DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Automakers and dealers are chasing millions of customers who spend an increasing amount of time each day on social-media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
But what kind of content is appropriate for dealers to put on a Facebook page? How should they get started? How much does it cost? And does it really help sell cars?
"Moving the Metal: How Automotive Dealers Can Take Advantage of Social Media," an Automotive News-Advertising Age white paper available Aug. 16, addresses those issues. Also, on Thursday, Aug. 19, Automotive News will offer a webinar on the topic.
The auto industry will spend about $1.2 billion this year on social media advertising, according to consulting firm Borrell Associates Inc. And that number is projected to grow to $4.6 billion by 2015.
Forrester Research Inc. says social media is the fastest-growing segment in the interactive marketing category.
For dealers, the bottom line is that it doesn't take a large investment to increase social media business. Even the CEO of Dealer.com, one of the leading vendors selling social media services to dealerships, says the best way for dealers to get started is to identify and support a single dealership employee who already is a social media user, and use that person to start growing a local network.
With an estimated 142 million Facebook users in the U.S. and a worldwide total of more than 500 million, the auto industry has no choice. The customers are present in social media. The auto industry has to go there.
"Everybody's trying to tackle this beast called social media," said Joe Castle, a Chicago-area dealer at Castle Auto Group (Buick-GMC-Chevrolet). "'There's nothing to be scared of' is the moral of the story."