The Spidersnet Learning Hub is the number one resource on the web that is 100% dedicated to educating car dealers in the world of online marketing. Our team of experts have worked hard to create a wide range of guides on a variety of topics. Today, we are going to be talking all about Facebook and how important it is to car dealers.
Some of you may have no clue about Facebook and how it can be used to great affect. But fear not, as we will teach you all you need to know in this handy, informative guide. There may be others out there who are already nailing this aspect of social media, using Facebook to raise brand awareness and drive new leads. This is fantastic, but we would still advise you to have a read of this guide, as it might offer some added insight into other ways in which Facebook can help boost your business.
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What is Facebook all about?
As we explained in our Car Dealer Guide to Social Media, Facebook is the most popular and most used social channel in the world. In 2018, they announced that over 2.2 billion people check their account on a monthly basis, which is over 25% of the world’s population!
Due to its huge scale popularity, and the modern world’s ever-growing online presence, Facebook has become ingrained in modern culture. It’s where people interact, share photos, share videos, read up on the latest news, get updates from organisations they follow and search for their next purchase. This is where Facebook comes in handy for car dealers!
An active Facebook account dedicated to your dealership will allow you to be…
- Discoverable – When people search for your business on Facebook, they will be able to find you. This is important!
- Stay connected – You will be able to interact with current and potential customers alike. They will be able to read your posts and share them with their friends and speak with you directly through comments or direct message.
- Reach large groups quickly – Providing you have put the effort in to build a following, you will be able to use Facebook efficiently to reach out to large groups of people quickly.
- Insights – Facebook’s inbuilt analytics will allow you to gain a deeper understanding of your customers and how successful your marketing activities have been.
How to set up a Facebook page
Again, you may already have a Facebook page for your dealership, but there may be some of you out there who don’t. So we thought we would quickly explain how you can set up your business page from scratch. If you’ve already got a page ready, then you can skip this part of the guide.
1. Create your page from your account
First up, you need to log into your personal Facebook account – if you don’t have one, you will need to set up a personal log in first. Once logged in, you need to click on the arrow in the top right corner and select ‘Create Page’ from the drop down menu. See below for an example of this.
2. Choose the category that you require
Once you have selected ‘Create Page’ you should then select the type of page that you are in need of from the categories listed below. Seeing as most of you who are reading this are motor dealers, you will want to select ‘Business or Brand’.
3. Fill in the relevant details
You will then be asked to input your page name, and add a category to describe your page. We suggest you type in ‘Car Dealership’, and then select that option when it appears. Once you’ve selected your category, a few more boxes will appear. Make sure you fill these out too!
4. Complete the profile information
After you have filled in your important details, Facebook will guide you through how to complete your profile, from uploading a profile picture, to uploading your cover photo and adding a bio so people know what you’re all about.
We suggest using your logo for your profile picture, as that’s what people recognise. Your cover image needs to be 851 pixels by 315 pixels and is not allowed to include more than 20% text. It is the perfect place for you to sell your business to anyone who lands on your page.
Take a look at the Spidersnet Facebook page below for an example of a good looking profile…
Once you’ve done this your page is ready and you can start connecting with people and other businesses.
Get friends and customers on board.
In the beginning you will want to work hard to get a bit of a following. It can, often be daunting starting from 0 followers, which is why we would recommend asking all of your friends and family to ‘like’ your page. This will help to get the numbers up initially. It’s even better if you persuade your friends who actually take an interest in your dealership to like your page as they are more likely to respond to and share your interesting posts – more on that later.
“To build you audience invite your Facebook friends who are genuinely interested in your business and invite customers you already do business with” Facebook
Once you have asked your friends to like your page, it’s time to start asking customers old and new to take the time out to do the same. If you have the email addresses of your past customers, and you’re confident that they are happy with the service you provided, then why not send them a nice email thanking them for their custom before asking them to like your page? You could include a link to your Facebook page in the email to make life easier for them.
Once you have asked your old customers to like your page, you should start asking any new customers that come your way to do the same. You should do this whilst they are in the showroom, and include links to your Facebook page in your email signature. Basically, take every opportunity you get to try and grow your following.
Spidersnet client Fouracres of Thorney take pictures of their customers with their new purchases on their Facebook page, which is a really great way of getting them involved with your page. Just remember to ask them if it is OK to post the picture to Facebook!
Time to start posting – 10 useful ideas…
Once you have done all of the above it’s time to start posting. This is the fun bit! If you follow the posting tips below, then your number of likes will grow, meaning that the number of potential customers who interact with your brand on Facebook will be on the up! We would recommend that you start out by posting to your page a few times a week, with a view to posting daily.
If daily posting seems a bit unattainable at the moment, then you may want to consider signing up to Hootsuite. This is a fantastic online tool that allows you to pre-schedule your Facebook (and Twitter) posts in advance. Using this tool you could sit down on Monday, schedule in a week’s worth of posts at once. However, you will want to keep an eye on your account in order to respond to questions and comments – more of this later.
“There are more than 50 million businesses using Facebook Pages, with more than 2.5 billion comments made on theses pages per month. It’s hard to deny how important Facebook is for businesses!”
Here are some suggestions of things that you should be posting on Facebook…
1. Interesting posts!
Now, this may seem a bit obvious, and we don’t want to sound patronising, but people on Facebook will want to see interesting posts from your page. If they don’t then they will likely get bored and eventually unfollow your page, meaning they will no longer receive your posts.
Make sure that you are posting links to informative articles, fun videos, stylish pictures and the like. Think to yourself ‘would I want to see this?’ And if the answer is yes, then you should be fine. Fun and entertaining content is what Facebook is all about, so make sure you are keeping your followers on your page with interesting, informative and fun posts!
2. Industry relevant posts
Whilst posting fun photos and videos is a good idea, it is very important for you to remember that you are a car dealership. Therefore, you should try and post things that are relevant to your industry. You should be posting links to industry related news articles, features about the latest cars being released and other things along these lines.
If you continue to be clever with your posts and you offer your followers a range of highly informative, interesting articles and images from within the automotive industry, then there is no doubt that people will start to see your dealership as an authority figure. You don’t have to have written the articles yourself, you can always link off to valuable sources sharing other people’s news to your customer base. This is where you need to get the balance right between posting fun and informative industry related posts. Too much of the former and you may lose credibility, too much of the latter and you may end up boring people.
3. Your stock
Your motor dealership is set up to sell cars, vans, motorbikes or whatever other vehicles you have in stock. Therefore you should occasionally post stock to your Facebook page. If you do this, make sure you select nice looking vehicles and have well taken, crisp photos included in your post. Facebook is a very visual medium, so posts with darkly lit, dull photos may well be overlooked.
Make sure you don’t spam your followers. Some dealerships take to Facebook and post constant stock updates. This might bring in some leads initially, but in time it will become spammy and dull. Make sure that your stock posts are mixed in with all the other suggestions on this list.
4. Updates from the dealership
One thing that Facebook allows you to do, is give your dealership a bit more personality. You can post things that will allow potential customers the chance to get to know your staff and see the people behind your business.
By posting photos of your staff at work, or other ‘behind-the-scenes’ snaps, you are breaking down barriers and giving your dealership a human element. And don’t just post images of your sales team, you should also feature your admin staff, your mechanics and anyone else that works within the business.
5. Localised posts
It’s worth remembering that most of your customers will be from your local area. Therefore, a sprinkling of posts relating to local news and events would be a nice way to engage your audience and show that you have your finger on the pulse when it comes to your hometown.
If you see some local news that you think your followers may find interesting, then why not repost it to your Facebook page? This is even better if the news is related in some way to the motor industry. As with all of these suggestions, so long as you are varying your posts, and keeping things fresh, your followers will remain engaged.
6. Make sure you interact
As well as posting to your page, you must also ensure that you are constantly interacting with your audience. The more you engage with people and other businesses, the more people will notice your presence on Facebook. This is not only fantastic for brand awareness but it is also a great way to have your say on matters, and build relationships with people who could, one day, become customers.
7. Respond to people
One very important part of Facebook, and social media in general, is responding to people. If someone posts on your wall with a question or a complaint, it’s important that you respond in a timely and professional manner.
“Every time there’s an angry customer, you’re not just dealing with him or her. You’re dealing with the thousands of other people connecting to your social platform who are watching you on dealing with this angry customer.”
Remember that Facebook is very public, so any comments on your page can be seen by anyone who visits your page, many of whom could be potential customers. Not only will they be able to see these comments, but they will also be able to read your reply. That is why it is important that you reply quickly and in a professional way, whilst remaining calm. This way, you have shown your business to be one which deals well with people, and doesn’t ignore complaints. An unprofessional reply, or an ignored complaint, might leave your business looking negligent and careless, which may put some customers off.
As well as complaints, Facebook is also a great way for potential customers to ask you questions. This means that someone who is considering visiting your dealership can touch base first and ask you for some extra information. If you write a friendly reply and offer them all of the info that they’re after then they might just pop along and end up becoming a new customer!
8. Join in on discussions
Whilst it’s important to ensure that you’re responding to, and commenting on, posts on your page, it’s also a good idea to join in on other people’s conversations and debates.
Keep an eye out in your newsfeed for interesting posts and if you feel like it, comment on some in order to get your dealership’s name out there. This is great for brand awareness as you are entering into friendly discussions with businesses and people based in your local area. It’s always good to have a dialogue with your target audience, even if the topic you are discussing is not related to the buying of cars. This allows you to show your dealership’s human side, and etch your business into their memory.
9. Sharing other people’s posts
If you ever see a post that you feel your users will find useful or interesting, then make sure you share it. This is a great way to offer fresh new content to your audience, but in doing so you are also building a relationship with the profile that originally created the post. The original poster will get a notification and may end up liking your page, or sharing one of your posts in the future.
Car dealers on Facebook need to work towards nurturing relationships. By doing this you can increase your reach as other pages may end up sharing your posts to their audience, exposing your brand to a whole host of new people. And by increasing your reach, you are increasing the number of potential customers who come into contact with your brand.
10. Run competitions!
A good Facebook competition could be the perfect way to get your brand in front of a wider audience and possibly increase the number of people who like your page. If you offer servicing and repairs then why not offer these as a prize? If you have nothing that you can offer yourself then you could always strike up a relationship with a local business and offer one of their services as a prize. Why not get in touch with a local restaurant and offer them something in exchange for a ‘dinner-for-two’ that you can then use as one of your competition prizes?
You should always be aiming to grow your following. Never be satisfied with the number of people who like your page. Each time a new person likes your dealer’s profile page, you are increasing the number of potential customers who could come into contact with your brand! And that can only be a good thing!”
Adam Rowden, Spidersnet
Once you have your prize there are a number of different competitions that you can run. For example, you could run some form of caption competition; get people to send in pictures and choose your favourite; run a quiz or any other ideas that you have. Coming up with a good competition idea can be fun and very rewarding when the entries start flying in.
If you have skim-read this guide then here are a handful of pointers to take away with you. However, we would recommend you go back and have a proper read of all of the above at a later date as there is plenty more that you will find useful…
- Make sure your page is looking good! Your Facebook profile page should give people a good first impression of your dealership!
- Be sure to respond quickly and professionally to all comments, posts and complaints that are aimed at you.
- Don’t focus all of your attention on merely posting pictures of your stock!
- Post a variety of things to your page ensuring that it is never stagnant or spammy.
- When posting pictures of your stock, ensure you have taken nice looking, stylish photos.