How social media can generate sales leads for dealers
Social media is not just a way to grow your company’s brand, improve your digital presence and connect with customers; used effectively, it can generate real sales leads and increase profits and your customer base.
Using your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to increase sales leads is cost-effective and it works; 24 percent of businesses report an increase in revenue when they use their social media for lead generation. So how does it work?
Social media influences buying behavior
More people than ever are buying directly through a social media channel (16 percent of consumers reported doing it last year, compared with seven percent in 2014), not to mention how social media interactions affect what people buy and from whom.
Social media is incredibly powerful when it comes to people’s buying habits and its influence is growing. Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ 2015 Global Retail Report polled nearly 23,000 online shoppers, and found 78 percent of consumers said they were influenced by social media in some way, up from 68 percent in 2015. In the U.S., 40 percent of consumers said reading reviews, comments and feedback on social media influenced their online shopping behavior. Last year Facebook influenced 52 percent of consumers’ online and offline purchases, up from 36 percent in 2014, so managing your social media channels effectively is incredibly important as it has a direct impact on people choosing your store over someone else’s.
Engage with potential customers
Social media is just that: social. Users expect businesses to engage and respond, as well as post interesting and relevant content. It’s all well and good posting photographs of a new tire range fitted on a car on Instagram, but if you’re not following the comments and taking the time to respond to people, you could be turning them off. Interacting and being responsive can very easily win you new customers.
Almost half of PwC’s global survey said that an interaction with a favorite brand on social media resulted in them having more respect for the brand, while 71 percent of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.
Join in (or start) the conversation with a unique #hashtag. It’s almost like “word-of-mouth” advertising but in the digital space. Associate your hashtag with something interesting that, while not directly about your business, can still be traced back to you. Or, piggyback on a new hashtag that has relevance. For tire dealers this could be using hashtags about racing competitions or the launch of a new car something like – “We think these X tires would totally rock on the new X #hashtag.”
Posts that are tagged with another user (56 percent) or location (79 percent) also have significantly higher engagement rates, so it’s a good idea to add who you’re with and where you are to your Instagram posts.
Treat your Facebook page like a website
Your Facebook page isn’t just a way to get likes, just as Twitter and Instagram aren’t just about getting followers. You want your social media channels to work for you too. Consumers don’t want to have to always go to multiple sites to find the information they are looking for. Your Facebook page isn’t a giant advert. It should have a map, contact details, product information and other useful stuff on it.
The best tool these days is to set up custom tabs on your page that are perfect for contact forms. As a tire dealer, you could add “buy now” or “book an appointment” tabs. This means you can capture the customer’s business there and then, rather than directing them to an external site. Where it’s relevant, make sure to link to the tabs on your posts.
Give people a reason to take action
Engaging with potential customers doesn’t end with making posts or replying to comments; a call to action is a further way to draw them in. Facebook contests are very popular and can attract a lot of attention (if you get them right) and will boost your customer email database.
Other events like Twitter chats and Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions, held on a specific day and time, can be very effective. People are genuinely drawn to the subject and are coming to you for information. The topic has to be engaging, though — talking about the best tires for certain vehicles, or “ask an auto technician” for example, not just a “Q&A” on your store.
Apparently, the best time to post on Facebook is 3pm on a Wednesday. Other good times to reach your audience include 12pm to 1pm on Saturdays and Sundays and 1pm to 4pm on Thursdays and Fridays. You can easily schedule your Facebook posts to hit these times and make sure you maximize exposure.