Many great insights come from consumers as they talk, interact, and share—but where can you find shoppers doling out their thoughts, and how can your dealership get in tune with the conversations that are taking place and use them to positively impact the way you do business? Social media is increasingly important in the lives of every consumer, and for your dealership, that means social listening is key to understanding and aligning with shopper needs throughout the automotive industry.
It’s a tough job to take care of a dealership day-in and day-out, and for that reason, it’s a good idea to accept the help that is right in front of you. Today’s consumers are willing—even eager—to fill in the gaps and give you valuable insights regarding what’s important to them, what resonates, and how to best reach them in the midst of their busy lives. They are some of your best collaborators and contributors, especially when it comes to sharing what you can do to effectively reach broader audiences and convey messages that resonate with their lifestyles and current needs.
In order to get the insights you’re looking for, you’ll need to let consumers know you’re socially available and interested in hearing what they have to say. It’s not enough to simply lurk on a few social media sites and listen to the things shoppers are saying; instead, you’ll need to build a presence for your dealership. By interacting with shoppers and building meaningful relationships, you’ll elicit trust, which in turn encourages consumers to share more insights and opinions with you.
To hone your social listening skills and ensure your online audience interacts with you at the greatest possible level, try a few of the following in your social marketing plan:
Find your cheerleaders and their hangouts. It’s important to look for your advocates, as well as the online platforms where they’re spending their time. Once you’ve determined that, you can decide where to invest your time as well. By aligning your online listening and relationship-building time on the same sites where your advocates hang out, you’ll get more traction with conversations.
Ask for information and insights. In addition to offering quality content to build your audience, it’s smart to ask directed questions to engage consumers. Rather than requesting open-ended feedback, try asking consumers to focus on specific products or services in order to get the most accurate feedback. Online consumers will be more likely to respond and let you know what they’re thinking when you ask them for their opinions.
Pay attention and respond to feedback. Online feedback is important, especially since a majority of shoppers look to peers for recommendations and insights before purchasing. Be sure to provide timely replies and helpful responses, both to positive and negative feedback, as this can help with online review building. Remember, your responses are visible not only to the shopper who left the feedback, but also to potential customers, so your reactions can influence future business for your dealership.
Watch for keywords, phrases, and your dealership brand. While you’re working to build your social presence, be sure to keep your eyes open and watch for things pertaining to your dealership to pop up in conversations. When your brand, products, or services are the topics of choice, be sure to zero in on what shoppers are saying and learn from the insights they offer.
Enlist your pros. The professionals at your dealership not only have a broader social reach than your brand alone, they can cover more ground when it comes to social listening. Lean into their expertise on social channels and enlist their help when it comes to interacting and sharing with consumers, as well as listening to the important insights being shared.
By making important connections with your consumers and taking them up on their willingness to collaborate and give you valuable insights regarding what shoppers are looking for in the marketplace, your dealership will be able to better align with today’s consumer needs. Work toward boosting your online social presence and focus on social listening; by doing this, you’ll find an entire online community of consumers who are willing to share and interact with you, helping you understand exactly what your customers are looking for.