Social media has been widely considered as a solid foundation for free marketing. Leveraged in the right way, social media could act as a tool to draw in repeat customers and new customers. However, as the digital marketing climate continues to evolve, so does social media marketing. As a matter of fact, 2017 marked the end of the free social media marketing era. In 2018, the social environment changes forever.

Marketers are arguing the case right now. Many marketers still believe that solely organic is the way to go, while the rest of the pack sees a change in social media reach. Is social media too saturated? Are algorithms changing? Do you really need to pay to get better reach? Marketers have been asking all of these questions, and we’re going to help answer them. We’ll start by confirming that the end of free social media marketing is gone forever.

Keep in mind, content is still important. Content is what keeps prospects engaged and involved. Quality videos, articles, posts, press releases, images, and everything else in between is critical. However, it’s not the driving force for bringing in the masses. It’s the key for keeping them there. How do you draw in fresh prospects?

First, let’s talk about an automotive dealership who’s successfully navigating social media marketing right now. Paragon Honda in Woodside, New York, says it’s the #1 certified pre-owned dealer in the U.S. What’s the dealership’s key to success? This dealership has invested more into social media, and the results are paying off.

A 20 percent gain was seen in 2016, and Paragon Honda will soon offer sales entirely online. Since 2009, the dealership has intricately woven social media into the fabric of its marketing and sales, and this has created a snowball affect. Paragon Honda continues to reap the benefits of a strong social media foothold piloted by smart strategies.
Part of these strategies consists of paid marketing.

Social media was long thought as a free avenue for marketing, and it worked. But now, there’s more content than ever to be found on social media. Companies are seeing lower organic reaches than ever, which shows us that organic isn’t working any more. If you want real results, you’ve got to pay to get your content out there.

In 2012, if you had social media, you could pick up traffic fairly easily. In 2018, that’s not so much the case. You’ve got to understand the social landscape to get results.

In the automotive industry, such as is the case with Paragon Honda, digital budgets are forecasted to double by 2019. What does this mean? There will be competition among even paid reach.

At the end of the day, it’s not about just getting on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. It’s about expertly working your way through the system to create exceptional content and tweak ad campaigns that will work for you. Dealerships are adapting to this by hiring and training team members who do just one thing: social media marketing.

Something else has changed about social media marketing. While it might seem like reaching audiences is more of a concerted effort, the fact is that you have more power than ever in consumers’ buying decisions. Social media has grown to become a leading influence for purchasing decisions.
An phone with the Facebook app open next to Scrabble pieces arranged in the words “social media”
Photo by William Iven / Unsplash

Now, we’re at an interesting intersection. You’ve got to work to get your posts in front of prospects, but once you’ve done the work, you’ll have more effect on consumers than ever with social media.

Social media reach will never be the same. 2018 is a turning point in social media marketing, and more than 80% of companies will be implementing dedicated campaigns this year. Dealerships are leveraging social media to revolutionize their marketing and sales, and they’ll continue to perfect their strategies in 2018.

What are you doing to actively curb your social media stance in 2018? If you haven’t hired a dedicated social media person or at least come to the table to discuss the needed changes, then you could be missing out on the incredible potential of social media. {updated article]