Social media is big, and is only getting bigger. It’s easy to get lost in all of the talk of likes, shares, tweets, snaps, engagements, impressions, views…see what I mean?
Each social media platform is unique– the type of content that works best on Facebook might not be effective on Twitter. Your audience on Facebook is going to look very different than it does on Snapchat. Each platform has its own strengths, so make sure you are leveraging the tools for success.
For the vast majority of people, the first thing we think when we hear the words “social media” is Facebook. Maybe that’s Mark Zuckerberg playing mind games on us, but it more likely has to do with the fact that there are over 2 billion people on Facebook. That’s over 25% of the entire population of the world. If you zoom in on the auto industry, 84% of all car shoppers are on Facebook. It’s practically a watering hole for potential car buyers.
Dealerships know that they need to be on Facebook– telling a dealer to open an official page on Facebook is like telling them to maintain a website. That being the case, your dealership should identify ways to stand out on Facebook, and make the most of this powerful platform.
We’ve gathered some of the most helpful Facebook-specific tools and tips to up your dealership’s game. (Not to worry, we’ll cover other platforms in later posts.) There is so much that a dealership can get out of Facebook, that we had to split our list in two. Keep an eye out for How Your Dealership Can Sell Cars on Facebook (Part 2). If you prefer, you can sign up for our newsletter to find out when it is posted.
Let’s jump in!
Individuals have been using Facebook to buy and sell their cars for about a year now, by posting them on the Facebook Marketplace, a peer-to-peer classifieds directory. According to one Facebook product manager, “Autos are one of the most popular categories of Marketplace.” Knowing this, late last year Facebook announced that it would be creating a dedicated section of the Marketplace to auto sales.
One of the best parts about the new Marketplace listings: it’s free. With all of the changes to Facebook’s algorithm that prioritize posts from friends and family, and not Pages, your dealership should work to identify ways to make the most of the free, organic tools on Facebook. Your page should always look alive and inviting, even if you focus most of your attention on your paid advertisements (read on to hear more about that). Aside from your organic content on your Page, the Marketplace is another way to leverage Facebook’s power for free.
Dealerships are now able to list their inventory on the Marketplace. It’s important to note that right now, only used or certified pre-owned vehicles are being supported. Maybe new cars will enter the mix soon.
The Marketplace is by far the most direct way to actually sell cars on Facebook– there are real people looking for cars, and viewing your listings. They can then communicate with you via Facebook Messenger (more on that later) or a third party chat provider, and receive all of the information they need. In a matter of minutes, and with very little investment, you’ve got yourself a super qualified lead.
The actual sale of the car won’t take place over Facebook– it’s just a way to connect a buyer with a seller.
Right now Facebook only works with a few inventory partners: Auction123, Cars.com, CDK Global, Edmunds, and SOCIALDEALER. If you don’t work with any of these companies, definitely keep an eye out as Facebook is looking to expand the service.
Paid advertisements have quickly become one of the most important weapons in every dealership’s, and really every business’s, Facebook arsenal. The auto industry has seen great success in paid advertising. One study by Unified found that auto ads are twice as likely to be clicked on than other Facebook ads. ComScore found that visits to VDP pages jump 50% because of Facebook ads. In general, Facebook ads lift website visits by 37%. The numbers don’t lie: Facebook ads are effective.
How do you make the best possible Facebook ads? There has been a lot written on the topic– our friends at 9Clouds have put together quite a few helpful guides to get you familiar with Facebook ads, and what goes into creating the perfect Facebook ad for auto. Much of what makes a Facebook ad successful is the same as any other type of advertisement– good copy, an eye-catching image or video, and a powerful CTA that moves the shopper to engage with your dealership. That said, there are a few Facebook-specific tools and features that you should be aware of, to get the most out of your ads (and your ad budget).
Facebook gives you the ability to highly target the audience of your advertisement based on location, demographics, interests, and more. Your ads might target people who live within 25 or so miles from your dealership. These people are the most likely to come in to your store. Alternatively, if you know that there are only a few dealerships in your area, widen your target audience. After all, you know your market better than anyone.
Facebook also allows you to exclude people from your targeting. You might choose to exclude people who live in a certain area, or have already liked your Page on Facebook. This way, you’re focusing on reaching new customers to make the most of your budget. On the flip side, including some of your devoted fans can build social proof in the form of likes and shares, which will compel new shoppers to engage with the ad.
You can improve your targeting even more by implementing a Facebook Pixel on your website. A Facebook Pixel is a piece of code that you add to your dealership’s website that captures the information of every user who visits, and allows you to target an ad to a certain group of website users. Say, for example, your dealership is offering a special on a certain class of vehicles. By setting up an “Event” on your website, your pixel can track every user that visits those vehicles. You can then create an ad specifically featuring your offer, to be seen by the right people.
If you have a substantial list of customers, you can also upload that file to Facebook and create a “lookalike audience,” of people who are similar to your customers. The Facebook algorithm works its magic, and builds a list of people that it thinks are similar to your customers, based on demographics, interests, and more. Take the time to learn about audience targeting, as it will step up your Facebook game.
There are a few special creative types that your ads can feature on Facebook, unlike on other platforms. Some of these are especially well-suited for dealerships and the types of promotions they generally like to publish.
Facebook is the perfect place to include videos of your vehicles and dealerships. AutoTrader.com found that car shoppers are 20% more likely to click on a listing for a specific vehicle if it has a video. Add that to the fact that more than half of all car shoppers watch at least a half-hour of video during their buying process and it’s pretty clear that videos are one of the most effective ways of reaching and engaging with customers.
Facebook has been making improvements to its ad platform to make it even easier for dealerships to promote their entire inventories. One of the most exciting ways is through its introduction of dynamic ads.
Here’s how it works: your dealership installs some code on your website. You then create and upload a catalog of your inventory, including all of the relevant data like vehicle make, model, price, location, etc. After you have uploaded your inventory, you create a template for an advertisement. Facebook then dynamically inserts images and details from your catalog for each vehicle. The ad will take users to your website or mobile app. By using dynamic ads, you don’t have to spend time uploading all of the details of each of your vehicles every time you want to deploy a new ad. It will save you time, while maintaining quality. That’s a win-win.
Instead of featuring one image in each of your ads, Facebook allows you to display anywhere between two and five different images, headlines, and descriptions. By using a carousel instead of one image, you can feature several different vehicles in each advertisement. Users are compelled to click through the advertisement to see more. Each image also features a CTA that can take the person to the VDP of whatever vehicle they are looking at.
That’s all for this post. Stay tuned for How Your Dealership Can Sell Cars on Facebook (Part 2) to learn even more strategies for making the most of Facebook. We know, we can hardly wait either.
Now available: How Your Dealership Can Sell Cars on Facebook (Part 2)!