Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Powersports Dealer’s Guide to Twitter: Top 10 Tips to Promote Your Business

You may be aware of Twitter — but do you truly take the most advantage of how much this platform could boost your business in the minds of consumers? Take a look at our top recommendations for how to growing your dealership’s digital footprint by simply curating an active, quality Twitter page.

1. Take advantage of imagery and visual content.
    • According to Twitter’s business page recommendations, tweets with photo content get an average boost of 35%, while videos get around a 28% boost compared to text-only posts. Especially in the motorcycle and powersports industry, sharing photos and videos of inventory, resources and reshares of interesting news pieces can boost your engagement.
2. Stick to messages that are short and sweet.
    • Twitter has a limited character count for a reason — messages are communicated in short bursts, keeping users from becoming bored or weary of heavy content. There’s no harm in linking back to lengthier content, such as posts to your company blog or Facebook page - but in terms of your actual messages on Twitter, keep it short (140 characters to be exact). The most successful posts are those that incorporate imagery with short-form written content that calls the consumers to click a link or button for more info.
3. Always respond to replies and acknowledge retweets.
    • Twitter is all about community and user interaction. If an audience member engages the content you post, acknowledge it! For example, if someone retweets your post, comment and thank them — or simply engage them by asking them a question or making a comment about the topic in response. If someone replies to one of your tweets, never let them be the last to respond. Your goal is to communicate that you care about their opinions - so make that clear by liking/responding to any comment they make toward you, regardless of what it is. This will also show other customers that you are prompt and responsive, showcasing your high quality level of customer service to others.
4. Schedule posts using a tool like Hootsuite, and tweet at least once per day (even if it's just a retweet).
    • The biggest thing to remember when it comes to Twitter is consistency. If you only post twice per week, your brand won’t be in front of your target audiences regularly — and you won’t get the same level of brand awareness as other more regularly posting profiles. Remember, you don’t have to remind yourself to ‘tweet’ each day - use the free version of a platform like Hootsuite, which is typically charge-free for one Twitter account, to schedule, maintain, and monitor posts for up to months ahead of time. This will help you to achieve frequency and consistency with your posts, but should not completely replace logging in occasionally to engage in real-time.
5. Curate a collection of at least 10 hashtags to reference over time that are related to your industry - but don’t use more than 3 per tweet.
    • Too many hashtags can distract from the tweet itself, but just a couple will help your tweets be found in relation to similar topics and conversations across Twitter.
6. Be sure your Twitter handle clearly communicates your brand identity.
    • If your company name is already taken - for example, if the Twitter handle “RichmondRVs” - don’t panic. Utilize underscores or periods in your username before feeling the need to come up with a less identifiable name. For example, try “Richmond_RVs.” If that doesn’t work, try the clever “TheRealRichmondRVs” or “bestRVsinRichmond” to communicate your business’ purpose, even without the actual name in your handle.
7. Keep your cover photo and profile picture clear.
    • It is important to use the correct dimensions and photo sizes to keep excess pixelation from occurring. Use these guidelines to ensure your sizing aligns with the recommended dimensions.
8. Post your Twitter handle and link to your profile in other places you post online.
    • For example, if your business sends out a newsletter or regular email campaigns online, always be sure to include a link to your Twitter account towards the very top or bottom. If your business has a blog, link your Twitter profile so users regularly see that you have a social media presence there.
9. Follow two key groups of users: valuable secondary content sources and users you think will follow you back.
    • Following the Twitter pages of reliable sources in your industry, such as Cycle News, Rider Magazine and Cycle World, will provide a healthy flow of content you can reshare to your page between original posts. Resharing this content will not only show your consumers that you’re in tune to what’s happening in the industry, but also enables you to potentially be one of the first accounts to share breaking news, interesting tidbits of information and more with them.
    • You don’t want to follow too many random individuals on Twitter just to gain followers. Be careful and strategic about who you follow. To find new followers, visit the follower list of one of your favorite news sources — for example, Cycle Trader. Look through the list of individuals following the profile you’re looking at - and when you come across an individual who seems to be highly engaged (has a public profile, a well filled-out bio section, and a profile/cover photo present) - follow them! You’re much more likely to get a follow back. Users without a complete profile are likely infrequent users who may have become disinterested in Twitter, and users with private settings on aren’t as likely to accept your follow. Not to worry, though - as you build your base of followers, you’ll be able to add more later. Focus on adding a healthy number of engaged users that have a higher chance of sharing your content - you’ll thank us later!
10. Use a link shortening tool like to shrink the amount of characters a link takes up in a certain post.
    • This will enable you to use the majority of your allowed tweet characters for your actual message, rather than taking up 75% of your tweet with a hefty hyperlink. 

We hope your business finds these tips helpful when it comes to curating and developing your company’s Twitter page. Are you currently active on Twitter? If not, what’s been holding you back? Have you seen an increase in foot or online traffic based on postings to social media? Comment and let us know.
Trader Online Web Developer

The Path to Purchase: The Way Technology Continues to Change the Powersports Industry

Before we dive into the depths of how the Internet has changed consumer shopping habits, let’s first take a quick look at the average powersports buyer.

  • Only 9% of buyers contact a dealership before visiting it in person1

  • 45% will wait up to a day for a dealer to respond before moving on - and 52% then contact another dealer1

  • 52% of powersports consumers say that price and manufacturer are most influential in their purchase decision1

  • 71% of consumers plan to have the keys to their next unit within a week of contacting a dealer1

If you look at these statistics as whole - one thing is evident: the Internet has changed the research process.

Because of this - brace yourself - they are using the Internet instead of coming into the dealership to decide which unit will match their budget and lifestyle. Now, you can expect that a consumer is more informed and further along the path to purchase when they arrive at your dealership.

In this ever-changing digital culture, how do you position your dealership to be seen as a resource for consumers, even when they aren’t physically walking through your doors and asking for information?

  1. Put time and effort into building your online presence.

A new Nielsen Company audience report suggests that, on average, U.S. adults spend 10 hours and 39 minutes a day consuming digital media. Out of 168 hours in a week, over 74 of them are spent using devices.2 That means we spend nearly 50% of our time each week using technology in some way, shape or form.  It is inarguable that the Internet has changed the way consumers are researching their potential purchases.

Google has actually coined the phrase “Zero Moment of Truth” to describe the process of gathering research that happens prior to ever stepping foot in a dealership. By that point, the buyer has compiled all of their research together in order to confidently make a final choice on the item - or unit - they will purchase, which means your online presence is more important than ever.

To keep consumers engaged with your listings - as opposed to researching your competition - it is important that you treat your online listings as an extension of your dealership. Think of them as your online showroom where consumers can begin to familiarize themselves with your brand and value proposition. It is easy for a consumer to see the difference between a quality listing - packed with photos and a video to see the entire scope of the unit - as opposed to a few stock photos thrown together. Just because a consumer hasn't contacted you yet, doesn't mean they can't tell the difference between a dealer who puts time into building their online listings and one who doesn't - and guess which dealership will ultimately get that lead?

Even if a consumer has a large amount of discretionary income to spend, the purchase of a motorcycle - or other powersports unit - is still a big commitment and they want to take their time to determine what unit will best fit into their budget and lifestyle. Make sure to include high-quality, original photos and videos, a detailed description and a price to help them fall in love with the unit the minute they lay eyes on it. Don’t skimp on your listings. The more detail, the better. Always.

2. Analyze consumer insights and adjust accordingly

The trajectory of a buyer’s path to purchase is fairly unpredictable but we know that, on average, they are spending 123 days educating themselves on what the market has to offer, what a fair purchase price is, how a unit will fit into their lifestyle and what dealership will meet their needs.4  Just as consumers are researching you - you should be researching them to fully understand what attracts them and causes them to engage with your listings online.  

It is important to take a holistic look at your marketing campaign, truly understanding what is driving traffic to your website and which online listings are producing the most engagement. With consumers hesitant to contact a dealer, focusing the success of your marketing campaigns on just phone call and email leads will likely leave you feeling slightly disillusioned. It’s imperative that you understand how consumer is engaging with you online prior to reaching out or walking through the front door of your dealership.

Let's play this out a little further. Say a consumer sends you a lead email or makes a quick call inquiring about the price of a unit. Even though they contacted you, this really isn't a qualified, high-quality lead. They were just looking for more information because it wasn’t provided. Now let’s shift and think about the consumer who finds everything they need online during their research process. They print out a map and show up in your dealership later that day. You’ve never communicated with this person, but they are an extremely qualified lead. They are informed and ready to leave with keys in their hand.

In today's digitally-influenced market, there is so much more to leads than phone calls and emails. A consumer is looking for so much more when they land on your ad detail page. They are looking for information, guidance and reassurance that you are the right dealer with the right unit for them.

Test it yourself. Build out a listing with 5-10 original photos, a great description, a price - maybe even a video. Then post one that has only stock photos, a minimal description and no price. See which one does better. Remember to look at more than just how many phone calls and emails you get. Consumers will rely on the more robust listing as a resource and engage with it much more heavily than the less detailed listing - particularly because they can find the information from the basic listing through other resources.

3. Understand that your marketing strategy must be multi-dimensional

The truth is, two people will likely never take the same exact path to a purchase. The average consumer consults 18+ sources during their decision-making process, making the path to purchase look more like a complex interstate exchange - with exits and entrances all along the way.5 It’s easy for someone to get lost in their research journey.

Whether a consumer begins their search through social media, word of mouth, at an event, an OEM’s website or elsewhere, your dealership’s branding and message should be clear and consistent ultimately create an appealing and trusted purchase environment. We cannot anticipate that most - if any - consumers will take the same path to purchase. They will each have their own method and it is important to make sure they can find your dealership no matter how and where they are choosing to search.

With 79% of consumers turning online to research a major offline purchase, the pressure is on for you as a dealer.4 You have to be present and engage your consumers across all mediums in order to hang with competitors in - and around - your market. Be sure to focus on:

  • Beefing up your social media presence: Buyers love social media. It is the perfect mix between honest opinions and a community of die-hard fans. Be sure to engage in a two-way conversation with your followers on social media. Be present. Answer their questions, respond to their comments and help them get a peek into what doing business with your dealership would be like. Don’t hesitate to have a little fun here either. Consumers on social channels are looking to be both engaged and entertained.

  • Building a website worthy of your dealership: 61% of consumers are unlikely to return to a site they have had difficulty using.6 We’ve all been there. A site that loads slowly, looks like it was made in the ‘90s and before we’ve read any of the content we’ve moved on. Consumers often feel that the experience they have on your website is a direct reflection the experience they will have if they walked inside your dealership. If your website’s a mess, they have reason to believe your physical location - and service - is too.

  • Understanding how search affects your traffic: There is no question that with an average of 2.3 million searches performed each minute on Google, that the search engine is the place most consumers start their search.3 Build ads that are relevant to your target market or areas where you would like to grow market share, as well as the inventory you carry. This will help increase brand awareness for your business in the areas that really count.

  • Having the best ads out there: We discussed this earlier, but your online listings really are a vital part of your online presence. Your dealership’s livelihood is based off of moving units, so why not spend some time making your ad listings the best they can be? The more effort you put in, the higher your return on investment will be.

  • Giving consumers a low-pressure way to get information: When consumers seek information, they want it fast. Half of shoppers spend 75% of their total shopping time conducting online research.7 This includes inquiries to dealers. Integrating a chat platform on your website gives consumers a quick and convenient way to reach out for information. Do keep in mind that if you have chat - you have to be present and respond in a timely manner. There is no worse experience for a consumer than reaching out and hearing nothing but crickets - and that’s why 51.6% of them will reach out to your competition instead.1

1HotJar, 2016.
2 Nielsen Company Audience Report, 2016.
3, 2016.
4 ComScore, 2016.
6 Google Surveys, 2016.

7 HubSpot, 2016.
Trader Online Web Developer