You’ve taken the time to build a relevant, engaged community around your dealership online.

So after all of the effort you’ve put into your social branding, how do you determine if you’re getting what you want out of it? In a world where over 100 billion dollars are spent in online advertising, with digital marketing taking nearly one in five traditional ad dollars*, it’s important to recognize that the times are a-changing. Your old school ROI metrics just ain’t gonna cut it, and ROI for a social campaign in 2014 isn’t a walk in the park.

Face it, as overwhelming as it is, digital is here to stay. So, how do we decide what’s a win?

Consider Your Goals & Create Benchmarks

At the end of the day, it’s all about getting someone to buy something. But buying a car isn’t like buying a pair of shoes—you can’t throw a new Hyundai Elantra in a shopping cart and go on with your day. And therefore, tracking conversions for automotive isn’t as easy as it is for an online retailer. So decide what’s important to you? Is it awareness? Is it clicks to your website? Is it engagement and interaction?

Every dealer wants more leads…more ups. So look at the traffic to your website from social, set up goals to track this in your analytics, and try to apply a dollar amount to it. Craft your social messaging to drive people to want more, need more, information.

Back It Up With An Effective Content Strategy

Are people still responding to what you have to say? Are they engaging? Does it reflect your business, tone, voice, and employee makeup? Remember: you want to create and strengthen relationship between you and your customers. When a driver is given the choice between a dealership who practices poor social etiquette, and one who is there to respond on call – who do you think they’ll pick? The success and ROI comes when they choose you over a competitor because the other dealership wasn’t there to respond to their message.

It’s no secret that a friend’s recommendation, even a stranger’s two cents in a Yelp review, is more valuable and effective when compared to a billboard. Social allows people to form, change, and voice an opinion, discover a place or product, and share it with the entire world.

While number of fans, likes, comments, and shares don’t translate directly into a car off the lot, they do provide a reflection on how well your strategy is working.

Learn from Your Campaigns

There’s plenty of valuable information that you collect as a result from running a social campaigns. This can be applied to all of your marketing efforts. Each campaign grows your audience base (aka potential customers) and with two new pivotal tools being rolled out by Facebook, the online ad world is about to be turned on its head. Facebook now packs a powerful punch in terms of direct response marketing and letting you dig deeper into your fan base and customize your marketing efforts.

  1. ‘Google Search Intent’ is now an option for Facebook ad targeting
    1. If you’ve exhausted your email list with custom audiences, you can now step it up a notch and target people who have clicked on your ads in Google, Bing, and Yahoo. What does this mean? You can use your Facebook ad campaign to track down solid leads.
  2. Audience Insights
    1. Rolling out soon, advertisers will be able to see not only the ages, genders, and locations of your fans, but more: their purchasing habits, the other things they like, their activity on Facebook, even their household make-up.

Your relevant target just got even more relevant.You’ll be able to understand your audience at a whole new level and analyze them to better craft your messaging. How’s that for ROI?

At the end of the day, your social ROI is everywhere you need it to be. It’s evident at the end of each ad campaign and in your CPL and conversion measurement. It’s there in your fan base, showing you the demographics and makeup of your audience. Take your reach, impressions, and frequency, and translate those stats into awareness of your dealership, interest, and potential new customers. Treat your social campaigns just like any other form of advertising and understand that as the digital age grows, its metrics and ROI are only going to get better and better.

Want to learn how to more effectively target your marketing messages? Click here to check out our free eBook, Inbound Marketing 101, and learn how to reach your prospects, gain their attention and convert them into quality leads for your dealership.

*as of 2012, eMarketer