The time has come to get real about Facebook.
Gone are the days when it was “free” (except for all the time you put into it). Today, the investment required to build a thriving Facebook page full of active, engaged fans can be costly.
Now that digital retail is here, dealers must determine whether building a Facebook page makes sense for their organization.
A FACEBOOK PAGE IS AN INVESTMENT
Building relationships through trust takes time, and if Facebook is your chosen platform (it is, after all, where your customers spend an average 33 minutes per day), then be prepared to make an investment.
A Facebook page is a valuable company asset, and as such there are investments – financial resources, human resources and time – required to retain its value.
Assessing the results of your Facebook investment is crucial.
Once you spend time in the Facebook ecosystem and begin your promotions, you’ll realize you can easily spin your wheels, investing time and resources but ending up with very little to show for your efforts.
Ongoing measurement and analysis of specific key performance indicators and metrics will determine if you’re meeting the goals you’ve outlined.
So should you make the investment in building a Facebook page or not?
I hear from many dealers who are truly in a quandary about making the investment in Facebook – and with good reason.
It’s difficult to decide if something is right or wrong for your store when you don’t have all the information. It’s even worse when you don’t even know what questions to ask.
To help, I’ve outlined the pros and cons of building a Facebook page so you can determine the best route to take for your dealership.
PROS OF BUILDING A FACEBOOK PAGE
It’s ideal for reaching car shoppers: The average U.S. consumer spends 33 minutes per day on Facebook. It’s embedded in our culture and part of our everyday lives.
The key to successful marketing is reaching the widest audience that’s interested in what you sell. Facebook is where your customers spend their time.
Engage customers long before they’re buyers: It’s important to reach shoppers at every stage of the buying cycle, including post-purchase. Facebook can’t be beat for engaging people.
Communicate why your store is the best choice: Today’s consumers want to know your story. By sharing everyday stories through images or video, your Facebook presence allows would-be buyers to learn more about you.
Opportunity for transparency and authenticity: Consumer trust is at an all-time low. Being “real” creates a connection with consumers and helps them feel more comfortable about their decision.
Generate leads and sales: Facebook ads drive shoppers to purchase and there’s every reason you should be capturing some of that magic.
It’s worth considering the opportunities available in using Facebook ads to merchandise your vehicles.
CONS OF BUILDING A FACEBOOK PAGE
Major investment: Building a Facebook page takes commitment. It’s time-consuming to build a Facebook page and it requires a financial investment.
You’ll also need someone to manage and interact with the community you’re growing.
There is constant change: If you’re not comfortable with constant change, building a Facebook page will be one of the most infuriating experiences you’ll ever have.
They roll out updates without any notice. They make changes to things that don’t necessarily need changing. There are bugs that regularly cause unexplained issues.
It won’t work without a good plan: The old adage “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” couldn’t be more relevant than with Facebook.
Useful information is one of your store’s biggest assets and delivering quality content to buyers via Facebook takes planning.
You’re always at the mercy of the Facebook algorithm: Facebook has changed dramatically, even from just a few months ago.
Perhaps the biggest change is posting great content is only half the job now. Paying to promote your content effectively is the other half.
Many dealers judge the success of a store by the number of Facebook likes. For years, dealers spent millions of dollars growing their likes.
Today, advertising revenue is Facebook’s focus, and because advertisers can pay to reach their target audience, the number of page likes isn’t as valuable.
If you invested in growing your likes over the past few years, treat your investment accordingly. Leverage the community you’ve grown and work on increasing its engagement.
If you haven’t built a lot of likes, don’t despair. You can still reach car shoppers through Facebook ads – and you should.
Building a Facebook page is not for everyone. I hope these tips will help you decide what’s best for your dealership.