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Conference Special: AM and Auto Trader Digital Marketing Conference 2015

19 February 2015 | 04:36 am

12905017_mAutomotive gets ‘local social’ in 2015  

CrowdControlHQ were delighted to be invited to speak at last week’s AM and Auto Trader Digital Marketing Conference 2015. Our conference representative Greg Freeman shares his personal highlights and insights from the day.

The conference promised to ‘inspire and advise’ automotive businesses to ‘keep ahead of the game’ and certainly didn’t disappoint! The day kicked off with a survey that showed that 83.3% of marketing teams at the event had increased their year-on-year digital spend for 2015.

Watch our recent webinar: Understand the impact of the FCA guidelines on your social media delivery (14th May)

The driver for change was the backdrop of growing evidence and case studies that had proved that mobilising social media can actively drive the bottom line across automotive businesses. Perhaps no surprise there, but tactically what was the winning formula for success? Apparently, when it comes to award winning social media strategies in automotive, all eyes are on ‘local social’ as we move into 2015.

With this in mind I reflected on some of the UK automotive clients we are proud to support, including Sytner & RRG who utilise CrowdControlHQ to manage and monitor Nationwide campaigns. Whilst each will use the same management system, they will implement a very unique social media strategy, utilising our product in very different ways to guard against competitors and grow reach, to create their own signature ‘stand-out’ frontline social media campaign.

But there is a common trend emerging underpinning all of these strategies which is a move towards a more de-centralised content creation and engagement strategy. Central communications teams have oversight of all accounts nationwide, with automated moderation in place to protect their brand reputation; however, individual dealerships are increasingly more responsible for their own local delivery.

The benefits of the ‘Local Social’ approach are well defined:

  • Stronger local rapport (and loyalty) with potential and current customers
  • More effective customer service engagement channels
  • Better ‘listening’ and localised customer insight
  • More effective ‘landing’ of national campaigns
  • Localised promotional offers, events and incentives
  • Relevancy to local audiences

Simon Ryan, Managing Director of Social Advisors, presented a really strong case study that brought these benefits to life.

He shared the results of a ‘local social’ strategy for Luscombe’s automotive dealership in Leeds. Luscombe’s delivered high quality, engaging, localised social media content over a two month period between December 2014-January 2015; using key tools, such as post scheduling and analytics measurement to improve their delivery and ensure an omnipresence on social channels Facebook and Twitter.

He explained that since the dawn of the Internet, and more recently social media, consumer visits to car showrooms have been on the decline. In 2015, consumers visited 1.2 dealerships per vehicle purchase, compared to 4 showrooms in the early 1990s.

As with all sectors, potential customers now scour the web and social channels for retailers, information and customer reviews; with this in mind, Luscombe’s defined their KPIs as social media reach and website visits for their social campaign.

The results from the pilot project were outstanding:

  • 1900+ new social followers (Facebook and Twitter)
  • Brand reach of 775,000 (+12% on average)
  • 2450 brand engagements (including +247% on Facebook)
  • 34,219 unique website sessions (+28.09%)
  • 25,062 unique website visitors (+30.61%)

What made the Luscombe’s results even more surprising was that the campaign was run over the Christmas break when car searches are traditionally down in number.

So the question is, what are the challenges and risks of adopting a ‘local social’ strategy?

Related: Nissan tops social media charts

Risks and risk management in automotive local social

As with all enterprise social media, rolling out accounts across all dealerships comes with a plethora of risks not only to brand reputation but aspects of compliance in relation to regulatory bodies such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Traditionally, local sales teams, service centre managers and reception staff have lacked the training needed to understand the ‘success factors’ in driving effective social media campaigns. This is where management platforms like CrowdControlHQ come into their own, helping central teams to proactively support local teams to deliver effective, measured and compliant campaigns, driven through a synergy of collaborative effect connecting central campaigns with local insight led approaches.

The risks

  • Central communications teams having no oversight of interactions taking place on behalf of the brand
  • Dilution of central brand or campaign messages
  • Password security – local only access places the company at risk if the employee leaves and takes the password with them or shares the password.
  • Lack of audit trail - which means if a post receives complaints or breaches FCA financial compliance regulations, the organisation find it hard to identify the originator
  • Users may have direct access to both their personal and business Twitter or Facebook on their phone results in accidental posting
  • Mishandling of customer service enquires
  • Breaches of industry standards e.g. posting unsolicited financial promotions
  • Audit trails – there is now a need to record and report on social media interactions to the FCA when requested; under the new FCA Social Media Guidelines (regulations released Q1 2015).

“Don’t just tell us the risks, tell us how to manage them”, I hear you say! So here are my 3 Top tips for managing the risks of a ‘local social’ strategy

  • 1) Manage Effectively - Ensure you have a social media management platform in place that provides a time effective single dashboard for monitoring all social media interactions, allows for collaboration across your dealerships, an audit trail of who said what and of course keeps your data on-shore here in the UK to ensure that you remain compliant.
  • 2) Secure your social - Remove direct access to business owned social media assets, securing passwords, and maintaining ownership of accounts when staff leave the company. This also ensures HR teams have a complete audit trail of employee contributions to social media, in case of policy breaches.
  • 3) Be compliant - In order to comply with FCA regulations, automotive dealerships should have an automated management system which supports prevention of unsolicited financial promotions, a ‘two sets of eyes policy’ on content, and the ability to easily report on all social media interactions which have taken place across the organisation during a given time period.

Special thanks to our friends at SGH Martineau for the invitation to the conference and of course the speakers who create such a great event.

Greg Freeman

CrowdControlHQ is the UK’s leasing social media risk management and compliance platform, accessed online and on the move. We work across the automotive sector to connect dealerships with the public at large, giving them tools that help them effectively listening geographically, engage and drive their strategy effectively.

Want to know more? Contact Greg or request a demo here.

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