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Why Having A Lot Of Facebook Fans Is A Waste Of Time

(Originally published on Dealer magazine)


It amazes me how many dealerships judge their Facebook marketing efforts success by the number of fans they have. People are in awe of that dealership that managed to get 15,000 fans to their Facebook page. Some vendors sell the fact that they will exponentially increase the quantity of fans you have. Dealers give away cars and iPads just to entice people to “like” them on Facebook.

I’m here to tell you that the number of Facebook fans you have is not only irrelevant, but it could be wasting your time and making your Facebook marketing essentially useless.

What do I mean by that? A Facebook fan that is not in your market and will never do any business with you is NOT doing you any good.

If you’re a dealership in California, would you take out a print ad in a Florida newspaper? No.

Why? Because those people aren’t in your market and that would be a waste of money.

Now, some people would argue it’s a numbers game. Get more fans and the chances that your message is heard increases. I’d argue that the only way this is true is if these fans are in your market. If nobody you’re marketing to would ever spend a penny at your dealership, you’re wasting your time.

So what do I think you should do?

In my opinion, building a healthy Facebook presence takes time. It starts at the dealership level where your fans are acquired from actual customers doing business with you and/or coming into your store.

·         You make tent cards and spread them out at your dealership.

·         You tell service customers about your Facebook page.

·         You integrate your Facebook presence into your existing marketing – traditional, in-store and online.

·         You hold your contests in your store where actual customers of yours win.

·         You get them to share your message with their social networks.

Focus all of your Facebook marketing on acquiring fans that actually CARE about what you have to say and will do business with you.

I’d rather have 100 fans that would do business with me than 15,000 fans that wouldn’t.


Views: 91

Tags: facebook, fans, media, pages, social


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Comment by Jason Manning on July 7, 2011 at 9:26am

Just like anything else, don't bite off more than you can chew.

Comment by Rorie Hannigan on July 6, 2011 at 3:55am
Ensuring that your content fits in with what is expected from your relevant users to ensure that maximum chances of interaction occur. However there is no denying even if people aren't interested say in your latest promotions-  your local dealership's can act as a portal for local information and take on the status of a local hero!
Comment by Arnold Tijerina on July 5, 2011 at 10:08pm

Hey Ralph, got your message. My comment was meant to be playful, it wasn't sending any particular message. We disagree on some things but I still respect you as a professional in this industry. 


Kristen & Ric - Thanks for the comments. Agree with you 100%.

Comment by Ralph Paglia on July 5, 2011 at 9:02pm

Arnold - I sent you my response by private message instead of airing our laundry in public...

Comment by Kristen Judd on July 5, 2011 at 7:56pm

Arnold --

Thank you for this post.  This is something we've been emphasizing for some time now.  The automotive industry in inherently competitive, so it is not surprising that acquiring the most Facebook fans becomes a goal.  But, as you so aptly explain, the number of Facebook fans is only a single marker and not even one of the most significant markers of the success of a dealer's social media program.  I have analyzed the Facebook pages of dealerships that have 15,000 fans and found SPAM-y posting on the wall and that the majority of the fans were from other countries.  

While geo-targeted advertising campaigns can add localized fans, there are also grassroots methods for adding fans.  It can be as simple as reminding dealership staff that the store is working on its social media presence, encouraging the staff to like the page and to suggest it to their friends and family.  After all, it's always a good idea to remind people you know that you work at a dealership.  

Thanks again for refocusing attention on the donut, instead of the hole.



Comment by Ric McCoy on July 5, 2011 at 7:51pm
A good guide every dealership should read and pay attention too. Every store has good social intentions, but many have not received good guidance or direction, if any, about Facebook marketing. It is called Social Media, not "Aquaintence Media". In marketing as well as social... Business is better when you own your backyard! Thanks Arnold.
Comment by Arnold Tijerina on July 5, 2011 at 6:57pm

What are you trying to say, Ralph? You don't agree with me on everything? haha.

Thanks for the comments. :)

Comment by Ralph Paglia on July 5, 2011 at 6:24pm

Arnold - I agree with you 100% on THIS specific issue... Far too many people are now gauging the effectiveness, or judging the ineffectiveness of a social media marketing campaign on the number of Fans a dealer's Facebook Page has.  The fastest rate of LOCAL CUSTOMER Fan acquisition I have seen to date for a car dealer was focused on people living within a 10 mile radius of the dealership.  The Facebook Ad campaigns were for CardinaleWay Mazda of Superstition Springs, AZ in the Fall of 1999.  The campaign cost about $3,000 in Facebook display advertising over a 90 day period and was targeted to people within 10 miles of the dealership address.  Over 1,000 local Mazda owners/fans were connected to the dealership's Fan Page... Which brings me to another point.


If you are not willing to invest money into GEOTARGETED Campaigns that ONLY reach the people closest to your dealership, then you are going to attract Fans from outside your marketing area.  If that's what you want, then that's OK, but if you want Fans that are most likely to do business with your dealership, then be willing to target them in the ways that Arnold describes above, AND with an investment in geotargeted advertising campaigns in Facebook and using Google Adwords... 

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