January 10, 2013
Facebook isn’t just for college kids anymore; it’s a must for your business.
By Lucas Deal, Associate Editor
In this day and age, nearly everyone has an online presence. The Internet is available almost everywhere, and everything from your phone to television has a connection.
That’s why it is so important for your dealership to be online. You don’t want to be the one business holding out on a technology everyone else has grasped.
That is especially true with regards to social media giant Facebook. As the most popular site on the Internet, Facebook has more than 852 million unique visitors per day, with nearly 25 percent of those viewers checking out the site more than five times per day. That’s a lot of hits in one place.
If you aren’t using Facebook to promote and market your business, now is the time. According to Kathi Kruse at KruseControlInc.com, Facebook has provided you an opportunity to interact with current and prospective customers in real time.
“People want to know about your business, and Facebook is providing that [information] in a way we’ve never seen before,” she says. “It is word of mouth digitized.”
But despite Facebook’s openness and instantaneous ability to interact with customers, Kruse says there still are best practices for using the site as a marketing tool.
You can’t simply add your phone number and expect sales to rise.
Kruse has developed a six-step outline for creating a successful Facebook page for a dealership. She describes the six-step system as follows: Create a site objective, maximize the site’s design, create a solid content strategy, a promotion strategy, an engagement strategy and conversion strategy.
For a dealer without a Facebook page, the outline is a good example of the steps to take when creating one. If your dealership is already online, the information is still beneficial as ways you can improve or update your page to maximize customer interest.
The first step, creating a clear objective, is one Kruse says you need to work with your marketing department to produce. Your objective also should include general plans for each of the remaining points.
Kruse says you want to create a user-friendly site that provides customers with some information about your business, but you don’t want to duplicate a company website. You also don’t want to create a site that simply lists phone numbers, or sales deals. You want it to be interactive.
Allowing customer feedback and contact to power the content on your site will make fleets check it out on a regular basis. That’s what you want — a site where fleets can come and learn about your business without feeling overwhelmed by information.
Designing your page is the next step. While Facebook has some standardization to its page design, the network does allow you to post a cover and profile photo for your business. Kruse says this can be an important step to pulling customers to your page.
“Have people in your photos,” she adds. “People are always better than [vehicles] because customers can see those pictures anywhere.”
After you’ve designed your site it is time to implement a content strategy. Kruse defines this as “what you’re going to post on your page.”
This can be a variety of things: news from your dealership or OEM, releases of new products you are selling, customer contests and appreciation, etc. Kruse also says you can take news information from other sites and post it on your site as a way to keep customers up to date.
But remember, you can’t just repost content from other sites. Kruse says the best content you can post is your own, because it helps customers learn about your business before making a purchase.
Now that you are providing information, it’s time to increase readership and gain fans. This can be tricky, says Kruse.
First, you have to get customers to “like” you. On Facebook, liking a page is a way for a customer to show interest in a business, and connects the two pages together. Once a customer has liked your page, everything you post on your page will be fed to them.
But that alone is not enough to bring fleets to your page. Just because they see what you’ve posted doesn’t mean they will click through it to your site. To do that, Kruse says you need to post engaging content customers want to know about. Photos, videos and promotions are good examples of content customers will want to read about.
That’s the content they will want to pass on, she says. And if they inquire for more information, be sure to give it to them.
The more information you can provide to an interesting customer online, the better the odds they come in to your facility. And ultimately, that’s what you want. You want to cultivate customers from your Facebook page.
Kruse says that’s possible. Some leads happen organically — when a customer reaches out online about purchasing from your facility — while other leads come by investigating your likes and seeing what people are researching on your page. Facebook allows users to analyze page views, so you can find out what your customers like.
By doing all of these things well, you can make Facebook work in your dealership.