Last month we gave you some best practices to get your dealership’s story in the media. Whether you have a dedicated employee managing your dealership’s public relations activities or not, having the right tools at your fingertips is helpful for a dealership of any size and can lead to success with media relations and other marketing tactics. There are many tools to choose from, and below we’ve outlined six of the best free or low-cost tools to help you with your dealership’s marketing communications efforts.
Google Alerts – FREE
If you don’t currently have Google Alerts set up for your dealership, it is a great place to start tracking what is being said online about your dealership, competitors or other industry topics of interest. You can put in key search terms – such as your dealership name – and get results sent to your inbox for that term as it happens, daily or even weekly. If you’ve recently sent out a news release to media, try tracking keywords from your release.
Google Analytics – FREE
Google Analytics is a great tool for any business, with the capability to tell you where your website traffic is coming from, even down to physical locations. You can also find out what search terms people use to find your site, how long they are on your site, how many pages they view and more. You can also track which pieces of content on your website are performing better, which can help drive what stories you send to media outlets. In addition, if you link to pages on your website in a media release, you can see how many clicks those pages get, which can help drive your media relations strategy.
Purdue OWL – FREE
If you recall in last month’s media relations article, we recommended crafting a solid media release or advisory as a great way to get a journalist’s attention. That involves writing like a journalist in Associated Press (AP) Style. You can learn more about the stylistic standards journalists use for things like dates, quotes, times and more with Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL).
AP Stylebook – Book starts at $22.95, Online subscription starts at $26.00
If you are sending a lot of media releases or advisories, it may make sense to purchase an AP Stylebook, which gives even more details into AP Style. You can also purchase an online subscription to the stylebook.
Hootsuite – FREE for three social media profiles, with plans available for more features starting at $9.99/month
The Hootsuite dashboard allows you to view and post to multiple social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) all in one place. You can also monitor Twitter for keywords related to your company or the industry. You can see past and scheduled posts, as well as interaction on your pages.
Sprout Social – Free trial, then plans start at $59 per user, per month
Sprout Social helps to centralize your social media activity, with capabilities to publish content across different social media networks in one place. It also has tools to help you build a social media content calendar and check out statistics, reach and impressions. If your dealership has a lot of social media activity, Sprout Social may help you centralize everything and even provides you, or the manager of your social media, the ability to work with others at your dealership for content approvals.
There are many more tools that exist that can help with your activities, all with varying price ranges and capabilities. To determine what tools you need, look at your marketing goals, whether it is to grow your bigger social media presence, improve media relations or build more awareness for your dealership, and find the tools that work best for your dealership. Many paid tools will offer free trials. Take advantage of these resources to help strengthen your marketing efforts at your dealership.
About the Author
Sara McClendon is a public relations manager at Osborn Barr, an agriculture-focused full-service marketing agency. She enjoys telling the stories of individuals in ag and rural America by building meaningful relationships with clients, farmers and media outlets. Sara grew up in the small town of Buffalo, Missouri and now lives in St. Louis.