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

“Challenging this may be swimming against the current, but, like most business people, we recognise the vital importance of achieving an acceptable return on our marketing budget. The evidence for using Facebook is questionable.”

Werner believes dealers can miss opportunities by spending more time and resources on social media.

“To date the cost/value evidence with social media, notably Facebook, in generating activity and revenue for dealers is limited,” he said.

“Conversely, investing in a well-populated, information-rich website with tools offers a better return on investment. Dealers should be working to ensure such opportunities are not missed”.

James Tew, director at iVendi, said information from sites such as Facebook  allows dealers to build a personality picture of someone applying for finance through their website.

“It’s possible to collate interests such as music, cinema, travelling and football from internet data,” he said.

“This is useful when sales people are meeting fewer customers face to face and less frequently. More customers now choose a car and finance it online and the first and only contact with a dealer is when they collect their purchase.”

Tom Skilling, digital development manager at DSG FS, said: “Without content, dealers’ Twitter and Facebook pages won’t entice people to keep coming back to see what they’ve got to say.

“Social media should encourage potential customers to click through to see a dealer’s website – an online showroom where cars, offers and promotions can be found.”

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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.