How car dealers can make the most of Facebook
Facebook is essential to building your dealership’s social profile but knowing where it fits into the car-purchasing funnel is the key to successful lead generation for your company.
This lesson was recently driven home for Jumpstart Automotive Group, an online solutions partner for advertisers and publishers in the automotive industry. Jumpstart, a division of Hearst Magazine, recently decided to change the way they use Facebook in their marketing strategy, with dramatic results.
After spending millions of dollars on Facebook display ads for their clients, the company decided to shift the advertising dollars toward the development of premium content, external online advertising, and event promotion and integrate it with their clients’ free Facebook business pages.
The goal was to engage potential buyers in the Facebook environment with provocative, informative content, encourage user feedback and nurture a social relationship. To get the car buyers, you must be where they are, and these considerations can help those in the automotive industry get there.
Here’s how DealerPlatform clients can make the most of our Facebook-friendly website templates.
1. Commit to build your brand with Facebook
Nick Matarazzo, Jumpstart’s CEO, recommends integrated marketing campaigns that include social media, but emphasizes the focus on development of the marketing content on your website (in blog pages like this one), while using Facebook to build your brand and attract followers or a fan base.
Similar to window shopping, Facebook provides consumers with a first glimpse of a company or product and sets into motion the awareness process, which is at the top of the purchasing funnel. Use Facebook to grab attention and lead consumers back to your website for more information by posting links to your blog posts and car photos.
2. Build local relationships
Today’s savvy consumers want to comparison shop, and know the price and vehicle specifications before making a car purchase. Eighty percent of those who include the internet in their car-shopping process eventually turn to a third-party website before they make a purchase.
But just having a third-party site for validation is not enough; the site must be rich with valuable information and effective marketing and be able to convert the shopper into a buyer during this critical stage of the purchasing funnel. So when working on your website, think like a consumer…what kind of articles would help them?
Here are just a few topics you could write about to build trust with local customers searching your site: Tips related to the car buying process, financing options, how to maintain a vehicle, the difference between leasing and buying, or seasonal information related to oil and tire changes.
3. Generate buzz with Facebook, then add value.
Facebook is effective for creating the buzz that can lead excited consumers to your website and generate activity in the interest and conversion phase of the buying funnel.
Several years ago, Ford Motors launched a one-day Facebook-only advertising promotion using display ads with the familiar “like” button to introduce the new Ford Explorer. The ad buy was designed to reach more than 50 million Facebook users and led to a 104% increase in consumer information searches for the vehicle and more than 30,000 Facebook likes.
By targeting only Facebook users, Ford made them feel special and invited then to participate in an exclusive online event.
Case and point, if you advertise on Facebook to promote your auto dealership website, you are also building an audience that you can educate and interact with, so it isn’t just about creating ‘Buzz’, but adding value.
With all the benefits of social media and the targeted advertising that Facebook offers, car dealerships that recognize how to use Facebook in their current sales cycle will benefit the most from this dynamic marketing channel. It’s clear that the conversation that takes place on Facebook is important to the car-buying decision but it’s at the top of the purchasing funnel.
To get the most out of your marketing dollars, dealers need to re-evaluate their current ad spending and strategies with Facebook and focus on driving that traffic to their dealership websites, which have more impact on the purchasing decision.
Car dealers should also take advantage of the free Facebook business pages and develop content there as well as on their own websites. Now more than ever, it’s critically important that your website content be aligned with all of your promotional and social activities and carry the right marketing message to convert an inquiry to a contact or sale.