Facebook offers a variety of methods for reaching out to potential car buyers. It’s important to understand the difference between branding efforts which are designed to engage your local community and build relationships, and the direct sales messages which are delivered to in-market prospects. If you confuse these two, your Facebook advertising efforts will not yield the results you are seeking and will only deter your community from engaging with your business.
The primary focus of most businesses on Facebook is the Business Page. On Facebook car dealers often make a common mistake of blasting out sales messages, promotions, and inventory updates each day on their front-facing Facebook business page. Why is this a bad idea? Most individuals who will see your post are NOT currently in the market to buy a car. The sale price is not of interest and will simply clutter their news feed. A common response to unwanted sales messages is an “unlike” or “unfollow.”
Your goal on the front-facing Facebook business page should be to build relationships, entertain, educate, and otherwise provide value to the individuals in your community who will see your posts. You want viewers to get a sense of who you are and what your company’s values are. Think about the unique personality traits your dealership exudes and make sure you portray them accurately in each post. If you have a laid-back, friendly staff, make sure the vibe of your posts is playful, funny, and easy-going. Contrarily, if you are a high line store catering to upscale clientele, you should be more formal in your messaging.
Facebook is an escape for many. Whether they are waiting at the car wash, killing time on their lunch break, or holding down the bench at their kids’ soccer practice, people hop on Facebook to disengage from their surroundings with a bit of fun. The posts that best engage are the ones that speak to the individual on a personal level. These include pictures of their friends’ kids, dogs, and cats or updates from family members about major milestones like the birth of a child, college graduation, or anniversary of sobriety.
In addition to heartwarming or touching Facebook posts, another very popular type of post is one that involves humor. People love to laugh and often share funny content with their own networks. I hesitate to recommend humor as a Facebook strategy for car dealers only because it is so subjective and the opportunity exists for a misfire. Make sure your humor is “safe” and avoid dark humor or anything that could be politically incorrect. Stick to jokes you would only tell in front of your Mom.
Local spotlights generate a sense of community involvement and offer an opportunity for post viewers to share their opinion on a shared experience. Whether you highlight a local restaurant by complimenting their barbecue sandwiches, a local drama theater by advertising an upcoming performance, congratulate a local sports team on a victory, or give a shout out to a hometown hero, your desire to share the spotlight with others in the community displays a warm persona for your dealership.
Educational content is a great way to display your staff’s unique skill set in your Facebook posts. Instead of boasting, “We have the best cars at the lowest prices,” a better message may be “Here are the differences between leasing and buying a new car.” If you want to talk about your service department, try sharing expert tips for maintaining your vehicle instead of offering a sale price. Remember, we will support the front-facing messaging with sponsored ads that are direct sales messages. Your business page is for softer, more engaging content that is unobtrusive in the viewers’ news feeds.
Now let’s talk about Facebook ads. This is where you can “Sell, Sell, Sell!” Facebook ads for car dealers, which are sometimes called dark posts, are targeted to individuals who have been identified as being likely to purchase a specific type of vehicle in the near future. Your advertisements will only be visible to in-market shoppers in your area. There is no longer a concern of treading lightly with the promotions, but you should still strive to deliver ads that are engaging, entertaining, and offer insight about your dealership beyond simply the price of the car for sale.
A properly structured Facebook advertisement should include an eye-catching photo or video and compelling copy. You need to entice the viewer to read the content by showing a picture of inventory at your dealership instead of a stock photo. The less your ad looks like a commercial the better. People hate to feel like they are being sold something and often tune out anything that is an obvious advertisement. Smiling faces work well, as do videos, gifs, and anything with movement. The copy for your Facebook ads should include a branding message, also known as your “why buy,” accompanied by a strong proposition for why TODAY is the best time to purchase. This could be a special price, value added proposition, limited time special offer, or anything that heightens the sense of urgency.
There are countless types of Facebook posts and Facebook ads to play with. Experimenting with a variety of delivery methods (single image, slideshow, gif, album, video, carousel, etc.) will help catch the attention of a wider audience. It is vital that you monitor the performance of your Facebook posts and ads and respond to comments and questions. Invite individuals who engage with your posts to “like” your Facebook business page to further support the relationship with your dealership.
Facebook is a pay-to-play space for businesses. You must support your front-facing posts with a budget. Advertisements require a minimum daily spend and exposure is directly proportional to the amount of ad budget you allocate each day. To learn more about effective Facebook advertising strategies for car dealers, please contact Dealer Authority today for a complimentary consultation.