Your dealership is probably struggling to see the ROI from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

You want to sell cars through social media–despite marketers saying that’s the wrong approach–but are unsure of how to properly attract social media users to your profiles.

So what if I told you that you could not only defy what most automotive marketers think is possible while also building a community around your brand. That would interest you, right?

I thought so.

Now, before you can run off with all of those potential sales, you have to walk. When working on a social media strategy, you first have to understand the user before you can even hope to sell something to them. Let’s talk about that.

 

What does a social media user want?

Social media users want two things: to be informed and entertained. If you’re not doing either of those things, you’re not doing social media right. Don’t think of social media as a soapbox that you can just get on every time you want to announce something to your followers.

Because unlike celebrities, your dealership’s followers probably don’t care that Erin R. bought a 2014 Buick Encore today, and that brought sales up to 200 this month. Obviously that’s great for Erin and your dealership, but what value does that add to your average social media user’s day? They don’t know Erin, and they likely don’t have a vested interest in the success of your dealership, so why would they like or share that post?

 

The 5 Rules of Social Media Etiquette

1. Don’t talk about yourself too much

Just because the page has your dealership’s name on it doesn’t make it all about the business. Social media is all about the users, and it’s important to get into that mindset fast.

We all know the phrase “the customer is always right,” and that very much applies to social media. Like I said, it’s great when a customer buys a car, but no one on social media cares. No one is going to see a “We made a sale!” type of post, drive out to your lot, and buy a new car just so they can be on your Facebook page.

It’s crucial to diversify your content. One day you might post an image of a cool car from your brand’s line-up, the next you may link to a blog post, and after that you might ask a question about a current event. Put the focus on what value you can bring to others and they’ll start paying attention to you.

 

2. Never argue in public

If a customer become irate in your showroom, would you start yelling at them in front of potential buyers, or would you calmly ask them to follow you into an office so you can defuse the situation? The parallels between online and offline interaction with customers are striking.

Your dealership has likely received negative reviews or had a mean comment posted in response to a post on Facebook or Twitter. How have those situations been handled? Do you even have a policy for dealing with that sort of feedback?

Your social media team should have a protocol in place to effectively handle negative feedback. For negative reviews, you should always follow up, because customer reviews are crucial to your dealership’s overall image. More than ever before, consumers search for reviews before visiting a business in person.

In your response, you don’t want to attack the person or make a claim that is was their fault–even if it was a misunderstanding. Handle the situation effectively and the person may edit their negative review.

 

3. Create content that highlights your inventory while adding value to users

You can inadvertently market to social media users without them knowing it, and that’s the best kind of marketing. Whatever you’re providing them with, whether it be information or entertainment, if it has to do with the cars you sell, it’s a win-win. That could be a positive review of a new model, a piece of news about some celebrity driving a model you sell, or a list of movies your brand has been featured–it’s all interesting and relevant to your business.

By catering to what users want to see, you can build genuine interest in your dealership. No gimmicky sales pitches or commercials–just real content that people want to share.

 

4. Show an interest in your community

Your social media strategy should be tackling these three things: highlighting inventory, increasing clicks to your website or blog, and targeting your local audience. That last one is crucial, as it’s a complete waste of time to get Pierre from France to like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter. When using Facebook ads,or any for that matter, be sure you’re targeting only your local area.

Once you’ve got your audience targeted, create content that’s relevant to that area. Talk about its history, post about upcoming events, or ask questions that only local residents would be able to answer. Your dealership is a part of this community and you really want to make your business a noticeable and recognizable figure.

 

5. Always be cultivating (and closing)

If you’ve been told that you can’t sell cars on social media, you’ve been duped. You can sell cars, but you also need to be utilizing social media as a brand builder. You’ll not only move more inventory in the short-term, but you’ll create long-term customers who will rely on you for not only new vehicle purchases, but service as well.

That’s why you always need to be cultivating relationships with users. A great social media team is one made up of personable experts that know the ins and outs of interacting online from a business perspective.

 

Time to Run

Now that you know the steps necessary to improve your social media etiquette, you can take your dealership’s social media presence to the next level. But while you may be ready to run with the bulls, that doesn’t mean it’s a race.

Social media success won’t happen overnight, but this new advertising and marketing platform is becoming more and more important each and every day. As long as you provide value to the users, the ROI will follow.

 

This post originally appeared on http://www.automotivedigitalmarketing.com/ under The 5 Rules of Social Media Etiquette for Car Dealers.