Over 40% of Americans visit Facebook everyday.
While I don’t need to convey the value of Facebook to you, I do need to disclose that Facebook marketing success can be very elusive, especially for beginners.
The Facebook platform has become a major contender in reaching your customers and prospects. Do things right and you’ll enjoy a steady stream of leads and sales. Do it wrong and you’re just another vacant storefront.
A few weeks ago I wrote about 10 things to stop doing on Facebook that can harm your brand. I was asked by a few readers to cover the other side of the coin – the Facebook marketing tactics that build your reach and increase engagement, leads and sales. Here are 10 tips to take action on right now!
1. Work from your foundation: design a solid content strategy.
If you don’t start with a well-defined content plan, your efforts will be ineffective and you won’t see the results you expect. Perhaps this is happening to you right now? Ask yourself, “Why do people buy from us?” People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
- Define who you are as a local brand. If you get stuck, read your online reviews and see why people are buying from you.
- Describe your customers in detail. What are their interests, what problems can you solve, how can you attract their attention in a world where they’re bombarded by marketing messages interrupting their day.
2. Procure a sharp Social Media Manager.
Every week I’m contacted by someone who works at a dealership saying, “My boss put me in charge of Facebook. What do I do now?” As a dealer or GM, be deliberate in your decision about who will represent you online and manage your automotive Social Media. Your candidate will handle all your digital marketing including Social Media, blogging, SEO and online advertising. If they’ve never been a marketer before (or never worked in automotive retail), hire a Social Media coach to guide them to success.
3. Implement an effective promotion strategy.
PT Barnum once said, “Nothing happens without promotion.” Facebook ads, promoted posts, sponsored stories, and the Power Editor are all there to help you continually increase your fan base and promote your products and services. Hire short-term help to navigate this ever-changing platform. Set your budget and laser-target your ads to those most likely to buy from you.
4. Engage employees in content.
What we’re talking about here folks is a culture of content creation. Your employees are trusted resources for information and when you share posts that show your employees in action, your engagement spikes. People love to see people like them sharing stories about what it’s like to do business with you. Start with your passionate volunteers. Build some quick wins. “Market your marketing” internally as well as externally.
5. Respond to comments like a savvy salesperson.
There are two types of leads on Facebook – organic and direct. Organic leads happen in the comments section of your updates. If you share an oil change special and someone asks “How long is this good for?”, respond as if the customer was standing in front of you. Answer his/her question and then pose another question such as “What kind of vehicle do you have?” or “May I set up an appointment for you?” Keep them engaged and use your sales savvy to guide them to the sale.
6. Post meaningful images with shareable anecdotes.
As part of your overall content strategy, visual content engages and fosters sharing. Remember, in people’s news feeds, you’re up against their family, friends, favorite sports and news events so your content better be compelling. I’ve had amazing results with visual content that speaks directly to the brand’s personality. One dealer had an image go viral (shared over 300 times, reaching 6,500 users) without any money spent to boost it, proving that if you give people what they want, they respond very favorably (and it costs a lot less!).
Ask fans to share images of themselves using your product or service. Create a #hashtag so people can integrate with other platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Woobox is great for running photo contests on Facebook. I know a page who’s getting huge engagement by asking people to share their first day back to school.
7. Deal with negativity openly, clearly and immediately.
The longer you’re on Facebook, the more you’ll notice how some people just want to be mad at the world. Heck, today I had a client who had someone post on their page about another dealership’s poor customer service. Be as open and authentic as you can with your responses. Please don’t post some “canned” corporate-sounding response…unless you want to make the situation worse.
8. Constantly revisit and revise your goals and objectives.
Facebook marketing, like all other marketing, lives and dies by results. If you’re not setting goals, start now. Without objectives, your results are just results. When you can tie your results back to your objectives, you’ve established Social Media ROI. If you’ve set goals and reached them recently, rethink how you can approach a new goal for even higher engagement to drive leads and sales.
9. Use your real estate wisely.
You now have nearly unlimited options when it comes to your Timeline Cover. Have you determined what your brand’s true message is? If so, use this space to your advantage. There is no longer a limit on text so go for it! Include a call-to-action (example: “Like us and get access to exclusive deals and discounts!”) with an arrow to the Like button.
10. Carry out a winning conversion strategy.
Develop a plan for how you’ll turn your fans into customers. This is not an easy feat and many are failing at it as we speak. In fact, most don’t really know that you can generate leads and sales on Facebook. The skills required are not common. In dealership marketing, this endeavor has never really been part of daily operations. There are specific conversion tactics to take and because each business is different, the tactics will be too. Seek advice from an expert on what your next steps look like. When you know where the rocks are, it’s easy to walk on water.