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From Henry Ford to Elon Musk: Moving the Auto Industry into the Digital World

SANTAN_VW_PHOTO_3Millennials? Aren’t They Like, 13?
The next generation of car buyers has arrived. Millennials are considered to be anyone born between the 1980s and early 2000s, and carry $170 billion in annual spending power to boot. Armed with iPhones, iPads, and a host of Facebook friends and Twitter followers, they will research a car purchase until they go over their Verizon data limit. Chances are, they know social media better than every “Social Media Specialist” in all of your dealerships combined. While they may enjoy your brand’s tweets, a lackadaisical dealer Facebook page could prevent them from even stepping in the door.

Running on Fumes
Independent dealers are generally hard to manage. They are scattered across the country and have different markets, offset hours, and varying levels of digital savviness. You may have a content management system (CMS) where you upload things for your dealers, but how do you know they are using it and representing your brand well? Deciding how to usher your dealerships into the digital era with such a long history of traditional marketing can be difficult.

Digital Cruise Control
Maintaining a Facebook or Twitter page can be time consuming for your dealers and they may not have the resources for it. Curating and creating content, posting on a regular basis, and maintaining a fresh cover photo may be at the end of the to-do list for many Internet Sales Managers. So while you’re posting content to your CMS in hopes that Jerry from Hometown Chevrolet will log-in, sort through the files and post it to their dealer Facebook page, you could use that same time with a digital marketing platform, where your dealers can auto-share your content and you’ll have the ability to see the exact number of dealers who posted to Facebook or Twitter, shared via email, or downloaded your most recent Instagram photo.

The impact of activating your dealer network with your online marketing campaigns is powerful. Without spending any extra time, client Volkswagen increased their social outreach from 2.2 to 2.9 million consumers in just three months. In addition, 84% of their dealers said their ability to share Volkswagen content “significantly” improved.

Not Just for Millenials
A recent J.D. Power study found that social media plays a critical role in purchase decisions across all generations in the automotive industry. In fact, 20% of consumers use social media as their¬†primary¬†research tool in the car buying process. Furthermore, 29% of consumers use social media exclusively to get recommendations about products and services from family and friends. So while it may be the Millennials who appear glued to the glow of their smartphones on every sidewalk, there’s a good chance your grandmother is researching her next car on Facebook, too.

What Should Auto Brands Do?
By creating a consistent brand experience across all online channels, you can ensure your cars are at the front of everyone’s mind, from Millennial to Baby Boomer.

Want to learn more empowering your dealers’ online presence? Learn how Kia leveraged their dealer network to achieve 100% dealer participation and 20,000+ consumer impressions over a three month period.

View Kia Case Study>>