Sales is The Missing Piece of the Automotive Social Media Puzzle [INFOGRAPHIC]

Social Media and the automotive industry have a relationship stronger than Brad and Angelina. It’s one with history, successes and great tales of business accomplishing meaningful results. Whether it’s through an integrate social media campaign or a viral video; the automotive industry has embraced and conquered many aspects of social media.

We decided, we would take a look deeper into the automotive industry and how they’re using social media. To no surprise, the automotive industry is leading the way as it relates to marketing and generating buzz through social. Yet, when it comes to driving quantified sales directly through social media channels; they come up short. In only 3 days we found over 5000 potential leads for automotive dealers and brands across North America. The tweets included people explicitly stating that they were looking for a car with tweets like:

“In the market for a new car. Should i get the car i want. or swallow my pride and get the Kia soul??”

This is an untapped opportunity and one that the automotive industry is going to soon have no choice but embrace. As customers continue to use social media as their first step in their buying process, businesses will need to react and react quickly. At the time of this post, companies like Ford have already begun putting in place the infrastructure to capitalize on these leads.

Check the infographic below for key data from social media usage within the automotive industry:

Automotive Social Media | Infographic

Are you in the automotive industry and implementing social media tactics? Share some of your tips in the comments! Also, be sure to contact us for access to our exclusive beta and start using LeadSift to drive results.

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How Social Media ROI Should be Measured [INFOGRAPHIC]

I’m sure you have never pondered how to measure your Return on Investment when it comes to Social Media, I mean, who cares about ROI right?

Yes, we are kidding…

We fully acknowledge that ROI is king of the castle when it comes to marketing budget allocation and that the difficulty of measuring the ROI in social media is a major contributing factor that causes many businesses to shy away from developing a social media sales strategy. There are a myriad of opinions regarding the proper measuring of Social ROI, many say it is impossible and many say it isn’t. So which is it? Well to put it simply, Social ROI isn’t completely measurable… at least not in the traditional sense. Social is just as much a part of your Communications strategy as it is your Marketing strategy, and it is this duality that makes it so difficult to completely measure using traditional methodology. Some of the aspects of the Return can be measured numerically, like lead generation and conversion, but if that is all you measure you are missing a huge piece of the overall ROI pie.

The following infographic quite effectively shows how businesses should be measuring their Social Media ROI

(Source: Clixlogix)

What we find troubling is that some individuals, often those who have been afraid of social media marketing from the start, try to use the difficulty of measuring its TRUE ROI as a reason to avoid Social completely. In actuality the methods shown in the above infographic to measure ROI can be an incredibly handy tool to identify specific shortcomings in your current social strategy, and therefore allow you to improve your marketing, not invalidate it.

So what do you think? Can Social Media ROI be measured solely numerically and still provide you, as a decision maker, an adequate basis upon which to determine the successes and failures of your Social Media strategy?

Understanding how to use Facebook for Business

A new infographic from the folks at Mashable shows that “social commerce sales are expected to bring in $30 billion each year by 2015, with half of web sales to occur directly through social media.”

Furthermore, the infographic shows that Facebook fans are 79 percent more likely than a non-fan to purchase a product, and 74% of fans are more likely to recommend a company they’ve liked on Facebook. It also claims that Facebook is known to drive 26 percent of the referral traffic.

The numbers make it obvious that social media needs to be a significant part of your marketing mix. Here are three things to keep in mind when looking to utilize Facebook for business:

Understand Fan-Acquisition
Unfortunately many business owners fall victim to ego-drive tactics like buying fans. Over the last few years, we’ve visited a handful of events and conference and a consistent theme is a request from small businesses looking for ways to get new fans.

There are tons of businesses selling fans for $199 or even as low as $99.58. I’d link to them but I don’t want them to have that satisfaction. This approach is worse than it seems – by buying fake fans, you actually lower your EdgeRank score thus lowering the odds of your content ever being seen.

Instead of buying fans on a mass scale, be targeted and run ads catered to a specific audience. That’s how you can gather potential leads who just so happened to also actually “like” you.

Embrace Fan Conversion
If we could teach marketers using Facebook anything, it would be to understand that fans are not baseball cards. You need to stop going to meetings and discussing how many fans you’ve generated this month and start talking about how many of those fans turned into sales.

Strive to convert
Look for ways that you can drive more visits to your purchasing funnel or into your lead development system. Take a cue from organizations who share deals specifically to their Facebook fans with limited time promo-codes. Anything you can do to monetize your network is the key to generating meaningful results.

Utilize Ongoing Storytelling
Whether you’re looking to build a following on Twitter or build a network on Facebook, storytelling is the difference between those brands who thrive and those who simply survive. You need to tell a story to your fans on an ongoing basis that shares with them not only the essence of what your brand represents but also your key value proposition. You need to use social media to tell a story that allows you to develop a sense of authority and leadership in your industry. If you can do this through social media you will be able to build deeper relationships with your audience and drive real results.

Here is the infographic from Mashable showcasing the power of Facebook on social media:

Mashable Facebook Infographic

4 Ways to Ensure that Your Social Media Leads Go Cold

Oh, you work in Sales? So you know what it means to keep a lead hot and ensure they don’t get cold?

Raise your hand if you have ever had a lead that went rogue at the last minute and you had no idea why. It’s a bummer that this happens everyday to sales professional and marketers, because it typically stems from a total lack of understanding of the impact their communications efforts have on their leads.

Those who are trying to close deals using lead generation techniques through social media and content, need this post. And if you’re a marketer who’s tired of explaining to clients why they aren’t finding ROI from social media, bookmark this one.

While we strive for the opposite – Here are a few ways businesses and professionals can ensure their leads in social go cold:

1. Only communicate on your terms and your turf.
Have you ever filled out an application and only asked for a phone number? From there, you’re added to a list of potential leads and are called over and over again for the next two months. If only this business would have had the decency to figure out how they could BEST reach you would they actually have a shot.

At the end of the day, in a world of every changing technology and shifting forms of communication. It’s become obvious that some people prefer email, others like to pick up the telephone, some want to tweet at you, some want to live chat and a handful want to actually drop into your office and meet your team. If you’re not providing customers with an opportunity to meet you on their own terms; you could very well be missing out on a big segment of your business. It’s your job as a sales professional to open up as many opportunities for communication between leads and you as possible. Your team will love you for it, and so will the finance team.

2. Take things slow. Like, as slow as you would in Jr. High.
So I’m ready to sign the bottom line on a deal but you want to show me a few additional bells and whistles. You know, the flashy analytics dashboard that will provide me with deep insights into my customers and that cool warranty that I’m probably going to ignore anyway. Cut. It. Out. This is a sure fire way to make a potential lead lose interest, change their mind, take this to “the higher-ups” or urge them to consider the competition.

When you’ve found a lead on Twitter, Facebook or through your blog you can’t just sit on them like a Sumo Wrestler. Take this lead, nurture it and as soon as you’ve entered the purchase stage you need to identify how you can close that deal before it’s too late. Don’t go for the up-sale immediately, start with the sale as it stands and then consider the possibility of an up-sell down the road. How do you do that?

Be Effective. As soon as the deal is done, give the new customer a few hours or days with the product and then follow up (on their terms, see rule #1) and discuss their experience.

3. Follow up over and over and over…..and over again.
Take it from me. If you’ve been trying for the last few months and are still not getting any response, call it a night and come back later. This isn’t a lead playing hard to get, it’s a lead who’s about to unsubscribe from your mailing list and block you on Twitter.

Often, a lead will provide you with a wide variety of information simply to recieve a quality piece of information from you. Sometimes it means they want regular content from you but that doesn’t always mean they are looking for constant pitches. I’m sure you go through your own inbox and think to yourself, “Time to delete these 30 unopen emails, why don’t I just unsubscribe from these?” Think about how often is too much and understand that there is a thin line between following up and being annoying.

Be on the right side of that fence and you’ll be in the customers good book.

4. Fill their inbox with larger than life PDFs
Now, it’s one thing to fill an inbox with frequency. It’s another to fill an inbox with a file the size of Africa.

Chill out on the large interactive PDF that has a video embedded with a dynamic voice over connected to the flash animation on page five. Understanding the ideal size of an email to send a potential customer is quite simple. If the file and email is expected; feel free to send a large one. If the file isn’t expected and it’s over 5MB – It’s time to rethink the delivery of this file. Can you upload the document to a site like Sendspace or Dropbox and share a link? Remember, you’re not the only one they receive emails from over the course of a day. If you’re the reason they miss an important email because you filled up their inbox you can bet they’ll run to your competitors when the opportunity arises.

7 Unfortunate Social Media Strategy Blunders

Your business may be breaking the cardinal rule of, well, business and you might not even realise it. Regardless of industry or market type, there is one thing that all successful businesses have in common and that’s the formulation and diligent application of Strategy. All too often do we see incredibly successful companies, who have fought their way to the top through the use of carefully thought-out strategy, making unfortunate mistakes when comes to their social media marketing approach. Bottom line here is that without taking the time to formulate a clear social strategy you might find your business making these 7 Unfortunate Social Media Strategy Blunders…

1. Frequency Inconsistency

“Our Social Media guy went on Vacation for 2 weeks so we put our Twitter account on hiatus.”

A lot of experts will tell you that consistency is a cornerstone of Social Media Strategy. And they are correct; if your social voice isn’t consistent then the people that look to your business as subject matter expert, or even a source of a daily chuckle or interesting article will begin to look else ware. Think of it like this, if you had a really good friend disappear for a two months and then call you up like nothing happened, wouldn’t you be a bit confused or even hurt? The same rules apply to social media, and if you break the rule of consistency even once, the setback to your social momentum could be devastating.

2. The Hard Push

“Check-out every article, interesting or not, I read this morning over an extra-large double frap”.

You have heard the saying, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all”, well when it comes to social media strategy the saying should go, “if you have nothing interesting to say, don’t say it at all”. Retweeting or sharing everything your fans say is not a wise strategy, nor is sharing every article you read or updating your status relentlessly. Remember, there is a fine line between Engaging and Spamming; ask yourself “If this wasn’t my business, would I find this piece of information interesting?” If the answer is no, then put down your Smartphone or close your laptop.

3. The Soft Push

“Check out the one article I read this month! Stay tuned for my next hyperlink, coming to you in 3 weeks!”

If you are unwilling to commit daily to monitoring and updating your Social Media accounts, hire someone who is. The value of being in the space is diminished to the point of being null when your contribution to the space is akin to being a fly on a wall.

4. Lazy Grammar

“LOL we got a salez on 2day every1 !!1!”

you must remember that even though you are updating a social status for a business you are speaking not as yourself, but as that brand. You would never publish a press release without carefully proofreading it first, so why should a status update or tweet be any different? Before your first status update or tweet you should clearly identify the type of voice from which your brand should speak and never stray away from your Brand Personality.

5. Brand Personality

“Here are my personal thoughts on this highly controversial subject…”

You must quickly realise that all of your customers are unique individuals, and just because they like your brand doesn’t mean they personally stand for everything YOU stand for. As mentioned in the previous Blunder, you need to treat your business’s social media accounts separately from your personal ones. Make sure to be politically conscious and to never share something that could alienate your fans, followers or customers.

6. Keep your Friends Close

“It’s a good idea to follow anyone and everyone to get your clout up”

Your follower count doesn’t have to be astronomically high for you to see a return on your social media marketing. It’s not a case of ‘less is more’ but rather a case of ‘quality over quantity’. If your follower list or fan page is full of accounts that haven’t contributed in months, then you might want to reconsider this particular aspect of your social strategy.

7. Undeveloped SOP’s

“That was a really nice compliment; I think I will send them an ipad!”

Businesses that do not clearly develop standard operating procedures for social media are doomed to look inconsistent and unprofessional. Everything from the types of information to share, the type of people your brand will follow, the procedures for dealing with complaints and compliments and the types of status updates you will share, has to be clearly identified and made official.

It is absolutely essential that your business accepts that Social Media Marketing needs just as much strategy as any other form of marketing, that is, if you want to see a return on your investment. The all encompassing rule here then, is that without devising and applying a social strategy EARLY on, you could possibly make some major mistakes or at the very least, realise a lower potential return on your investment than is actually attainable.