Why the Auto Industry Needs to Use Social Media for Lead Acquisition

Why the Auto Industry Needs to Use Social Media for Lead Acquisition
By Jessica Oaks

 

Millions of brands have taken to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to promote sales. But one industry that hasn’t quite taken advantage of social platforms yet is the auto industry.This is a missed sales opportunity, according to some experts. A report by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, called “Turning Social Feeds Into Business Leads,” that the auto industry should make more of an effort to use social media as a way to garner business leads and eventually drive sales of new cars.

Social media users are tapping into platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to participate in auto-related conversations, the report pointed out. Now the responsibility is on the auto industry to identify potential buyers and engage with them in the hopes of converting sales. After all, the report found that 38 percent of consumers say they will consult social media in making their next car purchase.

Auto Industry Marketers Taking Baby Steps

The problem isn’t a lack of awareness. The CMO Council report found that many auto industry marketers are in the midst of implementing social marketing strategies. Most of the brands that the report interviewed, including Nissan, Cadillac, KIA, Mazda and other aftermarket service providers and B2B automotive solution companies, expressed interest in leveraging social media for lead acquisition and acceleration.

Auto Brands That Understand the Importance of Social Media

Certain brands are already doing a great job with social media. One example is Kelley Blue Book, who developed an innovative way for consumers to sell their vehicles online and via social media. The Seller’s Toolkit is a platform in which the seller attaches a customized description and photographs of their vehicle to a “sticker,” which is then sent to high-traffic websites like Facebook, Twitter and Craigslist. The LiveValue system provides access to real-time Blue Book Values as listed on Kelley’s website.

The Seller’s Toolkit also offers the seller a direct link feature to be embedded for email, IM or Twitter, with a shortened URL that directs potential buyers to the Kelley Blue Book Pricing Report. Additionally, the Toolkit offers Quick Response (QR) barcodes for mobile tagging that contain all vehicle information.

Another auto company that has embraced their social media presence is Chevrolet. Chevy showed their creativity back in 2010 when they launched a social media campaign to promote the Cruze C-car at the South by SouthWest festival. “See the USA in a Chevrolet: A SXSW Road Trip” involved eight teams traveling by Chevy vehicle to the festival, completing 10 different tasks along the way. The twist was that social media fans and followers were invited to submit ideas for tasks, and the online Chevy community was encouraged to interact with the teams via social media.

Pace, a marketing agency that works with companies in the auto industry, considered the social media strategy a success, saying it “strengthened the automaker’s relationship with consumers by letting them chat amongst themselves.”

Other Ways The Auto Industry Can Utilize Social Media

Here are a few other ways that auto companies have taken advantage of social media:

Audi produced a digital short pitting their Audi S7 versus the Mercedes-Benz CLS550 (with sci-fi icons Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy behind the wheels). The video received nearly 8.3 million total views on Audi’s YouTube channel.

Nissan put the Versa Note on sale on Amazon.com. The cars sold out in three days. One of the cars was delivered in a huge cardboard box, which was revealed in a special film.

To launch the new Fiesta, Ford gave artists the car for 24 hours and filmed their day. Ford then asked their Facebook followers what they would do with a new Ford Fiesta for 24 hours, and created personalized video combinations for users to view and share.

The desire for consumers to obtain information about the automotive industry is clearly evident. And select companies have responded with successful social campaigns. But if other car companies want to catch up with the automotive industry, it’s time to focus some attention on leveraging social media for lead acquisition.

Jessica Oaks is a freelance journalist who loves to cover technology news and the ways that technology makes life easier. She also blogs at FreshlyTechy.com. Check her out on Twitter @TechyJessy.