Facebook is not just for social conversations. It’s a social community with brands and storefronts, and for those that understand the power of Facebook and can harness it, a ton of possibilities exist. Dealers are looking for ways to promote their business and ultimately be profitable with Facebook, but so far, few are seeing the benefits.
More than 85% of U.S. consumers are on Facebook. Service customers average within a 5-7 radius of their dealer, while sales customers average up to 150 miles. Through Facebook advertising, dealers are able to target these folks with tremendous precision, and even upload their own customer information and target the ones Facebook can identify.
Some dealers are having ample success using Facebook Ads, but even this approach is limited. For the most part, all you are doing is driving click traffic to your website and hoping for a conversion that leads to a transaction.
This is a step in the right direction, but it does not create a unique customer experience, and it doesn’t produce a truly tangible return on investment. The evolution and realization that we need to work around people, and not around what we are attempting to sell them is paramount.
The Broken Engagement Funnel
As any honest media buyer or ad agency would attest, running paid ads on Facebook does not overcome the broken engagement funnel. The ads themselves are effective at increasing brand awareness, and even trigger action with consideration or purchase intent, but they do not engage the user to the point where conversion, let alone a transaction, can occur. To do this, the user has to leave Facebook and perform the action where the ad took them.
One company that believes it is changing this offers a program called HELIOS, which offers a turnkey solution that interfaces auto retailers with customers on Facebook. Through native Facebook services, the dealer, and real-time data integration, HELIOS is able to generate consumer-specific communications for brand awareness, car service, and sales leads.
Conversion rates and return on investment should be the main focus with additional interest on ‘softer’ metrics, for example brand awareness, however the ultimate goal for dealers should always be return on investment in both fixed and variable operations.
Social Activation Leads to ROI
Social activation is the act of transforming your social followers from voyeurs, into participants, and ultimately into evangelists. Social activation occurs when fans and followers directly participate in the activities you lay out, such as contests, coupon redemption, service and sales calls-to-action and experience sharing.
By providing users the ability to engage with their dealer in a transactional way without leaving Facebook, the customer is able to carry out their interests in a familiar environment with all the tools and information they need to complete their transactions. This includes everything from scheduling service appointments, reviewing repair and maintenance information, paying for their service visit, engaging with representatives at the dealership, researching vehicles with OEM information, vehicle trade, financing, and so on.
When you can do this on a regular or consistent basis with each customer throughout the lifecycle of their vehicle ownership with you, then you are realizing social ROI.
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Free eCourse and eBook: Keys to Verifiable Social Media ROI
To assist with this, AutoConversion created a free 7-day e-course designed to explore the obstacles and causes behind why dealers and agencies are not able to produce a verifiable ROI with social media, and what it will take to do so (namely DMS and CRM integration with Facebook). The e-course is absolutely free and at the end of the course you will receive a free e-book that contains all the curriculum in the course, and more. It was designed for dealers, automotive marketing firms, and ad agencies alike. Please enjoy![/highlight]
DealerRefresh Welcomes Sponsor – HELIOS
DealerRefresh is happy to welcome HELIOS to the sponsor community. With this partnership we will continue to explore a multitude of topics, ideas, and best practices related to how HELIOS impacts dealers, not only about social media, but also profitability and return on investment in both fixed and variable ops, paid media, buying funnels, and more.
To learn more about HELIOS and how it works and see if it might be right for your dealership, click on the image below for an overview of features and benefits and show our sponsor a little love.