Why is Social Media Marketing Becoming More Difficult?
social media marketing for automotive dealerships lack novelty. Over half of the global population is engaged on one or more social media platforms. From exploring content for entertainment to seeking product recommendations and even getting jobs, people spend over 2 hours every day on social media. So, if your social media game is not delivering results, you might need some introspection. This is virtually the golden age of social media marketing for the automotive industry.
1. There is too much noise on social media platforms
If you believe the noise is diluting your social media efforts – look closer. There are influencers, brands, and small businesses that have the ability to go beyond the noise. If your brand is not standing out for the right reason, there is a high possibility it will not get the brand awareness you desire.
2. Your brand is not engaging enough or trustworthy enough
Let’s assume you run a BMW auto dealership. Brands like BMW and Mercedes are aggressively active on social media. Unfortunately, the entire fanbase that wants to interact with these brands usually flocks to the brand’s page – not the dealership’s social media handle. So, if you are relying only on your partner brand to get social media traction, you might have to revisit your automotive social selling strategy.
3. You are using paid ads to create brand awareness
If you are not a dealership for a very small brand, there is a high probability that the target audience in your local market is already aware of the brand. So what they need is a targeted approach to be aware of your specific offerings and know what’s in it for them. Hence, while social media ads can deliver results over the long haul, do not expect immediate miracles.
4. Your social media strategy is not in sync with your target audience
This might be a bit intangible but is relevant for many auto dealerships that do not see the desired results on social media. Their social media strategy takes a template approach. Weekly posts, reposting product ads, pushing aggressive sales tactics – such as social media marketing for automotive business initiatives do more harm than good.
The social media landscape is evolving. And, by design, it is becoming more challenging for auto dealerships that do not have an authentic, reliable, and adaptive presence.
Employee Advocacy: A Solution that Works
If you have been on LinkedIn, you might hear the term ‘employee advocacy‘ for the first time, but you might be already familiar with the approach. When you see an employee openly subscribe to the practices at her workplace, it is a form of employee advocacy. And LinkedIn is the primary example that shows why it works:
1. People trust individuals associated with brands much more than they trust a faceless brand.
2. Social media audiences find individuals talking about work considerably more relatable. For example, look at John Grisham’s body of work – something is enticing when an individual talks about her work with passion.
3. Individuals are more responsive. Unless the brand has been historically active on social media, most people do not expect to be responsive on the same platform. This often stops them from engaging with the content produced by the brand because they know it is taking a cookie-cutter approach.
The Inrelay Employee Advocacy Survey
While designing features for Inrelay, we had a fundamental question: will employees be interested in talking about their employers, i.e. the auto dealerships, on social media platforms using their accounts? The answers were in line with our expectations. But, the more dealerships we engage with, the more we get to see an expression of complete ‘awe’ when they see the same results.
1. Over 73% of Employees are ready to engage with an employee advocacy programs
Our research included a comprehensive survey answered by 400 anonymous respondents. The most exciting insight was this – over 7 out of 10 employees were comfortable pushing the automotive social selling goals of their auto dealership employers on social media when nudged the right way.
2. Over 60% of employees were willing to share company content on social media
Let’s assume you have spent $10,000 producing a professional quality introductory video about your auto dealership. You post it on YouTube but have not optimized it with hashtags and descriptions. Eventually, you share the link to the video on your social media handles. You get about 200-300 views and a few generic comments. Then, you promote the post, and it gets 2x or 3x views, but the engagements are still not scaling up.
Imagine one of your employees, who is quite active on Facebook, shares the same video with his network. He gets a couple of comments and someone asking about the availability of a specific model at your dealership. Three comments on one post are not bad. But, it is nothing to celebrate. How about – 60% of your 50 employees sharing the same video across their networks. That comes to about 30 employees sharing the video.
Now you can see the potential of employee advocacy – it exponentially increases the number of eyeballs you can get in front of without having to pay for social media ads.
3. Over 93% of employees would recommend their employers on social media
A more surprising number was this – over 97% of the respondents were ready to give five stars to their employers on social media. To make this point drive home – look at the comments section in the post uploaded by any popular sports franchise. LA Lakers, New York Yankees, or New York Jets – the franchise does not matter. But, observe the passion with which people promote their posts and engage with them. These ‘fans’ are giving free boosts to such franchisees. Now imagine having 20-30 such fans for your auto dealership social media marketing initiatives. That is employee advocacy in its full force.
Why are Employers Not Running Employee Advocacy Programs Already?
An employee advocacy program can give you access to a private army of passionate brand advocates when done correctly. Then, why are employers not running such programs already?
Our survey covered some insights on what is stopping dealerships from integrating auto dealership social media marketing efforts with employee advocacy:
1. Over 50% of employees are never asked by their employers to post on social media
Close to 60% of employees stated they would ‘love’ to promote their employers on social media. However, every one out of two employees stated – their employers never asked them to post any content on social media.
The opportunity cost of doing this is painful and hurting your business’ bottom line. For every post that could have been promoted by your employees on social media but instead never goes, you are missing out on potential traction, engagement, and even sales.
2. Some employers have a ‘No Social Media Posting’ policy
Many auto dealerships practice a ‘no social media at work’ policy. The intent is to make employees more productive, but it often results in backfiring. By not harnessing the social networks their employees operate in, auto dealerships miss out on the benefits of automotive social selling.
3. There are no incentives to post on social media
Let’s assume you have not actively prohibited social media at the workplace. But you have not incentivized it either. Your employees can take the initiative and put out something in your favor
since they already like talking about your brand. However, most of them would not do this unless necessary because it puts the compliance risk on their head. They have to verify the information they are sharing, make sure it is accurate and does not breach your compliance policies, and then expect it to be aligned with your marketing efforts.
Now, let’s assume that 10% of your employees are active on social media and decide to take the risk of promoting your brand in their networks. They can choose a wide range of platforms – Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Clubhouse, Pinterest, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube, etc. Employees choose their preferred platform and content. That can do more damage to your brand than you can imagine! You might have different employees positioning a different brand perception on various platforms.
Social media marketing in automotive industry is based on targeting. Imagine having a lead interact with different brand personas on different social media platforms.
Inrelay for Strategic Employee Advocacy and Automotive Social Selling
One of the biggest reasons most automobile dealerships are not running an employee advocacy program is that their marketing teams have a perception that such initiatives will add more work. They might have to coordinate working with 50-60 employees, ensure they post the right content at the right time, and incentivize them to do so. In addition, between an email platform, social media performance tool, web analytics tool, graphic designing tool, and the social media platform itself – the marketing team might have to work across different platforms, even before a post is published.
We created Inrelay to remove this problem. With Inrelay at the centre of your employee advocacy program, you can shift your marketing efforts to automotive social selling:
1. Invite Employees for Your Employee Advocacy Program
You can integrate Inrelay with the enterprise tools you are using and send out an invite to your employees with a few clicks. This will ensure all your employees are delivered the same invite simultaneously, and there are no discrepancies in the operational side of onboarding your new brand ambassadors.
2. Incentivize and Track the Acceptance Rate
With Inrelay, you will have complete visibility in how many employees have accepted your employee advocacy program invites. If your marketing team has conducted a basic social media audit, it would not be challenging to locate the employees who have a considerable following on social media platforms. Once you have found them, you can incentivize them using the program invites. This also helps in calibrating your incentive structure to get the employee advocacy program running.
3. Create Content Categories
Now that you are visualizing an employee advocacy program in action, you might have understood – we cannot have each employee sending out all the posts being targeted by the marketing team. That would seem too coordinated and might render the employee advocacy program ineffective. Inrelay is designed to work around this challenge.
Automotive social media marketing is not just about pushing out how good your dealership’s offerings are. Instead, it often is a continuous exercise that requires creating a unique but relevant perception of your dealership. This might mean community participation, recruitment drives, etc., that your dealership is a part of.
Inrelay lets you create custom categories of content on the same platform. This way, you can empower specific brand advocates in your employee advocacy program with specific content. It helps you leverage the diverse expertise of your employees without losing grip on a unified marketing narrative.
4. Get Expert-Led Creative and Strategy Consultation
One latent reason why it might be daunting to run an employee advocacy program is this – who will manage the creative and monthly social media strategy? Inrelay takes care of this seamlessly. You should not be adding more workload on your marketing team with intelligent employee advocacy. When done well, you will experience how easy it can be to get results with Inrelay-driven employee advocacy initiatives
With the Inrelay Ultimate Subscription, you can avail all the benefits that come with the standard subscription. But, what makes Ultimate really ultimate is this – you get strategy & guidance and account execution services every month. And it costs less than the cost of acquiring two leads in a year.
How to Value the Benefit of Employee Advocacy?
While the benefits of having employee advocacy as a key strategy in your automotive social media marketing portfolio are manifold, here are two approaches you can take to measure its impact with Inrelay:
1. The Benefit Perspective
1. An average automotive dealership have 50-60 employees.
2. Our research shows that over 70% of employees will be glad to be a part of your employee advocacy program. So that gives you a base of 35 (assuming you have 50 employees).
3. Let’s focus on the most popular social media platform – Facebook. On average, a personal account would have approximately 150 followers. Let’s assume each of your employees will be following the other employees. That brings the average to about 100 unique followers per profile (150 followers – 50 employees). This brings your total attainable reach to about 3500. However, the average post reach for the automobile category on Instagram is around 19%. So, your reach comes to approximately 665.
4. The average conversion rate for Google Display Network ads in the automotive industry for the USA is approximately 0.5%. Using the same conservative estimate, you get about 3 customers out of a reach of 665 with your employee advocacy program.
5. The average selling price for new cars in the USA is approximately $39,000, with the dealers making about 2% in net profits per new vehicle sold. For 3 customers, you get $117,000 in revenues and $2,340 in net profits.
Inrelay Ultimate costs approximately $499 per month. However, the industry averages are calculated for dealerships with an army of influencers, an agency on a retainer, ad boosting budgets, and expensive advertising budgets for local TV, print, and radio. If, as a dealership, you use an optimal combination of Inrelay and only a few other marketing communication resources, your cost per acquisition would be lower, and your net margins would be higher than industry averages.
You might wonder – these are one-time sales. What happens next month? Well, we have used 665 as the reach for only one cycle of posts, assuming all your employee advocates post simultaneously. In reality, some employees will have a higher reach, and you will post multiple times in a month. If you optimally use hashtags and distribute them across different categories on Inrelay, you will witness exponentially higher reach in a month.
2. The Cost Perspective
Here are the costs you will incur if you choose to assemble a toolkit and run an employee advocacy program:
1. Social media posting and analytics tool for the team: $1500 per year.
2. Agency retainer: $12,000 per year.
3. Email Service Subscription: $120 per year.
4. Facebook Cost Per Acquisition ($44 x 3 conversions x 12 months): $1,584 per year.
If you are running any special analytics tools, boosting posts, or adding incentives to your offers – the budget will increase. But, to keep it simple, this comes to approximately $15,204 for the year. The Inrelay Ultimate subscription is 60% more cost-effective than this budget and requires no significant additional expenses.
Employee advocacy is all about using your most important marketing resources more effectively – your employee base. And Inrelay is designed with the idea to bring you in the shortest distance from realizing the impact of your employee advocacy program. Click here to connect with one of our experts and get a walkthrough on how Inrelay can transform your marketing strategy.