Marketing 3.0: Surveys, Social Media, CSI and Missing the Mark
Social media is evolving too quickly for most of us to keep up with. But
your business depends on your understanding. It is where consumers share information first, including how they feel about brands and products. Long before a survey reaches a customer, that customer has likely communicated an opinion through a social media portal. Auto dealers rely heavily upon surveys to measure CSI, which is unlikely to change anytime soon. But, a dealer can upset a customer with the survey, itself, as consumers are being bombarded with online survey requests. Used correctly, social media can serve as a tool to measure consumer sentiment, as well as effectively market with a personal touch.
You most likely have been hearing social media this and social media that for almost a decade. Maybe you've heard about webinars, classes, and even full– blown conferences about how to use social media for your marketing efforts. You probably know about people being Facebook friends, "liking" company Facebook pages, and "following" companies and individuals on Twitter. You may have even heard about the prevalence of social media making its way into the courtroom during divorce cases, with Facebook being the market leader (1).
Beyond people getting themselves into trouble with significant others on Facebook and learning that their best friend's brother's mother–in–law just bought kitty litter from a verbally abusive street merchant on Twitter (seriously, Marge, what'd you expect?), how are marketers utilizing the emergence of this new craze? With only 41% of auto dealers having a Facebook page (2), your dealership stands to benefit.
Facebook: the megalith: scheduled to reach one billion users in 2012
Facebook is by far the most successful and popular of all social media. Thus, for the purpose of this discussion, we will focus on Facebook.
An individual can have a personal page, while a company can create a business page. The difference is that, with a personal page, a person can request other people to be "friends." With that, people can view photos, status updates, and the companies and organizations they "like," as well as other interests, such as music and movies. A company, on the other hand, is restricted to waiting for individuals to come along and choose to like their page. Note that "liking" a company's page was formerly referred to as becoming a "fan." Instead of fans, a company now has likes.
Worldwide, Facebook boasts nearly one billion users. The social networking site currently reaches 51% of Americans ages 12 and up (3). What's a company to do with this newly found access? Perhaps, more importantly, what does a company not do?
To properly utilize this medium, Matthew Funk, social media expert with TK Carsites, says, "People develop positive feelings with a person, not a page" (4). Your challenge is to market without attempting to sell—or not appear to be selling.
"Companies that spend their time focusing on gathering Facebook likes are completely missing the mark," says Brandon Piersant, Director of Marketing at DealerSocket. "Social media is a place to get to know your customers," continues Piersant, "not to directly sell to them."
Funk recommends marketers to "Write about your local community and events, and try to post items of interest that go beyond your business. A good viral video doesn't make you think, `I want to buy a car from the dealership,' but it does keep you in the news feed and reinforces the name."
Who Are We Reaching?
As stated above, 51% of the U.S. population, ages 12 and older, are on Facebook. A study by CoTweet and ExactTarget reports that 43% of that 51% said they
like at least one company page. Thus, approximately 27% of Americans over 12 like at least one company on Facebook. That's a lot of Americans liking a lot of companies. But, before you can decide how to market to those who like your Facebook page, you need to get the like.