Professional Community for Automotive Marketers, Car Dealers, OEM and Suppliers
Shown below are a fascinating "Q & A" excerpts from a conversation between Laurie Halter, Charisma Communications owner, and Brent Albrecht, SOCIALDEALER Marketing Director. During their meeting, Laurie and Brent discuss the development and evolution of Facebook into one of the most powerful advertising platforms in America. They discussed several ways dealers can leverage Facebook's Advertising tools to their full potential in driving more sales and service business into dealerships in 2013.
The following Questions and Answers have been selected from their conversation:
Laurie: So Brent, I hear you have been having some great successes running Facebook ads for auto dealers… so Facebook ads really work?
Brent: Absolutely, we are using Facebook ads for dealers in multiple stages of their social media strategy, with very promising results: growing fans, increasing engagement, and selling cars.
Laurie: OK, I want to hear about these results, but first, what are these multiple stages of the social media strategy?
Brent: I am sure there are different names for them, but at SOCIALDEALER, we call them Attract, Connect and Convert. In the Attract stage, the focus is on building your social audience, because we have seen that there is a minimum critical audience size to not only generate interaction, but also to generate Leads. In this stage we run more Like campaigns, to build a dealers audience with LOCAL fans. The next stage is Connect, where we use engaging content to reach friends of fans through sharing of content – comments, likes, etc. Here we will use sponsored stories to promote a dealer’s great content and increase their reach. Then finally, in Convert, the focus is on lead generation, using Facebook Target Marketing, ads and offers to promote sales and service.
Laurie: That sounds like a powerful strategy, and I know from dealers how important it is that fans are local. I have talked to dealers who have used games and iPad giveaways to build fans, and just don’t seem to get the response they need.
Brent: You are right on the money. Local is the key. We have also seen how important audience size is too though - dealers with only a few hundred fans see little results from their Facebook page, and it has to do with a concept called “The Thin Market”. Under this concept. there are very few consumers in the market for any particular good or service at any particular time. It’s the same reason a dealer would never advertise in a local newspaper with only 300 subscribers, the audience is too small to generate response.
Laurie: So it is the Quality (Local) and Quantity of the audience that matters – that makes sense. So back to Facebook Ads, you mentioned selling cars, but are you actually promoting cars with ads? I have heard multiple times the idea that “people are on Facebook to be social, not to shop”.
Brent: I hear that statement a lot too, and it always amuses me. It is true that people are on Facebook to be social and not to shop. However, that same logic would apply to almost all other advertising. I am on the highway to get to work, not to shop, so no billboard ads. I watch TV at night to be entertained, not to shop, so no product offers on TV. I check the mail for my bills, not to shop, so no direct mail offers. You can see where this is going. We advertise products to people in places where they can be reached and engaged, not solely based on their purchase intent, otherwise the only place to promote cars would be at the dealership and on automotive websites. So yes, once we have a large, local fan base and people sharing and engaging with content, we will promote vehicles for sale. People like special offers and incentives for both services and cars (if done correctly and in moderation) even when they are not in a place to shop, and we are generating sales for both.
Laurie: I guess at the end of the day, it is about offering solutions to consumers needs – and on social media, these solutions can be education, advice, and entertainment, but they can just as easily be a need to buy a product.
Brent: You are absolutely right.
Laurie: So ADM fans, we want to hear from you. How do you think Facebook will evolve this year, particularly with services like LinkedIn getting into the mix?
EDITOR'S NOTE: You can click on the Facebook Advertising Infographic to the above right to open a new browser window with the full size version... Far more legible than the thumbnail shown above! The full size Infographic is 980 pixels wide by 2,902 pixels tall.