Facebook is the most important social media channel for dealers to engage with customers, according to new research by Marketing Delivery.
More than a third (37.6%) of 18 to 54 year olds said Facebook was their preferred social network on which to follow or ‘like’ a car dealer – almost five times more than for any other social platform.
The UK-wide consumer research was commissioned to assess the significance of different social platforms for the motor retail industry.
The survey also found that engagement levels on Facebook – as well as social media more widely – differ significantly depending on the age of the user, their gender, and even their location.
Younger audiences are far more likely to follow or ‘like’ a car dealer on Facebook.
Among those aged 25 to 34, 41.6% cited the platform as their preferred social channel for engaging with dealers.
That proportion drops significantly among those aged 45 to 54, and plummets among those older.
Just 13.2% of those aged 55 and over said they would use Facebook to interact with a dealer.
Another key finding of the survey was that women are more open to engaging with car dealers on Facebook than men - 32% of female respondents said it was their social platform of choice in this regard, compared to 23.8% of males.
“There are myriad ways to engage with consumers through social media, but it simply isn’t cost-effective to pursue every opportunity,” said Jeremy Evans, Marketing Delivery managing director.
“Dealership marketing managers must target their approach to maximise their return on investment, and our research highlights some important pointers.
“The overwhelming preference for Facebook in some UK regions makes it clear that many dealers are missing a trick when it comes to targeting local prospects.
“It should also be borne in mind that as Facebook owns Instagram, marketing initiatives can more easily be run in parallel – particularly valuable when targeting younger prospective customers.”
Marketing Delivery’s research also found that interest in using social media for interacting with dealers varied according to the respondent’s region.
The preference for using Facebook as a social platform to follow or ‘like’ dealers peaks in the North East, where 45.1% cite it as their number one choice, followed by Northern Ireland, at 42.1%.
Factoring in preferences for other platforms, Northern Ireland ranks as the number one region for social media engagement with dealers, with a total of 57.9% of respondents saying they would be most likely to follow or ‘like’ a car dealer on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
The region with the lowest interest in engaging with car dealers via Facebook was the South East, at 20.4% of respondents.
And Twitter, Instagram..?
Sitting some way behind Facebook in the popularity stakes is Twitter – only 5.8% of respondents cited it as their preferred choice of social platform on which to engage with a dealer.
Just 3.6% of people would choose Instagram, although this rises substantially, to 18%, for those aged between 18 and 24.
Snapchat was the top choice for only 1.2% of respondents – perhaps highlighting the relative infancy of the platform when it comes to social marketing.