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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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JD Rucker

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Dealers, PLEASE Don't Build a Dealership Facebook Profile

I received a question through Facebook chat about whether or not it makes sense for a dealership to have a Facebook profile on top of having a page. The concept is that the profile would be a general "person" within the dealership who could make friends with customers and the like rather than hoping that they'll become a fan.

The perceived benefits to this is that you could add friends rather than waiting for them to add you. With a profile, you can seek people out. With a page, you can't actually follow or friend an individual.

The other perceived benefit is that you can then tag people in images and in status updates to have it appear in their newsfeed. You can only tag people that you're friends with and pages can only tag people in comments (which do not appear in the person's news feed) and only if they comment first.

Both of these are ill-motivated techniques. More importantly, it's against Facebook's terms of service. People get profiles and they have the ability to get pages as well. Businesses, websites, or any other non-persons can have pages only. That's the rule.

Worst of all, both of the perceived benefits for having a dealership profile rather than or in addition to a page are faulty. They require spamming. You do not want to get involved with spamming.

"But, if they add me as a friend then it's not spamming, right?"

Wrong. If they add you as a friend it's likely by mistake. They are not doing so hoping that you'll tag them in pictures or status updates. They might even give you permission to do so with the picture of them that you took after they bought the car, but even that has limitations in regards to their patience. The benefits do not outweigh the risks or challenges.

Build a page. If you're an aggressive, proactive, and business-oriented individual that really, really wants to be able to tag them, ask them to be YOUR friend. Don't take the chance of breaking the rules and making people upset by building a Facebook profile for your dealership.

Heather Brautman
I tend to agree with this. It's just funny how there are so many conflicting views. HubSpot, the massive Inbound Marketing juggernaut, recently did a live webinar where they profiled a customer in the auto industry who did this on their recommendation. They ranted and raved about how many "friends" she acquired and how great it was going for her company because once she had "personal" friends, she flip-flopped between accounts and could tag them in their pictures, with their new cars, etc. Then those friends "liked" and "shared" and suddenly, their FB page was booming. I only remember this because right after I watched the webinar, I did this, using my boss' "dummy" FB page. I mostly tagged our own executives in their photos (they sure like to see pictures of themselves). The weirdest thing of all though, is that now that we're "friends," I see all their personal information in our company news feed (since it's linked to the personal page). And that's icky!
Deidre Baker
We started out with a profile prior to the business page capability, now we maintain both. I do not use the profile to spam anyone, infact it's mostly everyone else that is spamming us! However I do use it to showcase our fanpage, when someone friend requests us I accept and then take the opportunity to tell them about our fanpage via message (not plastered on their wall.) People are typically very appreciative and 'like' us and sometimes they ask that we like their page back. It works well and I would not change our set-up. A point that needs to be emphasized is that we do not fish for friends, they all approach us and I think that is why it works.
Heather Brautman
But Deirdre, aren't you just falling into the same trap (mostly seen on Twitter - I didn't realize this was happening on FB too)... the "Like me and I'll like you back" thing is just so... greasy. Greasy handshake. Why like someone just to have them like you back? Does it make them any more of a prospect to you? Or are you just collecting? You could just go "buy" a bunch of likes for a few hundred dollars too, and they'll be worth about the same.
Deidre Baker
Sometimes they ask us to 'like' them back, if they have their own page. Sometimes they ignore my message and sometimes they 'like' our page. No harm, no foul and certainly not greasy. They don't have to 'like' our page to be friends with us and we certainly don't have to 'like' their page either. That being said I don't see anything wrong with supporting another local business or cause. Again, people approached us to be friends so I think it's different than buying 'likes', they are already somewhat an interested party. Moreover when I take a look at our demographics they match with our brand demos, and the majority of our followers are local! It's nice to see familiar names that just bought from you 'like' your page or friend you on FB. Our primary FB focus is about building a brand audience, whether it be prior to the sale or after. And afterall, isn't it really about engagement? I can show you plenty of pages with 'likes' and nobody paying attention to the content.

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