Social media has changed the way people communicate, how customers behave and act, and how businesses are run. Many businesses may be apprehensive about using social media, but when used correctly, it can make businesses more productive, efficient and profitable.
In this week’s blog installment, we touch on how automakers and dealerships can leverage social media and make it work to their advantage by using it to strengthen their relationships with customers.
“Social media is moving fast, customer experience and expectations are changing. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have affected the way a new generation of vehicle owners interact with brands.”
Starting from Now
Personal emails, email campaigns, text messaging, and bulletin boards are the predominant method of electronic social contact technology used currently by Aftersales globally.
Interviewed leaders stated their brands are starting to use social media to generate leads for new car sales, but they have yet to focus on its meaningful application in Aftersales. They acknowledge the increasing influence of social media on the automotive landscape and would like to see Aftersales effectively use social media for business development.
Vision of the Future
In 2020, social media will contribute to the pool of Big Data available that will be used to correlate personalised understandings of what matters to people regarding automotive Aftersales. Social media will be a safe, neutral, bidirectional portal through which consumers and automakers/dealerships can reach out to one another to exchange information, ideas, experiences, critiques, and offers.
Automakers’ social media channels will tailor their Aftersales messages to align with customer profiles that fit their brand promise and offerings. New technologies will allow them to use these new avenues to automatically create, negotiate, and close special offers that keep the audience engaged, informed, and participating as an advocate for their brand.
Automakers and dealerships will leverage social media and other online means to maintain inclusive brand relations with used vehicle owners and users. Particular information streams or ‘voices’ will be set up to cater to the specific needs and wants of this owner/user group, allowing them to feel welcomed, engaged, and included in the brand family. This will have positive consequences on improving service customer retention and word-of-mouth brand pride.
Bridge to the Future
Automakers and IT suppliers will recognise that social media extends to any platform or place where personal expression and participation may take place online. Together they will bisect ‘social media’ into two distinct working categories – 1) Data Mine, and 2) Communication Channel.
The Data Mine aspect of social media allows for the collection, correlation, and association of specific and abstract personal data elements to create individualised, multidimensional, personality profiles of social media participants. The Communication Channel aspect provides multifaceted linkages between automakers and dealerships and billions of individuals through which they will: develop relationships, exchange information, establish trust, and foster transaction engagement.
The two, large-scale active data profiling and multifaceted linkages are inseparable for effective commercial relationships. Multiple models of engagement will evolve. Two primary models are: Social Media as a Publication and Response Space; and Social Media as a Business Relationship Space.
For the first, OEM/Dealers will develop a comprehensive social media plan, outlining all aspects of their social media strategy. OEM/Dealers will create a pipeline of topics and themes, set an editorial calendar and either hire or outsource content experts to ensure that they are posting content that is interesting, relevant, and improves the brand image.
The second is too complex delve into in this paper, but will accommodate a billion simultaneous unique relationships. It commences with the construction of a digital ‘Brand Mind’ or ‘Fountainhead’ into a series of archetype Artificial Intelligence personas. A persona will be ‘perfectly matched’ to individual social media participants to engage in exchange.
During the decade ahead, many engagement models will evolve, each one better than its predecessor in conducting a realistic relationship using varying degrees of artificial intelligence (AI). AI technologies will allow automakers and dealerships to have consistent particulars1 tirelessly exchanged through a persona or voice that resonates with each individual customer. It allows for affordable and responsive relationship development with low-financially-yielding parties with whom the nurturing of brand interest could be beneficial because of their influence or future purchasing power — for example an adolescent or a poor but committed Brand champion.
1. Facts, Acknowledgements, Challenges, Offers, Exchanges, Discussions….