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Why Facebook doesn't matter for auto dealers anymore

Today's internet is about discovery.

  1. Discovery through trusted connections suggestions
  2. Discovery through real time activities
  3. Discovery of interesting patterns


There's a lot of buzz from Mark Zuckerberg's keynote at F8 announcing the massive (and much needed) changes that Facebook is rolling out, which focused on application development and "lifecasting" amongst your friends.  As dealers, we've been focused on our business pages and trying to get members only to find out that even though we might have 1,000 "fans", most of them never saw our updates unless they were regularly engaged.  Now, with Facebook's announcement to go towards apps instead of relying on pages dealers will need to revolutionize their social networking strategy with them.


The biggest changes to roll out in the next few weeks are:

  • OpenGraph:  Application programming interface (API) and strategy for 2012
  • Timeline:  The story of your life, from first 5 minutes all the way through today
  • Newsfeed:  Interesting patterns and subscribed updates
  • Ticker:  Real time status information and application activity


Facebook's is still valuable for a few reasons:

  • Great place to reach 800+ million people
  • Business pages integrated with Yahoo/Bing
  • Focused on the “lifecasted” conversation between friends
  • Most successful businesses are integrated through apps
  • Attempting to fabricate artificial serendipity of search through social networks
  • “Like” is being replaced with “verb here”


For the automotive industry, and for auto dealers we're faced with three major questions:

  • What do people love about the auto industry?
  • What do people need from dealers?
  • What can be consistently shared with others?

So what does this mean for next steps for dealers approach to Facebook?  To answer this, I visited a plethora of automotive vendors focused on social and mobile applications, had several great talks with Google HQ and collaborated with real dealer data to put together a successful 2012 strategy.

  1. Dealers must engage people from the "zero moment of truth" (research process) all the way through to the second moment (purchase and return home with the vehicle).  Most people are focused on the "first moment of truth" which represents when a person comes into the dealership.  Because social is all about relationship, we must create an immersive experience that touches all three points.
  2. As we know, integration to other systems is key.  Encourage your CRM provider to consider making a Facebook application that uses the data they collect to send out relevant offers to people that have enabled the application on Facebook.  What would happen if you saw, "Nick's Ford Dealer wished Jim X a happy birthday with a free oil change, and 3  of your other friends redeemed this as well" on your news feed?  This is the type of application that Facebook loves.
  3. Keep encouraging people to "Like" you on Facebook... for Bing.  A less known fact is that these two companies are actually integrated, so having people "Like" you should improve your SEO standing with Bing. 
  4. Ask "What's our social play" with each post.  Ensure content is inherently interesting and encourage (and measure) sharing.  Success is engagement, but more importantly multiple engagement within specific groups of people to create patterns, that ensures your content shows up on the Newsfeed (prioritized content)-- not just the real time ticker (which could potentially change hundreds of times during the day). 
  5. Integrate your mobile apps to Facebook Connect.  One of the major things I saw at this year's Digital Dealer was the excess of mobile application providers.  Ensure these are not only compatible with both Android, iPhone and iPad-- but also actions they take on these applications feed through to a customers Facebook ticker to encourage other people to engage with that same type of content.  One of the great opportunities of the new Facebook system is you only need to allow something ONCE, all future actions taken will automatically publish to people's ticker (but not newsfeed).  



See this, and more automotive digital marketing strategy articles here.

Views: 93

Tags: facebook, management, networking, reputation, social


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Comment by Nick Cybela on October 7, 2011 at 8:15pm
Ralph and Keith, thanks for your feedback.  I've added an additional five steps that create action items for dealers.
Comment by Keith Shetterly on September 30, 2011 at 8:14am
Ralph, 100% agree with you.
Comment by Ralph Paglia on September 30, 2011 at 7:26am
Keith, if you look at Nick's opening line, and the last item in his post, you will realize EXACTLY what his objectives were for publishing this post on ADM... Nick, I am one of your biggest fans, but you could learn to be a little more subtle in your auto industry directed social media posting tactics, and gain a lot more effectiveness.
Comment by Keith Shetterly on September 29, 2011 at 7:05pm
Was the title just to get me to read this?

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