One of the promises of social media in the early days was that it would help dealers generate new customers by exposing their brands and vehicles to people who otherwise might never see them. It was a great reinforcement tool; much in the same way that television ads work through passive acceptance and absorption of messages, so too does social media allow for exposure while people are in their “happy place”.
The biggest roadblock to seeing this promise become real is that the options available to dealers to allow them to market properly are so abundant that it can become extremely confusing. For some networks such as Twitter and Tumblr, it can be non-targeted and cost-prohibitive. Facebook is the social media master of targeting and cost savings in social media ads, but are dealers really using all of the tools available to them?
More importantly, are they using the right tools?
One of the tools that is used so rarely is the custom audience feature for ads. The standard thought process is that dealers want to reach new people. Doing so through Facebook means exposing ads to anyone who is in the area regardless of whether they are past customers or not. In many cases, dealers prefer that their past customers didn’t see their ads. They’re already customers so why waste the budget when there are plenty of non-customers to attract?
This is a mistake in the automotive industry. The first place they should go with their Facebook ads is their current and previous customers. There’s (hopefully) a built in trust factor associated with current and past customers. For car dealers, there is an opportunity for them to get their happy customers liking their page and interacting with their posts. They are more likely to like a product or service on Facebook that they’re familiar with. The exposure from engaging with these people is potentially very high.
It isn’t what you’re saying about your business that’s important on Facebook. It’s what others are saying about you. Promoting this is easy when you apply some (maybe even all) of your Facebook advertising budget to “friendlies” out there. Let them do the spreading of your message for you.