Let’s talk about the unique challenges today for dealers when it comes to social media. Many still believe social media marketing is “free.” I don’t have to remind you that nothing in life or business is ever free. Social media marketing takes time and money just like the other forms of marketing and advertising do, but with the added layer of a new skill set and the manpower to master it.
Facebook is one of the main spokes in your social marketing hub. You need these two basic components in place to build your hub:
- An in-house community manager. Nobody communicates your brand on Facebook like your own staff. Those dealers that have made the investment in a dedicated social marketing manager are seeing much higher engagement and closing more sales.
- A budget for Facebook ads. Complete your strategy with Facebook ads. Your community manager stimulates engagement by curating valuable, relevant content. Facebook ads amplify your reach and increase your sales.
Done right, Facebook ads can be very effective. You laser-target those you want to reach most and for much less money.
The following 10 steps will help you understand how it all works and if you need any further assistance, hire a social strategy expert to guide you.
Identify your goals. Do you want to grow your fan base? Are you promoting an event? Are you ready to make Facebook ads a significant source of leads for your business? Define your goals first. You must have clear goals so you can measure your ad’s effectiveness later!
Facebook is local. Facebook is the place where you can build an online community that mirrors your offline community. Facebook ads target your local area in ways like never before. You reach those people who will most likely buy from you.
Facebook ad or sponsored story? Sponsored Stories spotlight your Pages’ activities on Facebook. If you have a post with particularly high engagement, spotlight it with an ad. These types of ads reflect Social proof to other users – evidence that people are engaging with your Page. Facebook Ads are more traditional. You create a message you want to share and choose who you want to reach. It’s best to start with Facebook ads so you can get the hang of it.
Landing pages. A staple of Internet marketing, landing pages drive visitors to do what you want them to do. When used with Facebook ads, you design your ad so that people will click and be taken to your landing page. Once on that landing page, you have an opportunity to create more value and carry visitors further down the sales funnel.
Target the right people. Let’s say that the buyer demographic for one of your vehicles is women aged 35-54. What are the interests of this group? Perhaps topics relating to family, work/life balance, shoes? Facebook ads allow you to choose specific audience interests and target those people who are most likely to buy.
Design an engaging ad. You’ll need a catchy headline, marketing language for the body of the ad and a compelling photo or graphic. I’ve talked about the misconception that, since Facebook provides free real estate to build your community, everything else is free and easy. No dice. Facebook ads take skill, training and money to develop and design. Facebook is a new medium but the age-old components of successful marketing and advertising are still very much alive and kicking. If you don’t have it, get help.
Connections. It’s important to note that Facebook ads are social. Ads can be customized to reach people who are already connected with you or not at all connected with you. You choose if you want to reach friends of your fans or not. Identify what kind of connection users have to your page so you can reach your optimal audience.
Location. This is where you can laser target your surrounding community. Choose a city, include surrounding cities, or target specific zip codes.
Objective. You have a choice now to reach people you want to “like my page” or “click on my ad or sponsored story.” Page like ads are a great way to build audience size. Page post ads will drive deeper engagement. Your choice governs whether you’ll pay per 1,000 impressions (CPM) or per click (CPC). CPM, according to Facebook, is the cost per 1000 times your ad or sponsored story is displayed. In the past, impressions were not always effective. Now, with Timeline stats showing higher page engagement, I’m seeing good results with CPM.
Manage your budget. Set a maximum amount you want to pay each day and start off slow – $5-10 is plenty. A daily limit guarantees you’ll never spend more than you want to. If you’re paying per click (CPC), be sure to review the “bid price” regularly as it changes often (Yes, you’re actually bidding along with others, similar to Google pay-per-click). Facebook ads are the most time-consuming ads you’ll ever run so set time aside everyday. You must review and improve at least twice daily to make sure your budget is spent wisely.