The time has come to get real about Facebook. Gone are the days when it was “free” (except for all the time you put into it). Today, the investment required to build a thriving Facebook page full of active, engaged members can be costly. Dealers should determine whether building a Facebook page makes sense for their store and re-evaluate their decision on a quarterly basis.
Building a Facebook page is an investment.
If you’ve spent any time in the Facebook marketing ecosystem, you know there is a time investment. Building relationships through trust takes time and if Facebook is your chosen platform, then be prepared to make an investment.
A Facebook page should be considered a valuable company asset and as such, there are other investments required to retain its value:
- Strategy and Planning
- Financial Resources
- Human Resources
Assessing the results of your Facebook investment is crucial.
Once you spend time in the Facebook ecosystem and make any promotion efforts, you will realize that you can easily spin your wheels, invest time and resources, and end up with very little to show for your efforts.
Always begin with a plan. Set goals and establish your strategy to achieve your goals.
Ongoing measurement and analysis of specific KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and metrics will determine if you’re meeting the goals you’ve outlined.
Should I make the investment in building a Facebook page or not?
I hear from many dealers who are truly in a quandary about making the investment in Facebook…and with good reason. It’s difficult to decide if something is right or wrong for your business when you don’t have all the information. It’s even worse when you don’t know what questions to ask.
I’ve outlined the Pros and Cons of building a Facebook page so you can determine the best route to take for your store.
Pros of Building a Facebook Page
- You can reach nearly every type of buyer. The average U.S. consumer spends 40 minutes per day on Facebook. It’s embedded in our culture and part of our everyday lives. Marketing efforts should be focused on reaching the widest audience that’s interested in what you sell (vehicle and service). Facebook is where your customers spend their time.
- Engage customers long before they’re buyers. With a solid content strategy to reach buyers at every stage of the buying cycle, including post-purchase, Facebook can’t be beat for engaging people.
- Communicate who you are and why people buy from you. Today’s consumers want to know your story. By leveraging the right content mix, your Facebook presence allows would-be buyers to learn more about you.
- Opportunity for transparency and authenticity. Consumers have had enough of fakes and phonies. The realer you are, the closer people will come to you. It makes them more comfortable about their decision when they feel a connection.
- Generate leads and sales. Facebook ads drive customers to purchase and there’s no reason you shouldn’t capture some of that magic. While Facebook ads take serious skills to master, it’s worth your time to consider the opportunities.
Cons of Building a Facebook Page
- It’s a major investment. Building a Facebook page takes commitment. It’s not only time consuming but it requires:
- A financial investment (especially Facebook ads budget and management fees)
- Human resource investment (someone to manage and interact with the community you’re growing).
- Personnel/HR (to manage employee use of social media).
- Constant change. If you’re not comfortable with constant change, building a Facebook page will be one of the most infuriating experiences you’ll ever have. They roll out updates without any notice. They make changes to things that don’t necessarily need changing. There are bugs that cause unexplained issues.
- It doesn’t work without a content strategy. The old adage “If you fail to plan then plan to fail,” couldn’t be more relevant than when it comes to Facebook marketing. Useful customer information is one of your store’s biggest assets and delivering quality content to buyers via Facebook takes a solid content strategy.
- It’s Pay to Play now. Facebook has changed dramatically, even from just a few months ago. Perhaps the biggest change is that posting great content is only half the job now. Paying to promote your content effectively is the other half.
- Growing your likes was a huge investment that didn’t pay off. Many people judge the success of a dealership by their number of Facebook likes. For years, people have spent millions of dollars on growing their likes, but now that Facebook has shifted their focus to advertising, the amount of likes on a page isn’t as valuable.
Some will view Facebook’s shift as less-than-forthright (as I do) but remember, it’s Facebook’s movie and we’re just in it. If you invested in growing your likes over the past few years, treat your investment accordingly. Leverage the community you’ve grown and work on increasing its engagement.
Building a Facebook page is not for every dealership. I hope these tips will help you decide what’s best for your store and, as always, I’m here if you need advice.
Author: Kathi Kruse
Kathi Kruse is an Automotive Social Media Marketing Expert, Blogger, Speaker, Coach, Author and Founder of Kruse Control Inc. Born in the heart of Los Angeles to a family of “car people”, Kathi’s passion for the car business spans a 30-year career managing successful dealerships in Southern California. Kathi is the author of “Automotive Social Business – How to Captivate Your Customers, Sell More Cars & Be Generally Remarkable on Social Media”.