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.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

How to Rescue the Leads That Get Away

Baseball player makes a leaping catch
The one that got away — we've all experienced it. Going all in at the poker table with a full house and losing to a four-of-a-kind hand. Waving goodbye to your middle-school sweetheart when they move away during the summer. Having a fish spit out the hook right before it lands in the net. Coming up short is practically a fact of life.

Dealerships often feel the same way about leads that slip away. These days, every lead can make a difference, but tracking down leads lost to unanswered phones, dropped calls or even bad customer service experiences can feel like a herculean task. Is it worth the effort and resources?

The good news is that rescuing lost leads doesn't have to be a nightmare. Here are some things you need to know about lost leads and how to save them.

Recovering From Bad Customer Service

Research firm Luntz Group recently revealed that 40 percent of Americans dread the idea of buying a new car. Basically, they're already cringing when they pick up the phone to call your dealership. That means the first impression is critical to make sure your buyers feel comfortable in working with you and your reps.

However, phone conversations don't always go as planned. A new sales rep might not have much training, and a flubbed pitch could lead to a frustrated customer hanging up the phone. The poorly trained rep will probably just move on to the next lead, and management will be none the wiser. But what if you could be notified when these types of calls happen?

Consider deploying a service that listens to and reviews calls going in and out of your dealership. A team of highly trained professionals can spot mishandled calls like the one above and let you know when a call needs to be followed up on to work out the problem. This way leads aren't left frustrated and telling their friends how unhappy they were with your dealership. Instead they'll be impressed that you took time to make things right.

Returning Missed Calls

Sometimes customers simply slip through the cracks. In an ideal world,  your dealership employees answer every call — whether they're to your sales reps' direct lines or a general line that a receptionist should answer. However, for various reasons, some calls just don't get through. And since many people don't leave voicemails, how will you know who needs to be called back?

It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking a customer will try to call again if they don't get through the first time, but that next call could be to a different dealership. If your employees aren't answering calls, customers might think they're not important to you. At that point it's not as simple as a call that slipped through the cracks — callers view lack of responsiveness as bad customer service.

Be sure you have a way to capture call information whether the caller leaves a message or not. It would also help if you could be notified that a call was missed and needs to be returned. You might not know exactly what the customer was calling for, but following up with a missed call can let customers know that you care and you want their business.

Letting leads slip away because you don't want to go through the trouble of following up or you don't have correct contact info is unacceptable in today's competitive market. What are some ways you've made sure your dealership's leads don't fall through the cracks?