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Motor finance lenders mixed on value of social media for car dealers

Shaun Harris, sales director at Codeweavers, said: “Dealer social media activity is often dominated by stock lists on Twitter and Facebook, missing the engaging content core requirement.”

Paul Brotherton, head of business strategy, improvement and support at Black Horse, said: “Pro-active use of social media and follow-up varies from dealer to dealer in areas including special promotions, campaigns and size of customer and stakeholder following.”


Many dealers still cautious about social media

Finance brokers committed to the use of social media believe many dealers remain cautious about making the investment.

John Hughes, director at broker Mann Island Finance, said: “It is hard for dealers to commit resources to what will commonly be a non-core activity for lenders. Bloomberg research shows a number of major brands have closed Facebook online storefronts as the returns fail to justify the high development costs.”

Hughes said the opportunity from social media had to be appropriate. “Like dealers we need to establish a robust return on investment,” he said. “A relatively small number of dealers are very active on social media, but it seems for many others the jury is very much out. Motor dealers want a quick return on investment and the metrics to support the value of a significant level of social media activity are not, as yet, compelling.”

Samantha Chilcott, digital marketing executive at broker Creditplus, said: “If customers contact a company with a complaint via social media, and it is not addressed, the issue stays there for lots of other potential customers to see.

“A company regularly interacting with customers can see very positive results. When potential customers see those communications it helps to validate the company.”


'The evidence for uusing Facebook is questionable'

Some finance companies have challenged the belief that active social media is essential in a dealer’s marketing mix.

Karl Werner, MotoNovo Finance head of sales and marketing, said: “Social media has taken an increasing share of marketing spend over recent years.

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  • Mike Hind - 17/06/2014 15:37

    It is a big mistake to focus entirely on the supposed revenue/business opportunities offered by social media for motor retailers and allied businesses. Some are very good at engaging in a friendly way that may generate enquiries or even sales, or simply goodwill and a reputation for being 'nice'. Some will make it pay and many won't, but endlessly debating the cash value or otherwise of being active on social media completely misses the point. And - obviously - we all want to drive eyeballs to our websites, so that's a given, But a massive reason for being active on social media - especially Twitter - is to ensure you can deploy reputational shield. Try this: Google a well known brand and the word 'complaint' or 'problem'. The brands/businesses where a negative story appears high in those results are invariably those who do not use social media effectively and are therefore incapable of deploying reputational shield. Now try this: next time you have a problem with a product or service go straight onto Twitter and see how quickly the business behind it takes you offline and into direct communication. That is good housekeeping. And that is the point of social media. If you can develop fabulous viral content that is shared widely, well done you. If you can keep the complaints off the first page of Google, even more well done you.

  • Philip Nothard - 17/06/2014 16:10

    The idea that Social Media is a revenue opportunity, seems to be extremely 'short-sighted', in that you need to consider the whole transparency factor and engagement. Added to this, is the brand awareness, and that people can engage openly with you. It allows openness and in many cases, those that invest 'time' in it - do recover what would have been LOST revenue as oppose to potential revenue.