Everybody loves to hate Facebook.
You may or may not have caught some of the talk surrounding GM’s Facebook Ads decampment. GM does not understand Facebook marketing. There, I said it. To that point, this post from AdAge’s B.L. Ochman on 11 boring things GM posted on Facebook says it all. GM’s Facebook marketing is a shining example of a company that wants to broadcast instead of listen, ignore instead of engage. Frankly, I’m glad they pulled their Facebook Ads budget. It was a waste of money.
I’m a Facebook lover…especially for marketing and generating leads for business. Automotive News ran an article this week saying (for 100th time) that Facebook is ineffective at selling cars. Really? They don’t have all the facts. They even quoted a guy from Honda who got his Facebook user stats wrong by 400+ million! Nice.
To those that read the article: please consider another opinion before you pass judgment. There’s a lot of negative noise out there about Facebook Ads. Most of it’s coming from those that are doing it wrong. Calling out Facebook as the culprit in your failed advertising is like blaming the golf course for your lousy game.
Meanwhile, back in reality…Michael Scissons of AdAge writes that automotive will be a big Facebook Ad spending category if marketers can get it right. The opportunity for Facebook Ads success is huge at the dealer level. Why? Successful dealership Social marketing is local because sales are local. How the dealers and their salespeople promote themselves and interact with their local community will become a competitive advantage to the companies who get it right. Private dealers and large auto groups alike should be spending money on locally-targeted Facebook advertising to drive local relationships, events and test drives.
Right now, the focus is upside down. Dealers are making Facebook too complicated in one area and too simplistic in another.
They’re complicating things by bringing expectations based on the antiquated view of “Mad Men” era advertising. Confusion sets in when the results they were looking for never materialize. Give up trying to “get the word out”. You can’t interrupt everyone just so you can talk about your stuff. You used to be able to grab attention and turn it into money. But now, attention is scarce. People are interrupted by more interruptions. We must earn attention and trust and turn that into money.
Dealers must cease this simplistic idea that anyone can “do” Facebook. Successful advertising has ALWAYS required skill, experience and talent. Facebook Ads call for that and much, much more. Most businesses don’t set goals for Social Media or Facebook Ads. A typical goal is “we just want people to buy our stuff”. Hire a skilled expert to train your marketing manager. Grow your own “in-house Social marketer” to write great content to engage people and increase your sales by designing, managing and monitoring Facebook Ads.
Display ads are over, folks. They have morphed into something more relevant called Social Engagement Ads. In the Automotive News article, Ford had it right, “Our Facebook ads are effective when strategically combined with engaging content and innovation.” Owned and earned media now have the fire power of paid advertising. This is confusing for many who think in terms of display advertising. Display used to be the dominant way to make sales because it stole attention. Now, it’s a delicate balance between paid, owned and earned media. It’s the savvy marketer who can unite all three and win.
Facebook and other Social Media platforms came along and replaced this idea of stealing attention. Instead, Facebook gives you a platform with which to earn your customers’ attention. You earn attention, build trust and turn it into profit. It’s not easy but it does work when you do it right.
For dealers, successful Facebook Ads will help you meet your sales goals. You laser-target to those that will most likely buy from you. But coming to the table with the mindset of display ads and trying to apply it to socially-engaging Facebook Ads is useless. Embrace Social Engagement Ads and put them to work for your business. “Get the word out” will take on a whole new meaning: The good word spreads from person to person and that’s how sales happen.