The Used Truck Association (UTA) joined forces with Trader Interactive Thursday to present an informative webinar on the value of using social media in marketing for dealer businesses.
Led by Trader Interactive Vice President of Audience Growth Simon Heseltine, Thursday’s webinar busted some of the biggest myths that exist regarding social media, clearly established why social media marketing is an effective use of resources and provided a comprehensive list of tips for businesses eager to enhance their social networking presence. The webinar also concluded with a useful Q&A session in which Heseltine was able to respond to a few unique social media challenges that exist for truck and trailer dealers.
Heseltine opened the webinar with a few staggering social media stats. He said according to data released last year, there are more than 3.5 billion social media users worldwide who spend an average of 142 minutes on social networking sites each day.
And Heseltine said that time on social networking sites isn’t limited to playing games and communicating with friends. Quoting a 2018 survey, Heseltine noted consumers “are 21 percent more likely to buy from brands they can reach on social media and 73 percent more likely to buy from a brand that responds to them on social media.” He also noted 25 percent of people who see an advertisement on social media are likely to respond by entering a store and/or checking out a website before topping with the capper — social media is 100 percent more likely to produce a higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing efforts.
That last stat is important because it helps bust one of the biggest myths of social media, that trucking professionals don’t use the platform. Heseltine quoted the 2019 Trucks, Parts, Service media kit in noting 58 percent of TPS readers are active on Facebook, with LinkedIn and Twitter following close behind at 54 and 48 percent.
Heseltine said two other common myths about social media that need to be debunked are the ideas that social media users aren’t consumers and that social media can only be used for advertising. Heseltine said the former is flatly wrong. A recent survey of Facebook users uncovered 78 percent admitted they had discovered new products on the site. Regarding advertising versus other uses, Heseltine added that social media also can be used to nurture customer relationships, increase engagement and provide useful educational content — all of which help support social media as an effective marketing channel.
Heseltine said a new user joins a social networking platform every 6.4 seconds. That translates to 13,500 new users each day and 4,927,500 million each year. He said eventually one of those new users will be a potential customer of yours.
“Social media is here to stay. It’s not a passing fad for your customers,” he said. “You need to be where they are.”
From there Heseltine concluded his prepared remarks with nine useful takeaways for truck dealers:
- Determine your platforms – “Use Google Analytics to know what platforms your audience is most prevalent on and start on those channels first.”
- Keep your profiles up to-date – This means new content but also accurate locations, hours and contact information.
- Set specific goals – Do you want more followers, or more engaged followers? Know what you want to do.
- Don’t post too much or too little – Three to five times per day is optimal for Twitter, once or twice on Facebook, and more intermittent posts on other networks such as LinkedIn and YouTube.
- Share a variety of content – There’s more to your business than your inventory.
- Engage with your followers – Build a community. Turn customers into fans.
- Better understand your audience – Social media engagement creates data, and data provides information.
- Measure your results – Are you hitting your goals? Are you close?
- Use common sense – Would you click on your posts if you scrolled across them in your feed?
Heseltine also answered a series of attendee questions, including one from a dealer who wanted to know if it is better for his 20-location business to have a single social media profile or one from each location. Heseltine gave what he called a classic “it depends” answer, stating if a business had enough resources to manage and produce valuable content for 20 social media profiles (and an audience expansive enough to support each account) that maybe 20 accounts could have value. But, overall, he said a single corporate account that features each location at different times is likely the best approach.
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