facebook is over 6 years old now, but it has only found the mainstream-online-car-industry in the last year or so. In a very short time, in our industry, it has worn out its welcome. Nobody is selling cars off of it and maintaining a facebook page is a waste of time. I just don’t understand why any dealership would want to be on it?
Could it be the wealth of consumers who participate on facebook every day? Could it be the potential to have your message branded to an extra 200 people per each fan your dealership has? Might it be a communication tool with a better chance of having something read than an email (who doesn’t read their direct facebook messages)?
If you’re like me, and capitulated to the requests of a very persistent young blonde woman to get the dealership on facebook, then let me tell you why I’m not sick of hearing about it….not yet anyway. In our few months on facebook we have created friendships, headlines, philanthropy, controversy, and even some profit! It has all been fun, but it hasn’t all been easy.
When we first started, fan pages were just coming out. We didn’t know what we were doing, so we started a regular account. We discovered quickly that many people did not want to be friends with a business because that business can see everything inside their profile and photo albums when they’re friends. However, we were still able to amass over 1,000 friends, but once we broke the 1,000 friends mark we showed up on the facebook policy team’s radar. They shut our account down. And they were unwilling to allow us to send one message to our friends stating we were moving to a fan page, so we basically had to start all over again. I’m watching Grant Cardone go through this right now. Dealers – make a fan page. You’ll be sorry if you don’t.
facebook is a communication platform.Nothing more, nothing less. It is another telephone, email device; just a point to have direct conversations. Of course, there is the potential to spread the right ad message, but don’t go into it thinking you’re going to be able to advertise unabated. Your fans will squelch you and I’m sure another new facebook policy change is just around the corner. If you do this, you’re a spammer.
facebook isn’t for everyone.
- If you plan to start a facebook fan page, but haven’t spent at least 3 months on there with a personal account – don’t. Sign-up, reconnect with your old high school buddies, become a fan of a few businesses and check the site at least once a week. Get a feel for things before you dive right in. Figure out what you like to see on there.
- If you attack facebook like a lion, put a fan-us icon on your website, and then stop updating you’re going to look like a fool. The old adage, “”if you’re going to do something, do it right” is fully at play on facebook. One of my favorite competitors has facebook plastered all over his website, but hasn’t updated his fan page since November of 2009. What does that say to a customer?
- Do you like facebook? If you’re not excited about it, I think you should stay off of it. It takes time and commitment and that requires you honestly asking yourself whether you really want to do it. If there is any leaning toward a “no” then don’t do it. You’re only going to get out of it what you put into it.
I have been absolutely shocked by the SEO value facebook has had for us since we got over 1,000 fans. Anything we link is instantly shot up in search results. Instantly! Some companies will say this is reason enough alone to setup a facebook page, but those companies have a tendency to forget about the content and personal attention an endeavour like this needs. If you have 11 franchises, do you really have the man-power to keep up with all 11 different facebook fan pages as you should?
On the DealerRefresh forums we’ve been asking if facebook has helped sell cars. So far, almost 60% of the participants have said it has ABSOLUTELY helped them sell cars. Some tidbits from that thread:
facebook adword campaigns have not yielded great results for anyone.
One dealer is using facebook as a free billboard that has the side benefit of SEO value.
Very proactive vendors are asking why a dealership would block their employees from accessing facebook at work.
DealerRater is seeing more quality traffic from the people who visit from facebook.
My personal thoughts:
facebook isn’t for everyone. If you don’t give it the full effort, you will not receive a full return. Don’t let your vendors tell you that you have to be there – you don’t have to do anything! I’m leery of companies who will handle facebook for you because there is no way a 3rd party will ever do as well as you can do. If you hire a third party to handle your facebook fan page for you, you’re lazy, unless you’re just using them to help develop a strategy. Make a fan page – not a regular account!