It’s well know that having a social media presence can be beneficial to a dealer’s business. It helps portray personality, build a brand and connect with people in a quick, convenient and direct manner. But as worthy as all of this is, quantification of more tangible business benefits can be problematic.
Some of the innumerable so-called social media ‘experts’ contest that it’s extremely difficult and irrelevant to measure return on investment. However, every aspect of your business should have a business case behind it, so having an idea of the value of your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or LinkedIn presence is essential.
In a recent article, Digital Visitor stated that businesses should measure their social media ROI in exactly the same way as they would any other aspect of digital marketing – that is to say through clicks (traffic), impressions (community growth) and revenue (or client generation).
Organic traffic to your social media page is the obvious baseline number. Increasingly, SEO relies upon social content to help drive a business to the top of the organic rankings due to its capacity for generating SEO-friendly fresh and rich content such as wall posts, comments, images and videos.
Proactively engaging with your audience by asking them for reviews of their cars or experience in the dealership is a great way to start. Dealers should post content which consumers might want to interact with. Many of GForces’ clients are active in linking back offers, blogs, pictures and comments on the latest automotive news on their Facebook pages.
Referral traffic is also important, so share positive reviews and other content from your main website as it will increase social click-throughs and impressions. Any views of your social profile can be tracked through Facebook analytics, whilst Google analytics will pick up social referrals and enable your business to assign a performance figure, enabling the creation of benchmarks.
Growing your audience is highly measurable – simply by keeping track of the number of ‘likes’ or followers you have. There are also numerous ways in which you can grow your fan base.
GForces’ ‘Win With Likes’ Facebook-based app encourages dealership staff members to share the business’ page with their friends through a winnable incentive. Unique trackable links mean that staff can be ranked against one another, the one who gains the most additional ‘likes’ being the winner. Bespoke Facebook competitions, devised to be useful to your audience, perhaps offering a free service, are also great at driving audience growth. Finally, additional content that is only available to fans can encourage people to engage.
Attributing revenue gains through social media is the trickiest task as the car buying journey has a vast number of influencing factors that stretch beyond those in normal commerce. It is ill-advised to push for sales through social media, but Facebook-only offers, for example, are of clear benefit to fans and take-up is easily measurable.
It is becoming increasingly common for people to make enquiries via social media that, ultimately, result in a sale. Several GForces’ clients have secured sales in this way. Carefully tracking conversations and treating them as leads when appropriate gives dealers a measurable ROI from their social presence.
Given the potential value of a new car sale, the return on social media investment for car dealers can be rapid. Dealers need to take social media ROI tracking seriously to ensure that they are getting the most from it.
Interesting facts and figures
- More than two-thirds (70.1%) of Facebook brand pages are updated less than once a month (eConsultancy, November 2012)
- The top five reasons for car buyers to like Facebook pages are for exclusive offers, updates on pricing and incentives, events info, car tips and contests (Digital Air Strike, May 2013)
- 75% of female and 54% of male car buyers use Facebook (Digital Air Strike, May 2013)