Car buying has always been a people business. You used to put an ad in the Sunday paper, sponsor a kid’s baseball team, and run a commercial a couple of times a year. Curious car buyers used to come into your dealership to check out the newest models. And you got to talk to people and build a rapport. Oh..the good times in the 1980s.
But now it’s 2020, and it’s all about the internet. According to the 2019 Cox Automotive Car Buyer study, 61% of the time customers spend shopping for cars is done online. Customers research vehicle specifics, vehicle reputations, information about the deal, and the reputation of dealerships.
What this boils down to…a dealership’s online presence is integral to success. But the question becomes, what sites should you be using to guide customers to you?
This is where someone like me comes in as a social media consultant. I’ve been in and around the automotive industry for more than fifteen years, and I’ve had to adapt to changing technology. I’ve researched Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, & Gen Z and the differences in their social media habits. I can help guide your online presence and give you tips to entice buyers from all demographics.
Traditional advertising is no longer cost-effective unless you’ve got multiple locations and a broad area to cover. Internet channels such as Facebook & Instagram or car-buying sites such as Autotrader and Edmunds may provide you with more bang for your buck. These alternate means also give you a chance to interact with potential customers and build a reputation for being proactive when it comes to simple questions or problems customers might have.
There are several reasons that customers come to your dealership: looking for a specific vehicle, to drive the one they’ve already picked out, or needing a repair on an existing vehicle. In any case, they need to be able to locate you easily. Customers use apps like Yelp and searches through Google to determine the closest locations and read reviews of those businesses. It’s immensely important to monitor these sites to check your reputation and verify the information like business hours are correct.
And we haven’t even discussed the importance of online presence to job seekers. By creating a cohesive and well-executed online appearance, you show your commitment to technology and community. It can be a great tool to help recruit and retain quality people.