How to Build Relationships to Sell Cars Using Social Media (Bonus Strategy Included)

By: Michael Cirillo   |   26 Mar 2015

You’re asking all of the right questions…

  • How can I leverage social media to build relationships?
  • What social networks should I focus on?
  • What should I be saying on social media to achieve expert status?  

Almost every day I hear questions just like this from car sales professionals around the world.

And I love it! It's motivating to see how many movers and shakers there are on the front lines of the auto industry.

But even though you know it and I know it - it's time for your customers to know it! So let's take a look at each of these questions and explore the options available to you.

What Social Networks Should I Focus On?

Hint: Ditch the Dead Weight.

First of all, don't feel like you need to be active on all the social networks out there. There are dozens of them! In most cases, I bet you're finding yourself using some more than others.

I know this may contradict what other "experts" say, but the proof is in the pudding.

How many social profiles do you have currently? And of those, how many get neglected?

If the answer is 'none', then you're a super star. But chances are there are at least a couple that don't get the regular TLC you give others...

I recommend ditching the other social networks that you don't use for the time being. Focus on being great at the ones you use more often.

If that's Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, channel your social energy into those two networks. It's better to be active on fewer social networks than inactive on a bunch. This will also help your followers know where they can find you on a consistent basis.

Once you decide which social networks to keep, make sure that your profiles get optimized. Search Engine Watch has some cool tips about how to optimize your social profiles that are really easy to do.

An optimized profile makes a huge difference in the user experience, and also can help interconnect the other social profiles you plan on using. Long story short - don't have too many social profiles that it becomes overwhelming for you to manage.

Give your customers and followers a consistent place where they know you'll be providing value on a regular basis.  

How Can I Leverage Social Media to Build Relationships?

If you ask me, social media is one of the best prospecting tools out there.

Think about it. Where else do you have access to an unlimited supply of vehicle shoppers in one place?

I recently interviewed Mike Davenport (30 car guy) a.k.a Louisville Chevy Dude, for an episode of The Dealer Playbook Podcast.

After the show, we were chatting when Mike announced, "By the way, I just sold a Corvette from Facebook chat while you guys were interviewing me!"

WHAAAAAT?

How awesome is that? Mike is building relationships on social media every day. Those relationships are turning into leads. Those leads are turning into sales, and they are reaching out and conversing with him on social media!

But what can you do to build these relationships, especially if you don't know the people?

Since everyone is always talking about Facebook, I'd like to go a different route. I want to take a minute and look at some ways you can use Twitter to BRT (build relationships of trust).

...we'll get to Facebook later in this post.

I use a piece of software called Tweetdeck, which works incredibly well for keeping track of various Twitter feeds, topics and users. Check out this video that explains Tweetdeck in more detail:

 

What Should I say on Social Media? 

Have you ever had a conversation with a group of people where at least one person had nothing valuable to contribute?

There always has to be "one of those" right? Well that's kind of what's happening on social media right now. Think of social media as a big group conversation. If you have nothing valuable to contribute, chances are you're going to get ignored. Here's what I mean...

Facebook Car dealer wall post

Does this look like what you've been posting on social media? If so, let the data do the talking.

This post in particular has only received 3 likes since February. In case you're wondering, that's not good. No comments...that's even worse! No shares - you get the idea. It's bad.

If you're doing this with your social posting, I hate to break it to you. You're doing it all wrong.

You're 'that guy' in the conversation who has nothing valuable to contribute. Spend less of your time posting images of your inventory and more time posting something of value to social users.

For example, if you want to draw attention to a particular piece of inventory, do this:  

1. Think about who that piece of inventory is for

I spend a lot of time talking about this because it's crucial to your online success.

Each vehicle type that you have on the lot today has an intended target demographic. I call these consumer segments. Segments are groups of people who share similar needs and interests.

Young Families are a consumer segment because 9 times out of 10, they are always interested in the same things. Safety, economy, seating configurations, entertainment features and space. With them in mind, can you identify what vehicles you sell that would satisfy their needs?

2. Create a piece of content about your inventory

Write a blog post about the 5 reasons why young families in [your location] prefer the [make/model] over the [competing make/model]. Include a video walk around of that vehicle and embed in in the blog post. Somewhere in the middle of the blog post, include a call-to-action for people to check out your [make/model] inventory. Make sense?

3. Share the link

Now that you know who you're speaking to, you're ready to share the link on social media. Now you have something worthwhile sharing. After you've posted the link, ask your friends and family that live in your area to share the link on their timelines. Doing so will increase your chances of it getting noticed.

4. Value, value and more VALUE!

It's one thing to just post an image of the latest vehicle you took in on trade. It's something completely different when you take the time to provide value to the market. When that's your focus, you will be perceived as your market's expert...and who doesn't want to work with an expert?  

BONUS BRAND BUILDER strategy…

Caution: Following these steps may create a snowball effect that you won't be able to stop! This is something that can happen immediately. That's right... you heard me. IMMEDIATELY! (insert evil genious laugh here)

Have you ever thought about friending your new clients on Facebook or Twitter? Have you ever asked your clients if you can take a picture for them in front of their new vehicle? If not, WHY THE HECK NOT?

Take a look at Mike Davenport (who sells 30+ cars a month btw).

Mike Davenport Facebook Post

When you look at Mike's activity on social, most of his posts are pictures of him, tagging the people he just sold a vehicle to. BUT look at the engagement levels on his posts! 60+ Likes and 24 comments!

It doesn't matter if you sell 1, 10, 12 or 100 cars a month. You can use this strategy to start building momentum online.

When you friend your clients (becuase you'll be able to service them better), that also gives you the ability to tag them in the photos you take. When you tag them in the photo, their friends also see the image and it sparks engagement.

Give this a try. Build relationships, be social, be valuable...be powerful! It's your turn.

What strategies are you using online to sell cars using social media? Let me know in the comments below.

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