Last week, we released a new feature that lets you market all of your vehicle inventory in real-time directly on your Facebook fan page. We do this on a custom tab that includes advanced vehicle filtering WITHOUT cluttering your news feed. Why is this so important? Well, think for a minute about your dealership’s social media strategy. (If you don’t have a social media strategy, you should.)
Social sites like Facebook and Twitter are extremely powerful marketing tools. You already know that more people visit your website each month than walk through your showroom door. Imagine if some of those people told their friends to visit. And if some of those friends told their friends. That’s what the social internet is all about, and the trust that comes from a personal recommendation can’t be bought at any price.
I think the best way to start socializing your dealership is to think about how you personally use services like Facebook and Twitter. Would you ever “friend” a law firm? Probably not. The rest of the world is just as hesitant to “friend” a car dealer.
Fortunately, Facebook offers a less invasive way for people to connect with businesses called Fan Pages. Becoming a fan is far less of a commitment than becoming a friend, but it has many of the same benefits. Your dealership’s status updates, links, and photo uploads are all shown in your fans’ news feeds. Also, my favorite feature: when someone becomes a fan, all of their friends see it: “Dave has become a fan of eCarList.” (By the way, you should become an eCarList fan!)
Of course, having fans brings new responsibility. You don’t want lose them! Most importantly, you don’t want to OVER communicate with them, particularly in places like the news feed that invade their personal Facebook experience. Don’t try to post an update every day. Definitely don’t try to announce every car you have in stock on the news feed.
Instead, try to provide something unique, interesting, and relevant to your followers. For example, Toyota of Lewisville provided updates via Twitter during Toyota’s recent recalls. They built an audience of over 2,000 followers by simply offering a new service special every few weeks that customers could only get by mentioning Twitter.
Once you have people becoming fans and have their friends checking you out too, our recently added Facebook integration becomes extremely valuable. Casual visitors will have a real-time connection to your actual inventory in a Facebook-friendly format. Users can browse your inventory right on Facebook; when they click for details, they are taken to the vehicle’s detail page on your website.
Check out an example: http://www.facebook.com/straightlineauto
Now your Facebook fan page is perfectly in sync with your eCarList backend — the same place you already manage your website, eBay, Cars.com, and AutoTrader listings. Plus, we are in the process of developing even more for Facebook. In the coming days, look for our specials system to publish vehicle specific specials to your fan page and more. If you don’t already have a Facebook fan page, we can even set that up for you.