Dealing with the growing set of social media outlets can be daunting for auto dealers. However, ignoring these trends could mean passing up a great marketing opportunity. To put this latest trend into perspective, consider where you and your business were twenty years ago when the internet was relatively new. Not many dealerships had a website to promote their business. Over time, dealerships realized the potential of having a website. Today, most dealerships have at least a basic presence on the web. Marketing tools are evolving with the times, and the ways dealerships promote themselves must evolve accordingly.
While Facebook may have started as a social site, it has become a marketing tool that dealerships should not ignore. There is a lot to be gained from this latest marketing phenomenon, and nothing to be lost.
Here are 8 good reasons why your dealership should be on Facebook:
- You'll get to know potential customers. Remember, Facebook is first and foremost a social site. Regardless of how many cars you have on the lot, sometimes it’s who you know that closes the sale. Welcoming potential customers to your Facebook page develops friendships and creates opportunities for getting to know one another.
- You can invite satisfied customers to become your "fans." Nothing boosts a dealership’s reputation like a customer endorsement or referral. Customers like to share their experiences. Happy customers share happy experiences. Invite your customers to become "fans" on your Facebook page. Collect great testimonials by asking your satisfied customers to upload pictures of their purchased vehicles, along with a nice comment. These testimonials are probably worth ten times more than any ad you create or buy.
- You'll reach new target audiences. Millions of people already belong to Facebook, with hundreds, even thousands more joining every day. Did you know that the largest and fastest growing demographic segment on Facebook is women and many earn annual salaries exceeding $60,000? And don’t forget that fifty percent of car buying decisions are made by women! Can you afford to ignore these opportunities?
- You can connect with other dealers. In addition to making connections with prospective customers and new “fans” on Facebook, you can meet other dealers and vendors. As peers and business associates, other dealers can provide invaluable tips, contacts, and insights into your business. Facebook provides the ultimate networking opportunity with people around the globe.
- You'll enjoy more exposure at no extra cost. It’s been said that if Facebook achieves national status, it would be the 3rd largest nation in the world with its ever-growing user base. Facebook offers dealerships more opportunities to connect with potential customers than your business would ever attain through more traditional advertising methods (i.e. newspapers, magazines, billboards, television commercials). Andhaving a presence on Facebook doesn’t cost you a dime.
- You'll stay ahead of the competition. If not already, then sooner or later, your competition will be on Facebook. Today, lagging behind the social technology bandwagon can be fatal to your business. Create a first-mover advantage and join the growing community of Facebook. Now is the time to distinguish your dealership from dealers who are still thinking about joining Facebook. The earlier you start, the farther ahead you’ll be when more of your competitors decide to join.
- You can enjoy search engine optimization (SEO). Search engines like Google rank websites by the quality of links attached to that site. All dealers want to see their websites show up on the first page of a Google search. One of most important criteria Google uses in ranking websites is the quality of incoming links to a website. Because Facebook has millions of users, it is a highly ranked site. Creating a page on Facebook and linking that page to your dealership website provides an instant boost to your optimizing efforts. Google also indexes your Facebook page, giving your dealership yet another avenue for showing up in Google’s results.
- You'll reduce the chance of your promotions being ignored or "spammed." When you post a special event, sale, or promotion on your Facebook page, your message gets delivered…without fail. There is no threat of your promotion being flagged as “spam” mail or getting caught in email filters. Advertising cannot get better than this. Author's Caveat: There is a learning curve attached to becoming a member of Facebook community, just as there is a learning associated with any new tool or joining any new community. But, the earlier you start, the farther ahead you’ll be when more of your competitors decide to join.
About the Author: Syed Azam is the president of AutoJini.com, a leading provider of website solutions for auto dealers. He can be reached at syed@AutoJini.com or 515-770-6395.
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