Separate financial literacy messages from social media clutter

How can auto lenders and dealers explain the ins and outs of vehicle financing to younger buyers? Meet them where they are.

Many first-time car shoppers ask themselves questions such as, "What does my credit score have to do with getting a car?," while lenders and dealers may wonder, "How do I explain without being condescending and losing a potential customer?"

Andrea Brimmer, chief marketing officer for Ally Financial, suggests lenders and dealers reach millennials and Gen Z consumers through social media. Marketing is successful when dealers and lenders use the proper avenues to reach young consumers, and crafting the right messaging will ensure that financial literacy information sets itself apart from the social media clutter.

Customers, especially millennials, appreciate content they can relate to. Millennials are a particularly price-sensitive demographic, Brimmer says, and respond to messaging about keeping costs down.

A common social media mistake is presenting too much content at once. Though millennials can absorb a lot of online content in one sitting, a wall of text is intimidating.

"It has to be snackable," Brimmer says. "You don't want to publish five pages of content when the average customer's attention span is 8.25 seconds."

Effective content directs curious customers to a financially literate future, but where that content is seen often determines what it should look like. Rather than machine-gunning the same message across five social media platforms, lenders and dealers should be aware of what customers expect on each site.

Understanding how to present information on visually driven platforms, such as Instagram or Facebook, vs. text-focused sites, such as Twitter or Reddit, is crucial to audience acceptance.

Modulate the message for the audience -- but don't try to pander. Messages peppered with catchphrases and pop culture references may come across as desperate or disparaging.

Social media can be a reliable tool to hook customers who don't know where to look for auto loan information online. A message that is enjoyable and informative is typically also approachable and clickable.

You can reach Jackie Charniga at jcharniga@crain.com -- Follow Jackie on Twitter: @jccharniga

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