Tuesday, February 21, 2017

How Does Live Video Fit Into Your Dealership's Social Media Strategy?

Man takes photo with smartphone
Not so long ago, social media probably felt like just another wild fad. Dealerships questioned if it was worth signing up for social accounts and if it could really help their marketing. But after millions of posts, photos and GIFs, social media is still kicking, and dealerships everywhere are using it to build brands and foster loyalty.

Today you're probably feeling some of that same trepidation when looking at the onslaught of live video streaming. Is it a fad? Is it worth the time? Will anybody watch? While you might look at services like Facebook Live and Twitter's Periscope as the social media flavor of the month, you could be missing out if live video isn't playing a role in your dealership's social media marketing.

Let's take a look at some of the questions you might be having about live video streaming.

Why Live Video?

Live video offers your customers an unfiltered look at your dealership that they don't get from professionally-produced and scripted video content. TV and video advertisements are great and should play a role in your marketing, but live video brings something different to the table. It humanizes your dealership and gives your customers an opportunity to get to know the people behind the flashy ads.

Because many consider social media to be a poor source of leads, engagement is the metric that matters to marketers. Are people interacting with and commenting on your content? That's engagement. Forrester Research recently revealed that live video receives three times the engagement of pre-recorded video, meaning people are more likely to help spread your message if it's a live video.

Are People Watching?

Just as smartphones have been the driving force behind a boom in phone calls placed to businesses, they have also contributed to the explosion of live video streaming. Smartphones and mobile devices let you easily follow what's happening with your friends and favorite brands wherever you are. They also give you an easy way to broadcast yourself on the go.

With smartphones making it easy to view and records videos, 46 percent of all digital video consumption is now happening on mobile devices. The NFL recognized this when it decided to stream several games on Twitter during the 2016 season. The first stream had 2.1 million unique viewers over the course of the game. Sure, the NFL has a few more fans than a typical dealership, but people are definitely watching. Just don't expect millions of views from the start.

What Should We Stream?

You might be tempted to use live video to talk about your screaming hot deals and how customers should get down to the showroom today. DON'T DO IT! As we mentioned earlier, few businesses see social media as a good lead source. It's all about building loyalty, so you shouldn't be posting about your lot inventory all the time anyway. You shouldn't use live video to do it either.

Live video isn't traditional advertising. Don't get online just to read a script and then log off. Much like your regular social media channels, you should use it to interact with customers. Give followers the opportunity to have their questions answered by sales, service or F&I reps with a live Q&A session — but keep it brief. Remember the 2.1 million unique viewers of that NFL stream? Only one-eigth of that amount was watching at any given minute.

You can also use live video to promote big events. Are you grilling free hamburgers and hot dogs for a Memorial Day sales event? Use a live video stream to show your followers what they're missing. The video doesn't have to be about your great deals. Just give them a reason to visit your dealership and feel like they're getting something out of it.

What are some ways you can deploy live video streaming as part of your social media strategy? Do you have an idea for a unique way to interact with your customers from afar? Let us know in the comments.