“Conversations among the members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or not. Good marketing encourages the right sort of conversations.” ~Seth Godin
Are you having trouble engaging your community on Facebook? Nearly everyday I’m asked about how to build fans and engage customers on Facebook. Engaging the Social car buyer is getting a lot of air play these days…and for good reason. More car buyers have migrated to the Social web and engagement with those buyers is a priority for dealerships. It’s not enough to simply put up a Facebook page and wait for your customer to find you. You must lay out a clear Social marketing plan for attracting your audience and building your community.
Buying a car is no longer a “transactional” relationship. Today’s buyer is looking for reasons to buy (or not buy) from you. Your advertising and marketing messages mean nothing when your customers have friends who are telling them otherwise. What you do trumps what you say every time.
Fundamentally, people want to know more about you before they decide to buy. They want to see what values you share with them and how they align with you. You do the same when we’re considering a purchase, right? We all reflect on our trusted network to see who can help us find the best deal, the best person to buy from.
Today’s Social business develops its community on Facebook to mirror its community in real life. Engaging with your customer, online or offline, has the most impact on sales. Here are 17 steps to attract and engage your community on Facebook:
1. Define your marketing goals. Drill down and dissect how you want your customers to think of you. Describe at least 6 components of your brand that make you unique.
2. Identify and describe your customer. What are they interested in? What problems can you solve? What fun things are happening in your local area that they want to know about? How can you help them buy from you?
3. Commit time, people and a budget. I see many dealers now hiring a dedicated “community manager” to handle Social and digital marketing. Content that drives stellar engagement does not grow on trees. It takes a lot time and talent. You’ll need a mentor to guide you. You’ll need a budget for training and for Facebook Ads.
4. Post quality content regularly. It can be content you write yourself or content from others that’s relevant to your audience. Posting times matter, too. Test what works for your store.
5. Make your updates more interactive. Ask thought-provoking questions to get people talking. Stick to subjects that are relevant to your audience and always reflect your store’s personality.
6. The Like, Comment and Share buttons are powerful tools. Include these on your website and blog to foster sharing and make it easier for your customer to engage with you and their network.
7. Make use of Landing Page Apps. Hire someone to guide you in the design and make sure your marketing language is front and center. Inviting people to connect with you does not happen on its own. You must ask.
8. Sharing is caring. Recognize and promote local heroes, members of the community and causes you support. If those causes or heroes have Facebook pages, Like their page and connect with their community members.
9. If you have a dealership blog (and you should) syndicate it on Facebook. It builds credibility and boosts your online influence. Blogs are the next frontier when it comes to SEO. When you hear talk about “Search & Social”, blogs are at the core of it.
10. Everyone likes free stuff. Infuse your content with coupons, discounts, and Service specials. BUT, don’t overdue it. It’s about community engagement not broadcasting.
11. Deal with negativity openly and clearly. This is your chance to show the community how you make things right for your customers.
12. Include Facebook links and tags in all of your traditional media. Make it easy for customers to find you.
13. Take advantage of the awesome power of Facebook Ads. There has never been a more specific way to laser-target those you want to reach. With the use of Ads Manager, your Facebook Ads are efficient and utilize your budget wisely.
14. ABM: Always be Measuring. Social Marketing is this: create, post, analyze and repeat. When you know what your audience likes, you can supply them with more of it. Analyze your results to improve your customer’s Facebook experience.
15. Know that Social (like all other marketing) is a work in progress. If you make a mistake (and you most certainly will), take responsibility. I’ve seen some pretty big Social Media Fails and the thing they all have in common is they’ve been handled poorly.
16. Encourage your offline customers to join your Facebook community. Post signs at all the conspicuous places and train your staff on how to promote your Facebook page. Recognize and reward them for contributing to your Social Media success.
17. Listen. Know how to spot a lead when it comes your way. Always respond to comments quickly. It’s a conversation and people expect a timely reply.
Your Turn: What tactic has gotten your business higher engagement on Facebook?