When I meet with dealers and marketers in charge of developing a dealership’s marketing strategy, I ask, “What is your Facebook strategy?” Every single time, I am told how they post status updates or photos on Facebook. This is great; however, Facebook offers so much more. Used properly, it can be an excellent complement to “marketing” tools and should be part of every dealer’s social media marketing strategy.

Facebook ads don’t work … Really?
I think the fable that Facebook advertising does not work started when General Motors pulled their ads from the social network. So, here are the facts if you are a marketer: you have a tool that reaches 69 percent of the total United States population; it is the second-most-visited website; and people spend more time on this platform than they spend with radio, television, newspaper and magazines combined. Our results have been exemplary in terms of driving traffic from our clients’ Facebook pages to websites, landing pages and videos. It does take some thought, work and testing to make Facebook marketing pay off, but all digital social advertising and marketing takes testing. You have to test constantly, because just when you think you have it, customer behavior changes.

The facts don’t lie
Facebook advertising is one of the lowest priced and most targeted advertising platforms available today. Before I begin to explain how to capitalize on Facebook advertising, I want you to put Facebook in the correct perspective.

•    Facebook has more than 960 million users worldwide.
•    Facebook is used by 69 percent of Americans.
•    The largest age group on Facebook is 25-34, followed by 18-24.
•    The fastest-growing age group on Facebook is 35-54.
•    The average advertising cost on Facebook is 10 cents per impression or 91 cents per click.
•    Facebook is growing 8 percent every 30 days in the United States.

Facebook offers a unique opportunity since it is a social platform and not a shopping portal. Individuals are spending time on Facebook communicating with friends and family and making new friends. Facebook represents real, everyday life; it’s just online. Look at it from this perspective: if you were invited to tag along with a new group of friends for a night on the town—which included dinner and a movie—what could you learn about these individuals? A lot! You would learn their marital status, age, number of children, musical interests, hobbies, movie interests and food interests, as well as information about their education, employment, family life and other friends. All of this information and more is available on Facebook when you are building your advertising campaign. It is all there for you to leverage to create one of the best advertising strategies you have ever been part of, and it puts an entirely new meaning to my favorite phrase describing mass media: spray and pray.

Repeat after me, “People love to purchase but don't like to be sold”
Think about it. If a couple are newlyweds, there are a few things they will most likely purchase?a new car and a new home come to mind. You can address such a couple through Facebook. You can even target expectant mothers or mothers with children of various ages. When expecting a new child, the sports car or the little compact car has to go?it’s time to start shopping for a vehicle that is safer and has room for the child seat. I would call this an opportunity to make a sale. I am not telling you to advertise cars on Facebook; you have to be much wiser than that. Don’t ever forget, people are on Facebook to be social, not to shop. They are very willing to learn, if they are being taught without the sales pitch.

Consider what a person is really looking for. What is the problem they have, and how do you provide a solution—an answer to the question they have? The various interest groups available on Facebook allow for so many opportunities to increase your sales, if you think strategy and behavior. It’s so simple and exciting to think about all the ways you can drive leads with Facebook interest categories. You can even target an individual who has just moved to a new area. People who have moved to the Northeast will need a vehicle with all-wheel drive, or at a minimum, they will need a snow tire and wheel package. You can target an individual based on their place of employment or chosen profession. For example, what does a real estate broker need? A nice, four-door car that will transport a new couple to see a house! You can target people who like Ford, Nissan or Toyota. There are so many opportunities there for the taking if you just invest some work and thought.

Stop selling and start communicating solutions
I repeat, don’t fall into the trap of saying, “Buy this car.” It will not cut through the clutter. You must solve someone’s problem with a direct answer to the question. You must become a problem solver by presenting the facts so people can gather the information and then contact you to fix the problem. This is where true marketers must become experts in psychology, sociology, behavior, and to some extent, mind-reading.

The next step
Keep reading Auto Dealer Monthly as in future issues I will share a step-by-step process for building Facebook campaigns to reach users for both your sales and service departments. I will also be sharing some campaigns we have used successfully. The opportunities are endless. Keep in mind, with Google pay-per-click you build the relationship after the sale, and with Facebook you build the relationship before the sale.