9 Clouds Automotive Marketing Blog

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How to Sell Cars on Twitter in 2016: Goals and Objectives

Learn how to sell cars on Twitter for your dealership.

Want to sell cars on Twitter? According to Statista, 87.9 million Americans log into Twitter every month, and chances are that a bunch of those people are driving around in your market. In fact, about 16.5% of your market is Tweeting. That's a big opportunity for your brand – as long as you know how to sell cars on Twitter.

In our experience with managing social media for dealerships, we've found that people rarely ask a dealership directly on Twitter, but they will certainly shop if you ask them at the right time. In fact, our analytics show that most people prefer to communicate with a dealership via their website forms and not direct Tweets. Therefore, dealerships that know how to compose, time, and measure their Tweets also know how to sell cars on Twitter.

Before you try to sell cars on Twitter, it's important to understand when and why people use it. It's a long-term platform which requires a long-term strategy to effectively bring in leads over time using great content and active engagement.

With this post, we're going to show you our best goals and strategies for connecting your brand with prospects, leads, and customers on Twitter.

Don't let your ROI Fly Away

You can't control what you can't measure. While it may seem like a great idea to simply start shooting out Tweets with your newest inventory, you're going to need to find your objectives to show clear ROI.

Whether it's an amount of referral visits, followers, retweets, or something else, make sure to mark it down so that you can revisit it and adjust your Twitter strategy.

This is especially important for dealerships where multiple people handle social media. Your Twitter objectives will help you build your strategy, which allows you to build standard procedures for your marketing team. At that level, your dealership will learn how to sell cars on Twitter.

Examples of Twitter Goals for Dealerships

Objectives are high-level strategies your dealership can set for your marketing team to feed leads to sales. Think of objectives as the “what” and goals are the “how.”

1. Goal: “Gain ### referral visits to VDPs and landing pages in one month”

For one of our clients, we measure referral traffic to vehicle detail pages (VDP) and landing pages with forms, so that we can effectively convert our Twitter followers into leads. We know that most VDPs have an average conversion rate of about 3%, and our specialized landing pages (where people can subscribe to the blog, order brochures, get trade quotes, etc.) run at about 7%. This represents an average of 5%. So, if we can get 100 visits to VDPs and landing pages from Twitter followers, we can then expect to see about 5 leads generated from Twitter each month. That's real value for your dealership's sales team.

2. Goal: “Gain #### new blog visits from Twitter in one year”

For another, less-established dealership, we set a goal to double the number of referral visits to the blog where they wrote about a variety of topics ranging from new models to their staff's favorite fall road trips. In this case, the blog serves as a sort of filtering tool, because we can track which posts pass the most traffic to VDPs and landing pages, where we convert Tweeters into leads.

3. Goal: “Refer ### people to the service page in one year”

Oil changes are less intimidating than buying a car – especially on Twitter. Dealerships that use their service lanes as inbound marketing for vehicle sales might want to focus on service-related Tweets to appeal to the every day, more practical needs of their followers.

Similar to VDP or landing page visits, service page visits contribute to conversion to the service lane. Got an online scheduling tool for your service lane? You have the perfect content to reply to someone who is tweeting about needing oil changes, tires, brakes, etc. (We'll show you how to find those people here in a minute.)

Examples of Tactical Twitter Objectives for Dealerships

How that we've covered some of the higher-level goals for your dealership's Twitter presence, it's time to burn rubber. From our experience, the best way to gain specific types of referral traffic is to:

  1. Tweet great tweets.
  2. Engage more new people.
  3. Use the right hashtags.

While it's good to have relevant Tweets, a dealership shouldn't use Twitter solely as a mass publishing tool. Twitter isn't the Field of Dreams, and frankly the “set it and forget it” method of Tweeting is quite insincere and damaging for a dealership's brand. Twitter is personal, so tweet personally.

To see an example, go to your competitor's Twitter account and look at their ratio of impersonal Tweets vs. direct “@” Tweets. Chances are that they're not Tweeting to specific people, which means you have an open door to show the personality and humanity of your brand, which leads to meaningful, relevant engagement and ROI.

Here are a few examples of how to get meaningful, relevant engagement to support your Twitter goals.

1. Objective: “Reach ##,### tweet impressions in one month”

A study by Venture Beat showed that 46% of Twitter users check Twitter at least once a day, and 29% check it multiple times per day. What does this mean for your marketing team? If you want people to click your Twitter links, you're going to need to Tweet often and at the right time. That's why impressions are key for your dealership marketing team's Twitter tactics.

Monthly impressions are reported in analytics.twitter.com (look on the right-hand side). To find the best time of day for your Tweets, try using a Twitter management tool such as HootSuite, Tweetdeck, Buffer, or HubSpot, which will all suggest optimal times to reach the most people.

Your dealership can also boost impressions with the right hashtag, which puts your tweet alongside others who are using that hashtag. Do some research and find some relevant hashtags that are being used in your market area.

2. Objective: “Engage ### new people in one month”

From 2006 to 2014, almost every Twitter strategy we saw had something to do with “Grow followers by ### in one month,” but that's putting the cart way before the horse. Follower growth is not a goal but a side effect of good Twitter tactics: engagement and relevance.

To know how to sell cars on Twitter, you first need to know how to monitor it. Monitoring Twitter is a great way to engage new people. It's simple. Just set up some Twitter monitoring “streams” in your favorite Twitter management tool (i.e. Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, HubSpot, or Buffer). At 9 Clouds, we monitor for automotive related keywords within a certain radius of our client's market. For example, if one of our clients wants to boost traffic to their service page, we would monitor for keywords such as oil change, brakes, tires, and the like within their service area which is typically a 10-20 mile radius from the dealership.

3. Objective: “Create ### tweets about vehicle technology in one month”

To understand how to sell cars on Twitter, you first need to understand the relevance. Twitter Analytics is a powerful tool for this. In addition to telling you your top tweets and engagement stats for the month, it can also give you some powerful insights into your content. For example, Twitter Analytics tells us that more than 50% of our client's Twitter followers are interested in technology, so it makes sense for us to focus our tweets on that industry and also on that aspect of our vehicles. Include this relevant content in your blog posts and other web content to engage your followers in a meaningful way, and they'll keep you in mind when they're due for an oil change or their next vehicle.

4. Objective: “Include images on ##% of broadcast tweets”

Visual engagement is the name of the game. Our top monthly tweets are always tweets with images, so it makes sense to shoot for a certain percentage of tweets with images. This will also challenge your dealership marketing crew to find or create awesome visuals which you can re-use in other digital media. Images always help. Of course, there will be exceptions such as @ replies and retweets, but you get the picture.

5. Objective: “Follow @9cloudsauto”

Just kidding. But seriously – follow our new Twitter account for more digital automotive marketing tips and tricks. We're here to help!

What is your dealership doing on Twitter?

Do you have other examples of goals or objectives to share with the 9 Clouds community? We want to hear from you in the comments!

Now that you know how to sell cars on Twitter, try Instagram! 

Instagram is the perfect complement to Twitter. 9 Clouds Automotive recently published a great ebook about Instagram specifically for auto dealers. Download your free copy today to give your Instagram game a big boost in 2016.