How Social Media Shifts The Decision Making Process of Automotive Customers

What do you usually do before buying a product? It has become apparent that whether we are purchasing something online or through offline channels like your regular ol’ store, we now tend to look up the products online, it has become a habit, therefore targeted digital marketing and advertising is born. However, we’ve entered the age of social marketing. Therefore, more digital and social marketing trends emerge.

Let’s take a look at the automotive industry and how social media along with the behavior of customers on social has shifted the way car deals and purchase in this digital era.

As we were saying, we know that in this era people tend to go to the internet and social media before purchasing, or perhaps even before thinking of purchasing a product. This new behavioral instinct extends to even purchasing vehicles, such as a new car. Everyone in the automotive industry knows that people don’t just drive from dealership to dealership anymore searching for cars in hopes of finding the perfect vehicle for them. Online research is almost always the first step in the search for the perfect car, in which indicates that now customers are more aware, so the way you sell must be on the level of their newly found awareness, research and knowledge. There’s no such thing as selling or even pushing the most expensive, the best sellers or even the new arrivals to customers, nowadays, if your customers are in your showroom or in your dealership, chances are they’ve already done their research on which car they want or which car fits their needs and budget.

The research your customers do, as well as the discussions and conversations regarding what they need can often be recognized as “micro-moments”. Early in 2016, Think With Google released a study by Luth Research that revealed the 900-plus digital interactions a vehicle shopper had leading up to her vehicle lease. Now, it is explained in an article by J&L Marketing, that these micro-moments can help you in terms of search and digital interactions of customers do that leads up to their final decision, in which determines how automotive brands should strategize their marketing, namely through SEO, Customer Facing Websites, and Targeted Digital Advertising. However, with the existence and the increased usage of social media, people are not only searching for the answer to these questions through search engines and websites, they can now simply turn to social media, filled with their like-minded peers and influencers that help in answering these questions to convince them. Therefore, these micro-moments are happening now on social as we speak. Yes, It has become that simple.

Imagine it’s a hot day and you can’t decide on a flavor of ice cream or a type of cold beverage to buy, you go on social media and simply tweet; “it’s so hot today, what should I buy to cool off? Ice cream or a cold drink? Which kind of drink? Or which flavor of ice cream?”.

Now, imagine someone out there need a car that is good for your annual family cross-country road trips, and they might have peers or friends that have families and also go on frequent road trips on their social page, or perhaps they just need insight on which of the newest models of cars are good for such trips, wouldn’t they do the same thing on social without hesitation? That’s what we’re saying. We’ve seen it happen and we continue to see this happen everyday on social media.

So, focus and follow these moments on social to get a grasp on your customers. One way you can follow these micro-moments is through social media insights which you can gain through intensive social media monitoring, which once you’ve followed the customers decision making journey, aside from knowing their specified needs, you can also find out the brands or products that are considered during their this process. What if your brand is one of those considered brands? You wouldn’t want to miss out on an opportunity, and you would want to be ready if ever your brand is mentioned. Following this process can help you in getting to potential customers/buyers before competing brands.

The shift social media has created in digital marketing is quite distinct, right? Which is why monitoring moments and/or conversations on social is vital to marketers, especially if you want to reach your customers personally. Let’s say, through your monitoring process you find a person with quite a large base of followers and influence towards others posting what they need in a car, or perhaps just a general wondering on which car to buy that fits their specific needs, whether its’ fuel saving, safety or endurance for long winded roads for travelling, wouldn’t you want to reach them first before other brands/companies do? And wouldn’t you want to have your information, digital assets (social media accounts and website) ready for them to browse through? So, it’s safe to say that now the work of automotive brands/companies begin far before the actual sales meet with customers, it begins online, where discussions or conversations happen. This is the platform you should be focused on now, to influence and convince your audience that your cars are what they need and want. Think of this as a race and that social media is your starting point in the track.

Sarah is a social media content writer for Sonar Platform, currently majoring in Public Relations at the London School of Public Relations, Jakarta

About Sarah Putri 149 Articles
Sarah is a social media content writer for Sonar Platform, currently majoring in Public Relations at the London School of Public Relations, Jakarta

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