There’s an app for that!

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Since there really isn’t a social media mobile application designed just for the automotive industry, Facebook is probably the top dog when it comes to social media apps in the auto industry. It’s the gateway social media tool, if you will, the starting point for us marketers just beginning their social media endeavor.

Facebook allows us as marketers to upload photos, videos and coupons, as well as link to other websites. It is the most open-ended social media tool, which is probably why it’s successful in driving products and services to customers. We can, for example, upload a coupon for a $19.95 state inspection special or 25% off their next oil change in order to drive automotive services to our customers. We’re able to upload photos and walk-around videos of new cars, plus, we can link to reviews, new car spy photos, manufacturers’ websites and more. We  can also maintain a dialogue with our customers and often ask questions that have absolutely nothing to do with business. One of my most favorite things about Facebook is that I can use it to connect my customers with each other and humanize myself, my dealership and my business. As often as possible, we try to snap photos of our customers and their families with their new vehicles. We take pictures of our clients’ dogs when they bring them in the showroom. We take photos of each other when we’re outside brushing snow off cars in the winter and tossing snowballs. We take photos of our team at the Making Strides walk, of construction on our new Volkswagen showroom, of townspeople at the grand opening of our Nissan showroom, of co-workers while we’re donating blood or eating lunch in the new cafe. We publicly congratulate our customers when they buy a new vehicle. We post all this on Facebook and we hope that people understand that we’re not scummy used car salesmen. We’re people too. And more than sales promos, coupons, mailers and cold calls, I think this is what makes Facebook most effective in driving business to our dealership.

Unfortunately, there’s no solid way to track our Facebook successes and failures. We can sort of tell what works and what doesn’t by the number of likes and comments on each post. We can check our Facebook analytics and occasionally our customers contact us through Facebook messages to schedule sales and service appointments.

I’m sure there’s an application or a service available to us to track the effectiveness of our Facebook site, but we have yet to reach that point in our social media campaign.

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6 responses »

  1. Another great post, Samantha. This sounds like a fun and engaging way to reach out to your customers. I am curious about a couple of things. How do you promote the Facebook page to your customers? (According to this expert, marketers need to promote FB pages just like when websites first rolled out. Erickson, 2012) Also, do you announce new car models and other products on your FB page when they arrive? Jennifer

    Erickson, Christine (March 5, 2012). What you need to know before running a Facebook promotion, Mashable Business, retrieved from http://mashable.com/2012/03/05/facebook-promotion-guide/.

    • Jennifer,

      Thanks for asking! We have three outdoor electronic message boards (kind of like megatron screens) that loop pre-programmed “signs,” one of which promotes our Facebook page. Our sales associates also have Facebook pages that they dedicate to business, and many of them link to our company Facebook page as well. We tend not to promote our inventory on Facebook, but we do use it to annouce new models. For example, when the 2013 Ford Escape landed, we posted about the advanced technology used to create the hands-free liftgate. We’ve also linked to articles about the re-designed Dodge Dart.

  2. Great post – appreciate the fact that it’s something you are using, not simply referencing. Since at the end of the day, selling a car is a one-on-one activity that builds on a relationship, the way you are using Facebook is a great reinforcement for your personal contact. Good luck and good selling!

  3. Great post. It reminds me of a car dealership that I am “friends” with on Facebook from my hometown, they are always having giveaways, contests and other ways to interact with customers (or potential customers). A few months ago they gave away an Apple iPad, there were literally hundreds of comments and “likes” on their page during the couple of weeks leading up to the actual giveaway. It was a great way to generate hits but I too wondered if there were any sales made because of the hype. The only way to really know would be to ask customers that come in if they found your dealship through Facebook or were prompted to come in and buy because of your Facebook presence. That is a tough one, I guess someone needs to invent an app that will allow companies to actually track the “legit” interest in the site as opposed to just being interested when there is a contest or giveaway going on.

  4. Samantha, I think your blog is fantastic and informative. I am both the fan of coupon and Facebook. A very social media-, oriented and shopping-savvy combination 🙂 At least I try to be. Track the consumers’ purchase can not only judge the shopping pattern they follow, but created a leading position to sell more in special occasions and holidays. Also, the data of where, when and who applied the coupon can help marketers to draw a clear trend chart. That will be very valuable for the marketing strategist and social media evangelists to cooperating great campaign.

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