There are many mistakes made by dealers on Facebook. We detail the most egregious ones here from time to time in an attempt to help others not make the same mistakes. There's one mistake in particular that is almost unforgivable for the simple reason that it's so darn easy while being pretty darn effective. Dealerships are so focused on their own pages that they often neglect to take their pages out into the rest of the Facebook world and interact there.
Here's the short version of what you should be doing with your page: log in as the page (top right arrow next, "Use Facebook as:") and go like other pages and posts. Done right, it should take no more than 5-10 minutes a day. Like your local newspaper. Like local charities. Like other local businesses. Like the posts that are on those pages that you truly enjoy (more on that later). It takes a certain creative and professional personality to comment appropriately as a dealership on other Facebook pages. It takes the ability to read and click buttons to like things that others post.
Here's the longer version...
Interacting with the Community by Pushing the Like Button
Facebook gives you the ability to humanize your dealership. That's one of the most important attributes of Facebook as a marketing and public relations tool. It's great for communicating and most dealerships are starting to be more active on their Facebook pages when people seek them out and talk to them there, but so few are going out into Facebook as their pages and doing the interacting there.
This is way too easy of a task. It's so easy and so potentially effective that it's shocking so few do it.
Here it is, step by step:
- Using Facebook as your page, find relevant local businesses, charities, organizations, and publications to like.
- Be open but vet your selections. Make sure the pages are active, posting content that your business would agree with and that your fans would also enjoy, and have a real following. Avoid pages that are too big - your likes will not be seen if their page has hundreds of thousands of fans and each posts gets hundreds of likes. Think Goldilocks - not too big, not too small. If they're getting 1-10 likes per post, that's perfect.
- Like content on their pages that you enjoy. This is important - don't go through "blind liking" things on others' pages. Only push the like button if it's something that you would want to be associated with online and in real life.
- Check your news feed daily while using Facebook as your page. Again, be selective. The urge to save time and start hitting the like button a lot is strong for many, but be certain that you really like what you're liking.
- Set a schedule to vet the pages that you have already liked as well as finding new pages to like. I do it once or twice a month.
- Rinse. Repeat.
Why this Helps
This may seem like a frivolous activity. It's not. It works.
Every time you like something on another page, your business name appears on the post. The branding implications here are clear - repetition and reinforcement are keys in this uber-competitive auto sales environment.
More importantly, it's not just how often people see your name. It's where they see it. There's a certain level of goodwill associated with a like. This can register on a conscious or unconscious level. Either way, your brand is associated itself with worthy causes, other local businesses, and stories posted on publications that other people agree with or enjoy as well. When they see that you liked a recent post by the local March of Dimes chapter, for example, it shows that your dealership is potentially involved with good things happening in the community.
There's also the return-reaction factor. Let's say a car dealership likes a post by a local restaurant. The restaurant's Facebook page manager will likely see this. They might "return the favor" and go to your page to like something there as well. That's the minor benefit. The major benefit comes into play during those rare but real moments when an actual sale is made as a result. There's a dealership that recently liked and commented on a post by a local college promoting their book sale drive that was going to benefit the math department. A math professor at the university bought a car from the dealership a week later, noting that they were "in the market anyway and was pleased that the dealership was supporting his department."
A $35,000 vehicle sold as a direct result of clicking a button and writing a nice comment - it doesn't get any better than that.
Cases like that are ideal but obviously very rare. People are normally not so easily swayed. While the direct benefits are often never seen, the indirect benefits of branding, exposure, and goodwill are easy to understand. Remember, it takes 5-10 minutes a day at most. Some may do it less often and still find success. The key is to do it. If you don't have the time to be engaging with your local community by clicking the mouse a few times a day... who am I kidding. You do have the time. You just have to make it a priority.