Car Industry Making Social Media Headway
It is no secret that for some time now the automotive industry has struggled to sow sales success with social media. American carmakers like GM and Chrysler have routinely been unable to parlay brand recognition and customer loyalty on social media into showroom sales. There’s no more quintessential, alpha male shopping experience than car buying. It’s probably the only one, and because car buying is a big ticket purchase, men traditionally prefer to go the brick and mortar route. However, is social media changing car buying habits now?
Salespeople and Social Media
The auto industry is promoting a bout between salespeople and social media. The long held pastime of walking into your local dealership and mixing it up with your salesperson still holds strong appeal. Car buyers still legitimize and trust their purchasing decisions most when directly engaged with a salesperson. The information and research that confirms this is overwhelming. When spending so much money, people still prefer to buy from people and this study proves it. However one carmaker is demonstrating more risk taking with social media than the competition and showing some decent returns.
Ford has shown more initiative and daring in the social media arena than other car manufacturers. Since Ford’s initial plunge into social media, they have had mixed results. After an initial gaffe or two, Ford’s social media strategy has matured quite nicely. The Mustang is the most liked car on Facebook with 4.5 million “likes” and Ford now manages over 80 pages worldwide on Facebook. Ford will continue working on creating pre-launch buzz for its newest releases. As time passes car manufacturers become more social media savvy and implement more effective online marketing strategies.
Keys To The Mysteries of Social Media
Car manufacturers are finding the keys to solving the mystery of social media. One company helping them to do so is Salorix. The social media marketing firm did a study based on Tweets generated by Twitter. One finding of their study was not surprising: a lot of the Tweets paid attention to Ford. They also discovered that many Twitter users discussing cars have a small follower base; usually under 500. The study also reveals that the sports car segment is the most discussed, and that Ford is frequently compared to European and Asian cars. Soon car manufacturers may find their magic social media formula.
A blueprint for engaging car buyers on social media has been discovered. Syncapse Corporation has been working with the automotive industry to help car manufacturers engage customers and grow loyalty. Syncapse has identified six stages of the customer car purchasing experience. By using social media as a tool to help customers navigate the car buying process, car makers hope to capitalize on the social media rush. As online retail sales continue skyrocketing (think Amazon) and brick and mortar stores die (think Borders and Circuit City), it only makes sense that Americans will gradually come around to the idea of looking to social media for car buying help. Car manufacturers may not see a flood of conversions, but by providing helpful and accurate information their customer loyalty will grow exponentially.
Bio: Eric Thomas is author and Brand Manager for BrandMe, Australia’s premiere source for business gifts.
Image credit: kornette