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Facebook Profile Pages Becoming Irrelevant - What does this mean for Dealership marketing?

Yesterday the great website ReadWriteWeb.com released an observation and a quick study to back it up. The upshot is people rarely visit Facebook pages - even the pages of close friends. Facebook has become all about the Live Feed. Think of it as Twitter without the 140 character limit and with expanded video and linking capabilities.

I don't know that this diminishes Facebook's potential, but I think it demands a change in how Dealers approach it when it comes to marketing. Questions can be asked like "how important is having inventory on our Facebook page?"

What do you folks think?

Views: 71

Tags: Facebook, Marketing, ReadWriteWeb

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Comment by Ed Brooks on August 19, 2010 at 5:59am
With the new Facebook Places announced last night, there will be lot's of additional opportunities to add Fans that don't necessarily involve a visit to your dealership Facebook page.

Also, to further expand on Katie's comment, one of the most fun, inventive and "Social" ways that I've heard of dealers using Facebook is to take a picture of the customer with their new car. Nothing new about that right? Next you overlay the picture with the dealership logo and "tag" the new buyer in the photo. Every one of the customers Facebook friends will see the photo in their Live Feed. It's a fun way to get your name in front of lots of prospects. The best part it fits with the social nature of Facebook so much better than an oil change coupon does! The power of sharing is huge!
Comment by Katie Urbain on August 18, 2010 at 8:12am
Just to expand a little bit on Ed's last comment: The share-ability of items through Facebook is extremely powerful. The average Facebook user has 130 or so friends. If you can be put in front of a good portion of those friends, with a positive spin, a cool feature, great customer service, quality inventory, super tips and advice, service coupons...encourage it all to spread like wild fire. The key is to get new customers, and get them in the door, and then get them to tell their friends. If it's through a superb service coupon that was shared often - so be it. Once they are in the door - now you can impress them! If they have a good experience then they will come back to buy their car from you!
Comment by Keith Shetterly on August 17, 2010 at 7:07pm
Great example Ed! I'm going to use it this week. I love this site, thanks again to Ralph and all contributors for such a fantastic forum.

Keith
Comment by Ed Brooks on August 17, 2010 at 6:07pm
Keith (as almost always) I'm with you. Content is King - OK or Queen. I loved Jodi's breakdown on how to interact. And Katie is right that they can become a fan without ever going to your Facebook page. Facebook is actively encouraging this with their ambitious Open Graph API. You can put "Like" buttons wherever you want. Now imagine a "Share" button on your inventory so a shopper can share a car under consideration with their friends. I'm just asking that we think outside the box on how to best interact with Facebook users.

If they don't visit friends or businesses pages, how can we make the best use of the stream?
Here's a great example: Zingerman's Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I'm one of their almost 25,000 fans. That's right 25,000 fans for a deli. The trip I just made to their Facebook page to snag the URL was my first ever. But I do look forward to seeing their postings in my news feed. They don't show up too often and wear out their welcome. They are interesting, informative and fun - and all live feed posts link back to their website. So a Bacon Tasting Announcement (yeah, how good does that sound), links to the Bacon Tasting event page at zingermansdeli.com.

Ari Weinzweig, owner of Zingerman's is a marketing genius, best-selling author and bacon aficionado. Could car dealers pick up a tip or two from him? 25,000 fans!
Comment by Keith Shetterly on August 17, 2010 at 3:08pm
With the average car shopper in a 2-3 year buying cycle . . . it's not about pushing inventory or even vehicles for sale (fixed ops is a little bit different). This "news feed" is just user-generated content on a new media channel--so generate CONTENT that they can find relevant in their daily lives and get them in when they're actually shopping for a vehicle. I just posted a blog on my feelings on the subject that CONTENT IS ALWAYS THE MEDIA KING (or QUEEN)! I'll stay friends with anyone on fb who keeps my interest; sending me your used car specials every week will get you dropped.

I was around when the PC was developed, working at IBM then at Compaq. I remember trying to get my bosses and executives to understand that the PC was a media DEVICE for content. They kept seeing it as a tool, which it also is. What drove broad PC and also then gaming device adoption?

Content. Same story with print, radio, TV, PCs, and the Internet is the story with Internet 2.0.

Content. :)
Comment by Jodi Palmer on August 17, 2010 at 2:43pm
I AGREE WITH KATIE! Personally, I only pay attention to the live feed. When I'm intrigued by something, I click on it for more detail and go exploring. The 1st goal is to have them become a fan. 2nd You want to provide an opportunity for them to engage with you (and stay engaged).

Keep in mind the following ratios when posting:

• 20% informing

• 20% entertaining (make them laugh & keep it relevant)

• 40% Interacting--ENGAGE

• 20% converting into business

Also think about including a link to you Facebook page on interactive promos, direct mail, etc. If I like what I see, I'm likely to check you out on Facebook too. Make it easy for the customer to "share the love" with you by becoming a fan. Keep them a fan by not abusing that precious relationship.
Comment by Katie Urbain on August 17, 2010 at 12:52pm
Hi Ed! Nice to chat w/ you again.
The goal of the Facebook Fan Page itself will have to be centered on converting Non-Fans to become fans, so that your messages actually go into their Live Feed. Certainly they can become a fan without actually going to your Fan Page - but - this would be the place to entice them with the content in your feed, your inventory, your community involvement, a coupon, other relevant items that make your dealership uniquely you. AND, if you really have a great page - it might just entice them enough to click over to your page regularly to see what your special tabs have in them, yes this information could be somewhere else - a landing page etc. BUT, by having it in your Facebook page you will give the Fans a reason to stay a fan - which will in turn give you the ability to have a regular audience for when you are ready to announce something you need them to hear.
Comment by Ed Brooks on August 17, 2010 at 6:40am
@David - I hear you and it makes sense. But, for the sake of argument, why must the "hook" from the live feed link to the dealership Facebook page? Why not link it to a specials microsite or a dealership blog? Those environments offer much more design opportunity. I'm just asking if it's time to completely rethink Facebook strategy to much better reflect today's Facebook usage.
Comment by David T. Gould on August 17, 2010 at 6:00am
I think people will view Facebook pages based on how they are used (or not used)... if the page is a random inventory feed or a bunch of 100% customer reviews... they probably will not be used... However, if the page(s) are professionally laid out with specials, brochures, contact information, interesting content, and is linked / referred to from the live feed there will be activity. Good Selling, DTG

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