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Impact of social media on consumer behavior

There are two types of buyers in the world of automobiles: transactional buyers and emotional buyers. 

A transactional buyer is a haggler, a competitive shopper, who isn’t swayed by the beauty of a machine. They want to know that they got the very best deal on a vehicle. They see paying more than the next guy as an insult. 

An emotional buyer is exactly the opposite. They don’t care as much about the price they pay as they do about getting the car that makes them feel a certain way. You can sell to an emotional buyer with the feeling of the drive, the way that everyone will see them behind the wheel, and how much pleasure they’ll get from the car.

Auto dealership marketing – now and then

Throughout most of the auto industry’s history, the only people that most dealerships saw were the in-market customers, people who are ready to buy as they stepped onto the sales lot. Most of these people were emotional buyers, people who were inspired by an ad to purchase a car. 

Traditional advertising operates almost entirely on the emotional level. TV commercials that show people driving cars on mountain roads, along beaches, and with lots of beautiful people in the car are emotional images. Most will end with a shout-out to the transactional buyers with a list of costs, rebates, and more.

Once the social media revolution arrived that changed. Dealers began advertising for in-market transactional shoppers, people who were ready to buy based on the price they could get. 

This new customer base is somewhat problematic. These are people who expect the very lowest prices. This causes a rush to the lowest price by all of these dealers. Many were within a few dollars of losing money. While dealers were making sales, they were barely making money on a sale.

Using Social Media to market your dealership

One of the most powerful aspects of social media marketing is that you can market to both types of people. With Facebook advertising, dealerships are able to run multiple ads to multiple audiences. This allows dealers to speak to each type of buyer in their own language. 

Emotional Buyer Marketing

For the emotional buyer, the key is to try to get them to imagine themselves behind the wheel. 

The power of social media to use images, videos, and more to set the emotional hook. Then you can convert them and get them in the door at the dealership. This makes Facebook incredibly powerful and probably the ideal way to market an auto dealership.

Selling to emotional buyers requires an emotional buy-in from the salespeople. Salespeople need to love the cars that they sell and be able to convey that.  Now this is a problem for dealers as most are set up to handle transactional shoppers, those looking for great deals, not for those who are buying for the experience of the vehicle. 

How to Leverage Facebook Ads to the Two Types of Buyers

Facebook ads can bring both types of buyers to your auto lot, but each type of customer needs to be treated differently. 

For the transactional buyer, the logical way to get started is to simply pull out a calculator and start crunching numbers. Get to the bottom line, talk about financing, and keep everything aimed at how much they’re going to spend.

With emotional buyers, salespeople need to learn to take their time. This is the time to get them into the car that they saw in the ad or into an upgraded vehicle. 

This will be difficult. If you’ve ever walked onto an auto lot, you’ll get the breathless feeling that the salespeople need you to sign on the dotted line and make way for the next person. With emotional buyers, they’ll want to slow down, take their time, and love the cars with the buyers.

Where to Start

The key to getting these two types of buyers in your door is to setup two separate Facebook ad campaigns, one for the emotional buyers and one for the transactional buyers. Use the audience information to retarget those people with type of ads that will keep the conversation going. 

Using the specificity of Facebook ads, your dealership can work to bring both types of buyers to the table. Once there, you can adapt your selling style to the customer’s approach. You’ll end up with more closes and have loyal, new customers who feel heard and appreciated.