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Social Media Best Practices for Automotive Dealers' Service Departments

2020 undoubtedly highlighted the reliance people have on social media to get their news, information, shopping, and more. Car dealerships were forced to step up their digital marketing game to reach and attract car buyers, but how are dealers performing when it comes to their service drive social media game? A strong social media strategy is a must for a service department. But dealerships generally miss the mark in their service department’s social media presence.

Social-Media-Best-Practices-for-Automotive-Dealers-Service

Absorption Rate Goals

The challenge is that dealers are looking to the service department to reach a high absorption rate. A dealership with a high absorption rate is better able to weather the slumps of car sales.

One would think that with this lofty goal set before them, the dealership’s social media marketing strategy would align.

However, as we perused a handful of dealership Facebook Pages, they all seem to send the same message. Sales are the shiny, exciting part of our dealership, while the service department may, or may not, make an appearance on the dealership’s social media platforms.

The Social Media Balancing Act for Dealerships

With so many social media channels available, how do you know where to prioritize?

Determining the best social platform to use can be an overwhelming task, but research shows that Facebook is the most popular social media platform for dealer marketing.

Therefore, we started by looking at five different dealership Facebook Pages. We included dealerships with different makes located in various parts of the country. We didn’t use dealership names as our goal is not to pick on specific dealers but instead highlight the impression each dealer leaves with its followers.

Marketing must align with dealership goals.  If a robust service lane is one of those goals, the strategy should match. Unfortunately, we found this is not a common practice in the automotive industry’s Facebook strategies.

Review of 5 Different Dealership Facebook Pages:

Ford Dealership (Springfield, Illinois)

October 2020 Posts48 Total Posts – 28 Sales | 4 Service | 16 General Interest

8.33% Service Posts
September 2020 Posts55 Total Posts – 34 Sales | 4 Service | 17 General Interest

7.27% Service Posts
Total Service Post % for two-month Span7.77%

Toyota Dealership (Houston, Texas)

October 2020 Posts70 Total Posts – 55 Sales | 5 Service | 10 General Interest

7.14% Service Posts
September 2020 Posts25 Total Posts – 21 Sales | 2 Service | 2 General Interests

8.00% Service Posts
Total Service Post % for two-month Span7.37%

Chevrolet Dealership (New York, New York)

October 2020 Posts31 Total Posts – 23 Sales | 0 Service | 8 General Interest

0.00% Service Posts
September 2020 Posts20 Total Posts – 20 Sales | 0 Service | 0 General Interest

0.00% Service Posts
Total Service Post % for two-month Span0.00%

Honda Dealership (San Jose, California)

October 2020 Posts12 Total Posts – 9 Sales | 3 Service | 0 General Interest

25% Service Posts
September 2020 Posts9 Total Posts – 6 Sales | 2 Service | 1 General Interest

22% Service Posts
Total Service Post % for two-month Span23.81%

Volkswagen Dealership (Jacksonville, FL)

October 2020 Posts30 Total Posts – 25 Sales | 1 Service | 4 General Interest

3.33% Service Posts
September 2020 Posts22 Total Posts – 19 Sales | 1 Service | 2 General Interest

4.55% Service Posts
Total Service Post % for two-month Span3.85%

These dealerships each vary in the number of posts they had per month, week, and day.

Some seemed very consistent and methodical in their master posting plan, while others seemed sporadic and disjointed. Some had dozens of posts with customers and their new vehicles, while others seem to have no human element at all.

But the one thing each of these dealerships had in common is the sales department was feasting at the Facebook table while the service department got the leftover social media morsels.

These five dealerships combined averaged 8.56% posts that pointed to their service department.

Why the Oversight?

Dealers can often be more sales-focused, thereby influencing the dealership’s marketing focus. The result is a Facebook page that reaches and attracts car buyers only.

It is important to note that service customers are not necessarily the same as car buyers. The ideal service customer has an older vehicle that needs more involved maintenance or repairs. Many aren’t interested in car buying, and even if they are, they still need to take care of the car they are driving.

Marketing to these two different customer types takes planning and management. The right marketing team will understand the role the service department plays in the dealership’s bottom line. They will also realize the service department gets customers on the lot, potentially leading to future sales.

Increasing Brand Awareness to Potential Service Customers?

Let’s use Facebook’s tips for business and customize these specifically to the car dealer’s service department.

Capture Video

The quickest and easiest way to make a statement is to capture a quick pic or create a short slideshow or video. Build trust by introducing your service team and showing them in action. Ask a team member what they are working on and how they are solving a customer’s problem? Show off your new service app or your beautiful waiting area. These visuals go a long way in painting the experience for service customers.

Engage

Engage with your audience with a vehicle service quiz with a prize for the winner. For example, “What mileage should you have a transmission flush? Get the closest answer without going over and receive $10 off your next oil change.”

Story Time

Another great way to attract followers is to tell a story. A service department has many unique customers, each with unique stories. And while they are in your service department, you are a part of their story.

Publish a quick post telling the story of a mom who had two children with her when she arrived at your car dealership. Explain how happy you were to provide her with a loaner vehicle, and she didn’t have to spend half the day wrangling her little ones in your lobby.

Or tell the story of a gentleman who came in for an oil change, and your team noticed his tires were looking worn. After discussing this matter with the customer, your team installed a new set of tires and had him off to work quickly.

You know what your stories are, and you know how your team’s service makes a difference in your customer’s lives. Take a quick minute to share these stories.

Pro Tip

It is important to remember that not all posts need to be about your business. You can also provide helpful, useful, and interesting content that is unrelated to your service department.

For example, share the morning rush hour traffic link. People will slow their scroll to view this, and they will see your logo in the process. You can occasionally add a call to action with this type of post like, “Don’t sit in traffic! Instead, enjoy a cup of coffee and an oil change while you wait for traffic to pass.”

Spread the Word

You should also encourage happy customers to jump on Facebook to submit an online review. Make it easy for them by sending the link in a follow-up email.

Be sure you’ve done all you can do to satisfy the customer before sending this follow-up email. Nothing’s worse than being asked to submit a review when you weren’t happy with your service.

Blog that Benefits

Share your blog posts, but be sure these posts are high-quality posts and are of interest to the audience you’re trying to attract. They should be written to provide useful information to the reader and to set your dealership apart as an expert in the industry.

Add an Ad

Facebook Ads are another way to spread the word about your services. Facebook will guide you through this process and help you to target the right customer. Grow your social media reach all while keeping within your marketing budget.

Bonus:  

Facebook is not a “fix it and forget it” form of marketing.  The goal is to get people to engage. If your content is successful in this, the expectation is that someone will be there to answer questions and keep the conversations going.

A service department cannot obtain a social media presence by riding the coattails of the sales department. It must have its own digital marketing strategy that is not necessarily independent of the sales department. Instead, it should complement the sales department and create marketing magic to attract both sales and service customers to the dealership.

Visit TVI MarketPro3 for more automotive marketing tips.

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