy, fluctuation in the social media sphere, and an awakening that is happening for many that social media is here to stay and is something that they need to master.  Competition is getting stronger thanks to this awakening.  It’s no longer an option to try out social media. The test drive phase is over. Either you’re in or you’re out. If you’re in, here are some things that you should strive to accomplish in 2013 that will make your social media strategy shine above the competitors:

  1. Get on the Google+ bandwagon before it becomes a bandwagon – In 2011, I said that Google+ had potential. In 2012, it started showing signs of having influence over searches, placement of reviews in the local section, and an increased engagement level on the social networking component itself. In 2013, it will go from an option to a “must have”. We saw this sort of necessity budding with Facebook in 2008 and Twitter in 2009. Google+ is different because it’s accelerating faster than any of its predecessors. Get going now or you may fall terribly behind.
  2. Make quality content the highest goal for website improvement – We’ve discussed it several times over the last few months and we’ll continue to discuss it for as long as it remains important. High-quality content is the key to both search and social more than it has even been in the past. Unique, important, entertaining, and informational content that can get the inbound links and social shares to your website can be your secret weapon in 2013.
  3. Consolidate your social media posting strategies – This is a challenging one to discuss and deserves its own blog post in the near future. There’s a difference between posting the exact same content to all of your social profiles and pages at the same time and consolidating the strategies in a way that will make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. It’s not that you will cross-post everything you have. It’s that you’ll want to make sure that everything from website content to Facebook posts to Pinterest pins are pointing in the same strategic direction.
  4. Get visual – The written word is harder to promote than the visual message. All of the major social networks love images. Most hate links. That doesn’t mean that you can’t try to make links a part of the message, but all too often it’s the only part. This has to change in 2013.
  5. Post higher quality instead of more often – If given the choice between crafting and promoting a single piece of content on Facebook and Google+ that truly resonates with the communities or posting a lot of good but not great content, I’ll take the former every time. Your posts have to pop or they’ll go nowhere.
  6. Grow your targeted following ONLY – There was a time when it was okay to get a boost on followers by targeting the whole world. It’s easier to get local followers to a big account than one that is tiny. Things have changed, though, and now it can actually damage the effectiveness of your accounts by being too large with untargeted followers. Tighten it up, prune when necessary, and stop trying to inflate your numbers.
  7. Build a true personality with your social profiles and stick with it – This is not a call to become the cat-picture poster of Facebook. There are plenty of those. It’s a call for businesses to personalize, to make sure that there is humanity within their social media posts. It could be regular promotions of a local charity, funny videos made by the business that can quickly become “a thing”, or just staying business-focused but with a real person expressing real ideas and offering real advice in their industry.

It’s hard to limit this list to 7. I actually had to cut off three of the tips I was going to give because they were too hard to try to fit into a list; they deserve individual blog posts of their own.There are so many other things that businesses should do in 2013 to make their social media shine like never before, but it’s better to start with a handful of achievable goals rather than be flustered by the failure of taking on too much at once. If you do these things, you’ll get better this year.Thankfully, nothing on the list is that hard.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

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Dealers Should Post Fewer Links and More Interactions, Text, and Images on Twitter

Dealers Should Post Fewer Links and More Interactions, Text, and Images on Twitter

Twitter Links

The automation of Twitter for businesses continues to become the norm.

As micro-blogging, interaction, and expression get replaced by RSS feeds, Facebook feeds, and post scheduling that is all dominated by links, links, and more links, the power of Twitter is being replaced by the easy alternatives to actually, well, using the service.

This is a huge mistake for most. There are some who are simply overwhelmed by social media and internet marketing in general and anything that they can check off their list with minimal or zero effort is a good thing. For those who actually want to find success on Twitter, it’s not going to work with zero effort. Thankfully, Twitter is a platform that can work very well with minimal effort. There has to be some, just not a ton.

Post fewer links

When I first started using Twitter over five years ago, the site was loaded with communication. Links were in fewer than 20% of the Tweets in my feeds. It was mostly about, “look at what I’m doing here” or “I really like pickles”. Now, links dominate Tweets. For news sources and other publications, this is fine. For super-active accounts that talk to people regularly, this is fine. For businesses who are not super-popular on social media, links should be used sparingly.

Again, it comes down to time. If you simply don’t have the time to come up with 3 or 4 good, solid unlinked Tweets, interactions with everyone who reaches out to you, and proactive interactions with new people the way a proper Twitter strategy should look, then getting something out there on a regular basis is better than going completely stagnant. The effectiveness of the “bail out” strategy is minimal, but if it’s all that you can afford from a time perspective, so be it.

It’s it’s at all possible to tone down the links and get truly engaging with your posts, you’ll get much more out of the service for your business.

Talk to people

It would have been hard to imagine in the days when I was first getting started on Twitter that there would be a need to give this advice, but that need is here. Twitter is first and foremost a communication tool. Most businesses are using it strictly for broadcasting. The paradox that many fail to understand is that if you talk about yourself less and talk about others more, your messages about yourself will reach a greater number of people. In many ways, it’s about earning the right to broadcast.

Those who use Twitter regularly can smell a feed-driven Twitter account in seconds. They can tell when an account is strictly being used to broadcast and when it’s truly being used for communication. When someone is strictly broadcasting, they better be a publication like Mashable or a celebrity like Oprah Winfrey or the message simply won’t be heard.

Here are some quick ways to establish that you’re communicating on Twitter rather than broadcasting:

  1. Send @ – If you’re a standard business account that is getting a handful of interactions directed at you per day, reply to all of them. If you’re more popular, reply to the ones that are personalized. In other words, no need to reply to retweets unless the sender added their two cents to the conversation.
  2. Retweet often – A decent account should retweet 5+ times a day. A more active account can get away with fewer but should be retweeting at least once a day. This isn’t the “RT @…” style, though those should be worked in as well. These are the direct retweets by pushing the retweet button directly from Twitter. This is important because it adds different avatars to your stream. When visitors see that you’re retweeting others, they’ll be more likely to assume that you’re actually listening to the outside world rather than working inside your own little Twitter broadcasting box.
  3. Start or join conversations – You’re an expert in your industry. You can chime in on conversations that are happening regarding your industry, your local area, or even the world in general. That doesn’t mean that you should butt in and start spreading your wisdom in one-on-one conversations, but it does mean responding to people’s Tweets or even starting the conversation with them directly. You can see in their Twitter streams whether they’re replying to people or not. Be sure that if you start a conversation, it’s with someone who will reply back to you.
  4. Split your times up – This is all very easy stuff, but doing it all in one block per day isn’t the best way to do it. It’s better than nothing, but the preferred method would be to do it at least twice a day. A best practice is to do it first thing in the morning when you’re done checking your morning emails and then again shortly after lunch. You don’t want to do it at the end of the day unless you’ll be checking your stream from home in the evening because you’ll want to be timely with your responses when people engage back at you.

Once you’ve established that you communicate properly through Twitter, you’ll have room to post occasional self-serving links. If all you post is links, your message will get lost in the mix.

Post pictures and unlinked text

Twitter has a great filter feature for mobile images. Use it. Before we recommended Instagram but that didn’t work out so well, so Tweeting images directly through the Twitter mobile app works great.

If you use Buffer or any of the other posting tools that upload images directly to Twitter (Hootsuite doesn’t do this, FYI), scheduling images through a PC is another way to get your feed flowing with engaging content. It’s not as good as mobile uploads as people love to see real pictures taken by real people associated with the business, but it’s definitely better than nothing.

Text posts are great as well. They can be sayings, quotes, opinions, or anything that has nothing other than possibly hashtags linking out from the Tweet. This is particularly useful when posting about local area events and asking questions. One note: if you do ask questions designed to get a response from your followers, be sure that you’re available to respond to their answers. Don’t drop a question in the queue and walk away. Again, timeliness is important, even for a business Twitter account.

Twitter is the one component of social media strategies that has been botched by most over the years. It’s hard to get real followers. It’s harder to get real engagement.

It can, however, prove to be extremely useful if you put the effort into it. Again, and I cannot stress this enough, the effort that’s required to take a Twitter account from decent to great really isn’t that much. It’s for this reason that if you have a little extra time every day, Twitter is a good investment of it.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

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Twitter Cards Make Video Marketing Easy as 1-2-3 Tweet! – Automotive Social Media Professionals

Twitter Cards Make Video Marketing Easy as 1-2-3 Tweet!

Joe Schwartz

Joe Schwartz Describes How “Twitter Cards” Are Making Video Marketing Much Easier for Car Dealers

Twitter Video Cards

Twitter Video Cards

When marketers think of social media as a promotional channel, Facebook continues to be the network of choice. Of course, this trend may be the result of people sticking to a platform that feels safe. After all, Facebook remains the largest and most influential social platform on the web today, so much so that it claimed the most-searched term award for the fourth year in a row.

Twitter Users
Twitter Users

But other social networks shouldn’t be ignored, especially with sites like Twitter implementing new features regularly. According to eMarketer’s “US Digital Media Usage: A Snapshot of 2013,” Twitter user-ship grew significantly in 2012, but only 15 percent of the U.S. online population will engage on Twitter next year. Therefore, brands that want to drive traffic from a variety of social channels must learn how to engage users on whatever network they prefer. For many people, Twitter remains the most influential social hub, and brands may discover that video content thrives on this platform. 

According to the source, Twitter’s user base increased by 14.2 percent in 2012 to reach 36.3 million monthly active members. To reach those prospective and current customers, brands must develop social media marketing campaigns that make branded content enjoyable and simple. With Twitter Cards, video marketing may be the easy solution.

Online Video Viewers
Online Video Viewers

According to eMarketer, online view viewers reached 178.7 million people in 2012 to make up 56 percent of the nation’s population, and 73 percent of American internet users. As for mobile video viewers, 73.3 million people watched video content via their mobile devices in 2012, reaching 22.9 percent of the country’s population and 29.6 percent of mobile phone users. Thirty-one percent of the U.S. population and 40.4 percent of U.S. internet users viewed visual media from their tablet devices this year, making video content marketing a necessary practice for many brands.

With Americans using Twitter more often this year and video media becoming a prominent marketing material, businesses that want to build brand exposure and grab consumers’ attention must produce consistent visual content, and publish output on the microblogging site. Together, video marketing and social media marketing may drive higher conversions in the new year, and help marketers reach new audience segments online.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Twitter Compliment Card

Twitter Compliment Card (Photo credit: 13stock)

Static Social Media Products and Services are Destined to Fail – Automotive Marketing Professional Network

 

Static Social Media Products and Services are Destined to Fail

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been working on a standard operating procedure for a comprehensive social media marketing service. It has been a while since I had to develop an overarching strategy rather than one that was individualized for a business or organization, so my daily reading of the industry trends and changes has had my eyes bleeding by the time the kids get ready for school. My fingers have bled as well… from making adjustments to the SOP as the industry continues in its unending state of metamorphosis.

In the worlds of search marketing, there are needs to stay on top of things. Google and Bing make changes to their algorithms. Consumers make changes in their searching habits. Devices make changes in how they present the data. It’s pretty rough trying to keep up with search. However, keeping up with the changes in search is a piece of cake compared to keeping a social marketing service fresh and operating properly.

My conclusion in putting together this SOP is simple – keep it general and fluid. It must be allowed to grow and adjust based upon the changes that are made by the social media sites and the users themselves. Here are a few examples of activities that may have been a part of a social media SOP if I made it last week:

  • Post an image to Instagram and have it feed through to Twitter.
  • Sponsor one post a day on Facebook that is business-oriented.
  • Get people to +1 your Google+ business page as well as recent posts.
  • Post to Pinterest three times a day and feed it through to Facebook.

These would have all been valid actions in a standard operating procedure last week. Today, they are all obsolete.

Social media moves way too quickly for concrete practices. Any full-service company that wants to run your company’s social media needs to demonstrate the ability to stay informed about the maelstrom of changes that happen every week as well as the ability to keep a fluid service that moves with the trends and the changes themselves. If they’re offering a social media service that is static, that is using techniques that have been “proven to work for a long time”, then they do not understand the very nature of social media and should not be trying to run yours for you.

 

via Static Social Media Products and Services are Destined to Fail – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

 

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Official Facebook Best Practices Guide for Car Dealers – Automotive Social Marketing Professionals

Official Facebook Best Practices Guide for Car Dealers

Facebook Best Practices Guide for Car Dealerships
 
Increasingly, social media influences how we buy and own cars. On Facebook, car dealerships can reach in-market consumers through their news feeds and friends.

 
Download the official Facebook best practices guide and learn how to:

  • Create a Facebook page for your car dealership
  • Get more fans to like your business on Facebook
  • Engage Your audience with high quality content
  • Drive more car sales with our most recent solutions
Are you an automotive professional who is new to Facebook?
 
ADM Professional Community Members can download the PDF file of the Facebook Best Practices Guide for Car Dealers by “right clicking” and choosing your browser’s equivalent of “Save As” here:

Source: Facebook recently created a “Facebook Best Practice Guide” for Car Dealerships that Patrick Workman wanted to share with the ADM Professional Community:

Feel free to share this with dealers and if you are a dealership supplier, with any of your clients, or include it in any newsletter or blog post…

Facebook for Automotive Retailers

How do I customize my Facebook timeline or Page URL address?
Where can I claim a Facebook username?

Customize the address for your timeline or Facebook Page by choosing a username. You can get one at: http://www.facebook.com/username.You can choose a username that Facebook suggests or create your own. Select Check availability to see if the username you want is available. If it is, click Confirm to confirm your choice.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

 

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