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Post Inventory the Right Way to Facebook

Cutter Chevrolet Rabbit

Here’s the sad truth about the way that most dealers are posting their inventory to Facebook. It’s not getting seen. None of it. Not at all.

Currently, there are three primary ways that dealers are posting their inventory to Facebook. The most common method is to have a tab on their Facebook page with their inventory. This doesn’t work. The click stats that we’ve studied using three different inventory types show that even the most active dealer Facebook pages are seeing next to zero traffic, clicks, or leads from this form of inventory posting.

The reason is obvious – people don’t visit your Facebook page unless they get there through search, a link from your website, or an ad on Facebook. In these three scenarios, they’re either not interested in seeing you inventory (if they were, they’d just go to your website) of, in the case of referrals from your website itself, they’ve already seen it. Now they want to see you and your personalization.

The other way is to feed your inventory manually or automatically through Facebook posts. This is a really, really bad idea because it will kill your page’s algorithmic authority and render your posts, inventory or not, essentially invisible.

The third way, the one that we recommend, is to be creative, selective, and persuasive. You have to post vehicles that deserve to be on Facebook. By that, I mean that the vehicle has to have something special about it that you can focus on, it needs to be relatively unique, and it has to have a compelling story behind it. In some cases, the cars create the story itself. We all covet that 5-year old car that was driven by a grandmother who literally took it to the grocery store and church and accumulated 20K miles over her five years of ownership. A car like that would definitely fit the criteria and the story clearly would write itself.

The more common circumstance is that you’ll want to create your story for the vehicle. In the example above, the story was that it was a unique car. We focused on the paint job to turn it into something that is at least a little interesting to the Facebook fans for this page, then we told a little about the car, just enough to let people know that they’ll be clicking through to a vehicle details page. This is important. You do not want to try to trick people into clicking through to a link that is trying to sell them something.

Be transparent. The car speaks for itself, so the image won’t make people report it or block the page, but if you then try to get them to click through without letting them know that you’re wanting them to buy it, you run the risk of them landing on your website, getting upset that you conned them into clicking through to what they thought was an image gallery, for example, and then clicking back and giving your post negative feedback. This is a bad thing.

Look at the example above. It’s a nifty little used VW with a different paint job. Rather than simply saying, “Check out this VW Rabbit…” we put a cute little spin on it. As a result, we know three things:

  • It did well in the news feed, garnering 38 likes.
  • It did not receive negative sentiment such as reports or hides.
  • The vehicle sold less than 48 hours after it was posted to Facebook.

You don’t have to wait for a car with an interesting paint job. Chances are you have something on your lot, particularly a pre-owned vehicle, that has something interesting about it. Here’s another example:

Waynesville Camaro

In that example, the focus is on the year. It’s a used car, but it’s a 2013. Every lot should have some of these available. Hot newish car without the new car price – that’s a story that’s Facebook worthy, especially with a nice image of the vehicle itself.

This is where some creativity comes into play. You can’t just say, “2013 Camaro with 16K miles for sale, click here…” You have to tell a story about the vehicle. At the time of writing this article, the post is only 33 minutes old so we don’t have any statistics on it, but you get the idea.

Social media isn’t just for branding. With KPA Local Engage, we highlight the right vehicles, specials, and dealership activities that will resonate on the various social sites. Done properly, your social media can start producing real ROI. The branding – that’s the consolation prize. Focus your social media on getting tangible results.

* * *

Originally posted on the KPA blog.

Views: 696

Tags: Facebook, Inventory, Social Media

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Comment by Alexander Lau on June 7, 2013 at 7:19am

Comment by Cherie Price on May 25, 2013 at 9:06pm

That was clever, J.D. :)  Nice job........

It's imperative that I look for, find and employ FUN........without it, I'm a fish flopping about in a dry bowl.

Comment by J.D. Rucker on May 25, 2013 at 1:22pm

Cherie - that's awesome! I think it's important for people to have fun on Facebook as they're promoting their business. I remember when we posted an inventory item for one of our clients and a couple of our specialists, Amanda and Erin Ryan (yes, they're twins and they're awesome) were thinking of creative ways to highlight a used VW Rabbit. It had a large stripe from hood to tail, so we had fun deciding how to make the pun come out properly...

My suggestion was to ask, "Have you ever seen a red rabbit with a black stripe on its head?" We went with their suggestion and it worked very nicely.

And Marsh, notice that we're linking directly to the vehicle details page itself. Two things to note. First, there's no coaxing. We're not trying to fool people into clicking on the item. We're very clear that this is an inventory item for sale, even mentioning the miles in the description on Facebook. Second, we're didn't start off with something "salesly" because that can turn people off. We're giving an interesting, valid reason for it to be on Facebook by leading with something fun and clever.

Comment by Cherie Price on May 25, 2013 at 10:39am

I NEVER list more than 3 car ads in a row on Facebook.....and yes, I have 'personalized' the ads....not just copied from my website.  What does work for me?  Personal stuff!  Industry news that my readers aren't aware of.  Family antics.  The highest number of views I have EVER gotten on FB was an embarrassing-to-admit, but funny to watch  stunt my son pulled and it was witnessed on camera.  He drove his Tacoma while his 12 yr old hung onto a rope or chain and was pulled along (slowly) on rollerblades.  200+ views.  Next was an article I found somewhere and copied/pasted to my FB page talking about when, why, how often you should change your windshield wiper blades.  Like J.D. and his curly fry, I personalize the entire page while still maintaining professionalism.  If I have a Hummer we want to get rid of......errrr umm... SELL.......I absolutely rave about how a Hummer is 'king of the road' and how envious your neighbors will be to see it sitting in your driveway.  The more fun "I" have with Facebook, the more fun my fans have.

Comment by J.D. Rucker on May 24, 2013 at 10:28am

Coincidentally, the last time I found a curly fry with my regular order, I posted a picture to Facebook. It's full circle, now. That bonus will follow me forever.

Comment by Jim Canto on May 24, 2013 at 8:19am

Gotta love Ryan's comment below; "More like finding a curly fry in the box with the regular ;)" ... too funny... and makes perfect sense.

Comment by Alexander Lau on May 24, 2013 at 5:58am

Thanks J.D., GREAT article and link. It debunks what car dealerships think about social versus what they actually should be doing.

I should mention, for all of the major social avenues listed below, the metrics areas are the same and they are adding in Pinterest as well. :-)

Comment by J.D. Rucker on May 24, 2013 at 2:49am

Excellent stuff, Alexander. Those are the type of metrics that have true meaning. I always look for one thing that reports don't always show, though. I want to see the increase in business that has always been promised by social. I want to see more cars sold and more service tickets written. I'll be going into more details on this topic in my upcoming webinar, Beyond the Basics: 5 Myths and 10 Rules for Advanced Social Media M....

Comment by Alexander Lau on May 23, 2013 at 9:30am

The metrics aren't particularly fantastic (over the last 90 days). However, you can see where I'm measuring the success levels of Social (Page Likes, Shares, Post Likes and Conversions). Determination of ROI, as J.D. has mentioned.

Comment by J.D. Rucker on May 23, 2013 at 9:13am

I agree with Alexander, but I want to be clear that DealerRater is a great service. I have trouble finding value in the inventory tab on Facebook, but I don't think that DR is pushing that as a primary component of their service. With that said, what Alex said is all spot on.

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