When it comes to digital marketing for your dealership, social media simply can’t be overlooked. And whilst many of you may already be up to speed on Facebook, you may see Twitter as a less conquerable land, fraught with confusion and pictures of celebrities doing mundane things. Ignoring the celebrities, Twitter is a fantastic marketing tool that, if utilised to its potential, can be used to help raise brand awareness and boost business.
So, if you’re ready to delve in and get your dealership on Twitter, then this guide is here to help you along the way. If you haven’t already, we would recommend you take a look at our guide titled What is Social Media and Why is is Important to Car Dealers? This will give you a basic understanding of how vital social media is as a whole and will leave you fully prepared for the rest of this guide!
Anyway, on with the show…
WHAT IS TWITTER?
Twitter is one of the most popular social media networks in the world with around 236 million active users tweeting away. Dedicating itself to ‘microblogging’, Twitter allows its users to ‘tweet’ small messages, with a 140 letter character limit, to their followers.
You are also able to ‘retweet’ other people’s tweets, which essentially means you are sharing their message with all of your followers. Becoming active on Twitter means setting up a nice looking profile; following people you wish to hear from; tweeting interesting, informative and fun things to your followers; and interacting with people and other businesses in a friendly and concise way.
Prestige Diesels are a Spidersnet client who have been making the most of Twitter. In fact, this year they were voted as the Most Influential Dealer on Twitter by Car Dealer Magazine! Alexis runs their Twitter account and here is what she had to say:
“Twitter has been a fantastic tool for our business. We have built many business and customer relationships and it has enabled us, as a small business, to build brand awareness within the industry and in the consumer world. This in turn has helped us buy and sel cars.”Alexis
So without further ado…
SETTING UP YOUR BUSINESS PROFILE
If you don’t currently have a Twitter page for your car dealership, then this section of the guide will help you along the way! Obviously, if you do have one, then skip along to the next section…
1. Head to Twitter and get started
First thing’s first, you need to head on over to Twitter.com and fill in the details in the ‘New to Twitter?’ sign up box. Because you are setting up a Twitter profile for your dealership you will want to ensure that you put your company’s name in the ‘Name’ box. Followed by your email address and a password.
2. More details
Once you have filled in the first page, you will be taken to another page where you’ll be asked to fill in some more information – see below. This page is rather self explanatory, but it is worth mentioning that you will want to ensure that use your dealership’s name as your username, or some variation.
Once you have clicked through you will then be asked to add in your phone number to make your Twitter account even more secure, however you can skip this stage of the signing up process if you’d rather.
3. Almost there!
Once you’ve filled all of this in, Twitter will then send you to the page below… Click ‘Let’s go!’ and you can start creating your page.
4. What are you interested in?
Twitter will then ask you what you’re interested in, offering you a list of things to choose from. Here you can simply select some things that might be of interest to you and it will suggest some Twitter accounts for you to follow.
5. Follow a few accounts to get started
You can then follow some of the recommended accounts in order to get started.
6. Profile photo
Next up, Twitter will offer you the chance to upload a profile photo. We would recommend using your company logo! It is easy to do. Simply click on ‘Upload photo’ and select your company logo from your computer. Click the ‘Continue’ button when you are ready.
7. Find people you know
Twitter also allows you the chance to import a list of contacts to see who you can follow, but for now, we would recommend you skip this step and get on with building an audience etc. Once you click ‘skip this step’ you will be taken through to your Twitter homepage which will be full of tweets from all of the accounts you chose to follow earlier on. From here you can find new people to follow and begin tweeting.
CUSTOMISING YOUR PAGE
Ok so you have set up your Twitter profile and followed a few accounts. But before you crack on with tweeting and finding others to follow, you will want to ensure that your page is looking sharp. A nice looking, informative profile page will leave your dealership looking professional. Here are some tips on how you can get your page up to speed.
If you haven’t added a profile photo to your page during the setting up process above then you will want to ensure you do so right away. Remember, your profile photo should be your company logo to remain consistent with company branding.
After you have added in your profile photo, you will want to add a header photo to your page. This is the large image that sits at the top of your Twitter profile page in the background. It needs to be 1500px wide and 500px high and should not be too distracting. Remember, it is in the background, so choose something that works nicely with your logo and the rest of your profile page design.
Hawthorns are a Spidersnet client with a very slick and professional looking Twitter page. Take a look at their Twitter profile below…
You will also want to ensure that you have written a short company bio. Make sure that it mentions what your dealership offers and try to include a few keywords in there too to help with search. When someone lands on your page the first thing they will see is the imagery you have chosen to include. However, they will then most likely give your mini bio a quick read so make sure it is clear, concise and sells your dealership to new customers!
Location and website
Finally, the last two fields that you need to include is your dealership’s location and web address. This way, anyone who lands on your Twitter page, will know where they can find you both online and offline. Once you’ve filled in all of the above, click ‘Save changes’ and you’re ready to start using Twitter.
One of the first things you should do once you’ve set up your Twitter page, is start following relevant profiles. Not only does this mean you will get to see what these important pages are tweeting, but there is always a chance that they will then follow you back.
If these profiles do follow you back, there is a chance that they’ll see the tweets that you post and may share them to their audience, helping you boost exposure. A lot of your success on Twitter will be down to your ability to connect with these important profiles – which are often referred to as social influencers – and getting them to pass on your content to their audiences.
“Twitter users 323% more likely to visit dealer site after being exposed to a dealer Tweet”twitter
When choosing people to follow, it is worth bearing in mind who your target audience is. If your customers all come from within a certain geographic location, then you will want to spend most of your time and effort following social influencers with lots of followers in your area. Here are a handful of profiles that we would suggest following…
Key local influencers
The word ‘local’ is vital here. Take a look around your catchment area and see which other businesses have large followings on social channels. If you find a local business that has a nice looking Twitter profile and a decent number of followers then we would recommend following their page and beginning to interact.
“A key influencer is someone who is active online and followed by your target audience. We are not talking about your competitors here, but instead individuals who are passionate about the industry your business resides within.”Koozal
It’s also worth looking at the number of retweets a profile is carrying out. If a profile is retweeting messages from others on a regular basis, they are probably worth following as they may well end up sharing some of your posts too.
Other car dealers
It’s also a good idea to follow other dealerships. This way you can start to interact with other businesses, get an idea of what they are posting and create bonds and relationships. We don’t necessarily recommend promoting your rivals to your followers, but why not build relationships with dealers with which you are not competing?
If you are a small used car dealer, then there could be something to be gained from building a relationship with a prestige franchise dealership. You never know, a bit of symbiosis might go along way in helping both businesses grow their online following.
We would recommend you give your customers a follow too. Again, the main aim here is that if you follow them, they will repay the favour and follow your dealer page back. Whilst searching for your customers’ Twitter names will be tricky, you can always ask them for that information during the sale. You’ll be asking them for a range of other information anyway, so why not get their Twitter details too?
The main aim in following all of these profiles, whether they are influencers, dealers or your customers, is to help grow your own following to increase the amount of exposure you can gain through Twitter.
WHAT TO TWEET
Now it’s time to think about what you want to be tweeting to your followers. There are plenty of things that you can tweet, all of which will help benefit your business in different ways. You can post things that will help raise brand awareness; increase your exposure; build trust with your target audience; and show off the stock and services that you have to offer.
Here are some posts that we would recommend (all of which are perfectly transferable to Facebook)…
Interesting and informative posts
It is always good to think to yourself ‘would I want to see this?’ before posting on Twitter. Your followers will want to see posts that are interesting, informative or funny. You don’t want people getting bored with your Twitter output and unfollowing you now do you?
You can post links to informative articles that you’ve found online, or links to entertaining videos that are relevant to your users. Social media is a place that is full of fun and interesting content, so you need to ensure you are doing well to stand out from the crowd.
Here is an example of a nice Tweet from Spidersnet client Cars of Portsmouth.
As you can see, it might not be 100% relevant to the motor dealer industry, but it is an interesting link with a nice eye catching image. If you are seen to be posting things like this, then people might end up coming back for more, which is fantastic for brand awareness.
Industry relevant tweets
It’s important to remember that you’re a car dealership. This means that you should avoid simply posting fun videos and images such as the example above. It is important to vary your posts, and one way to do this is to focus on posting industry relevant tweets.
Try and post things that are related to the motor trade to show that you are keeping up with changes, announcements and news. The more people see you to be knowledgeable, the more likely they will think of you as an authority figure in the industry. This may help in the long run as when they come to needing a new car, your dealership may be their first port of call. This is where the next point comes in handy…
Your stock and services
Whilst being entertaining and informative is important, you must also remember that your dealership exists to sell cars. This is why it is a great idea to post images of your new stock when it comes in. Snap some lovely pictures of the new car and post it to your audience with a little bit of info and you might be able to drum up some interest. You should be promoting your stock in as many places as possible, and social media is most certainly a great way to get more people viewing what you have to offer.
However, whilst you do want to be posting your stock, it is vital that you don’t overdo it. You don’t want to become spammy, filling up your followers’ feeds with car after car. Balance is the key to Twitter, so make sure that for every car you’re posting, you also post one of every other item on this list!
When it comes to posting your stock, make sure that the images you include are nicely lit and well taken, and make sure that they show up in the tweet. Nice visuals are vital on social media, so don’t just post some text and a link! Here is a great example of a good stock tweet from Spidersnet client TH Boler.
As you can see they have included a nice image and have used light hearted conversational tone. Seven people retweeted this post, meaning that a huge number of people will see this car on Twitter, drastically increasing its exposure.
Also, if you were to head on over to their Twitter page, you would notice that they don’t overload it with stock updates. This means people are more responsive to them when they do come in. This is great work from a fantastic dealership that is making the most of Twitter!
Updates from the dealership
You can also use Twitter, along with other social media channels, to give your dealership a bit more character and personality. Why not post behind the scenes photos and videos of your team at work to show the human side of the business?
This allows you to break down the barrier and offers potential customers the chance to ‘get to know you’ to a degree. Possible customers might feel more inclined to pop down to the dealership, or get in touch, if they see that you’re a fun and personable business.
Local news and events
Make sure you remember that most of your customers will be from your catchment area. This means that you can engage them by tweeting about local news and events.
If you see some local news that you think your followers may find interesting, retweet it for them to see. This is even better if the news is related in some way to the motor industry. As with all of these suggestions, make sure you vary your posts, and keep things fresh. If you follow all of these steps, you will ensure that your followers remain engaged.
Interact with people!
As well as tweeting things out to your followers, it is also very important that you interact with your followers and respond to any tweets sent your way. The more you respond to people in a professional manner, the more trust you build with not only the person you’re talking to, but also to anyone else watching the conversation unfold online.
“It is extremely important that you respond to complaints on Twitter in a timly and professional manner. Don’t leave them unattended to as people will be able to see you ignoring them!”Adam Rowden
That’s where you need to be on the ball. Twitter is public, meaning anyone can see tweets and questions that have been directed at you. If you are seen to be neglecting these people and ignoring complaints, you’ll come across as unprofessional and untrustworthy.
Get involved in discussions
As we have previously mentioned it is very important to respond to, and comment on, posts on your page. However, it is also worthwhile joining in on other people’s conversations and debates.
Joining in on interesting debates is great for brand awareness as you’re entering into friendly discussions with businesses and people based in your local area. It’s always good to have a dialogue with your target audience, no matter the subject of the conversation. Doing so allows you to show your dealership’s human side, and means that these potential customers may well remember you when they are next on the lookout for a new car.
As we have made clear in this guide, Twitter is a very useful and important aspect of your online marketing. We appreciate that there is a lot to take in, so here are a few snippets of advice to help you get started!
- Make sure your page looks good and is full of all the correct relevant information
- Always respond quickly and professionally to any complaints and questions
- Tweet a variety of things and don’t just post your stock – this is spammy!
- Follow relevant businesses and local influencers to build your own following
- Try and include nice images in your tweets as these draw more attention
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