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Social media: opening a channel to your customers

Phillips said the businesses seeing the biggest successes are those that use social media as a social collaboration tool to improve their own business.

Philip Deacon, Ridgeway Group communications manager, said: “Social media has undoubtedly changed the way customers choose to interact with us. This communication channel, particularly with the increasing prevalence of mobile, means that they have now come to expect their posts and questions to be answered in real time.”

While Ridgeway has had success, Motors.co.uk believes the majority of dealers are missing out on leads.

Andy Coulthurst, Motors.co.uk managing director and ex-JCT600 sales director, said: “Dealers have long been aware of the importance of social media; however, the stats show that not all dealers are managing their online profiles effectively.

“Essentially, the industry is doing quite well at creating Twitter profiles for broadcasting offers and stock, yet many dealers are still missing out on inbound enquiries. Social media networks need to be constantly monitored to ensure channels are not just one-way streets of information.”

Research from Motors.co.uk found some dealers may not only be missing out on revenue but could also be hurting their reputation within the marketplace by not responding to communications through social networks on which they have profiles.

Of the 40 dealers the Motors.co.uk team approached anonymously via Twitter, only 12 responded to requests for information on their latest deals.

If you valued each missed enquiry at a possible profit value of at least £500; those dealerships could have missed out on a potential combined £14,000 in revenue.

Coulthurst said: “Monitoring social media conversations is vitally important not only to

maintain a business’ brand reputation, but also to enable dealers to capitalise on any potential sales leads that may present themselves.

“This is a job that needs to be undertaken in-house, as replies need to be prompt, well-informed and written in a style that suits the target audience.”

 

Managing your reputation

Monitoring for conversations also lets dealers quickly respond to any potential negative comments or dissatisfied customers and gives dealers a chance to fix a problem or turn a detractor into an ambassador for the business (see “free monitoring tools” at the end of this story).

Twitter is one of the easiest ways for a customer to publicly broadcast their distaste to tens of thousands of people across the world. It’s a daunting prospect for dealers putting their reputation on the line.

  • Social media will be discussed in depth at AM's Digital Dealer Conference on September 12 at the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon, Warwickshire. Tickets are available to dealers and manufacturers, to book, please contact Nicola Baxter on 01733 468289 or email nicola.baxter@bauermedia.co.uk or visit www.amdigitaldealer.co.uk

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