How Businesses Use Social Media for Marketing: Dealers vs. OEMs

When your business has a complicated distribution network, leveraging social media networks can get confusing. Understanding how businesses use social media for marketing and when to publish content through your dealer network’s social media channels versus the corporate or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) channels, is a challenge many organizations face. We are here to break it down for you to help you develop the strongest strategy for success across social media channels.

Audiences for dealers and OEMs on social media

First up, understanding who likely follows each level of the organization on social media is important. Dealers are more likely to be — or should be — trying to reach their local customers who have a personal relationships with the brand and/or dealer. Bonus points for potentially capturing some competitive customers who live locally. OEMs are more likely to be reaching a national or international audience that includes current customers, competitive customers/employees, industry media and other industry influencers. These audiences likely have overlap, but not total overlap, as some may only follow one channel over the other.

Tone for dealers and OEMs on social media

It is important to follow a consistent tone and voice across marketing platforms to create a consistent user experience. Social media can be one of the most informal of marketing touch points, but should still feel in line with other touch points. However, the tone for dealers is likely different than the tone from OEMs due to their audience and stature. Social media posts from dealers can feel more organic, real-time and not highly produced, whereas posts from OEMs can be more branded and polished.

What dealers should post to social media

  • Parts and service – Promote and share updates about parts availability, preventive maintenance, repair and other related services that are specific to your dealership or location.
  • Sales and financing offers – Share information about sales and financing offers that are organized either by your dealership or at the corporate level. This content is best suited to dealer channels, versus corporate channels, as dealers will be able to speak directly to what equipment is available and/or any specific adjustments made. In addition, the followers at the dealer level are more likely to be in a sales mindset beyond just research or awareness.
  • Used equipment – Keep it as relevant and local as possible with information on what used equipment is on the lot or coming in soon.
  • Dealer engagement – Introduce followers to employees, address local or regional topics such as local events or specific seasonal maintenance tips, and other localized engagement to continue building a relationship between the dealership and their customers.

What OEMs should post to social media

  • Brand awareness and loyalty – The corporate channels on social media can serve to build long-term relationships with prospective and current customers while also supporting during the research stage of a purchasing journey. Building that loyalty over time through social media content will reinforce when they are ready to make a purchase.
  • Thought leadership – How-tos, preventive maintenance tips, industry trends and the like can be shared by the corporate brand as they are applicable across multiple locations and geographies.
  • Brand engagement – Engagement and interactivity is still important for OEMs, although it is less focused on building a direct relationship with the customer as dealer engagement. Creating content that allows the user to interact and comment, sparking conversation in the comments between followers, can be extremely valuable.
  • Influencers – Leveraging influencers to further the reach of a brand can be done at the corporate level to gain maximum exposure. Building and maintaining relationships with influencers, including industry media, over time can be executed on the OEM’s account.

What both can and should post

  • Features and benefits – The main attraction — the equipment or product itself —should be promoted from both the OEM and the dealers’ social media channels.
  • Testimonials – Reviews and testimonials from customers can also be shared on both social media channels, although dealers can localize these by sharing quotes from their direct customers, whereas the corporate channel can create testimonials that feature storytelling and could even include mention and promotion of the dealer involved.
  • Equipment/product demonstrations – Showcasing the equipment or product with an equipment walkaround, a product demonstration or other format is relevant and interesting to both the dealer and OEM’s followers.
  • Product launches – When a big splash is needed, don’t shy away from using all available channels. The corporate channel can focus on building awareness for the product, whereas the dealer channel can incorporate specifics such as how to demo locally or when it will be available on their lot.
  • Job opportunities – There is a need to recruit and maintain talent at all levels of an organization, so including job opportunities is acceptable. The opportunities should be relevant to the channel (e.g. the dealer posts about their maintenance tech jobs, not about the OEM’s engineering opening).
  • Events – When attending a tradeshow or other event, promote in advance and then share updates with followers during the event. Posting from OEMs should stick to the larger national or international shows, and leave the regional shows up to the dealer to promote.

Recap

Dealers should publish posts that are specific to their local audience and what they can specifically offer, such as equipment on their lot or parts and service. Corporate or OEM accounts should publish posts that help drive awareness, engagement and overall education and support for their audience. At the end of the day, the best results will happen when the OEM and their dealer network are in sync across marketing materials, including social media posts. Having a clear and consistent message that is reaching a relevant audience will help drive results for your business. Have additional questions? Contact our social media experts!

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