By Kathi Kruse,
Kruse Control Inc.
If there’s one constant about Facebook, it's change - a new feature or advertising element,
some trick to learn, or another way to be more visible. Unfortunately, many dealerships unknowingly make several Facebook mistakes without even knowing it, hindering their success.
Facebook is a valuable tool for business, and there are a lot
of pitfalls to watch out for. Here’s a list of the most common Facebook
mistakes you should avoid and what to do instead.
Facebook Essentials for Your Dealership - 7 Common Mistakes to Avoid & What to Do on Facebook
Mistake 1: Taking Off Without a "Runway"
Facebook success is in the details. So before you take to the
airwaves of social media, you need a plan.
It's like this: if you're taking a trip and you don't know
the way to your destination, you check the GPS app on your phone. You do this
because it saves time, expense, and a lot of needless suffering.
Social media strategy works the same way.
Begin with the end goal(s) in mind. The top dealership goals are merchandising your vehicles, gaining more website visits, engaging customers, and generating leads.
Once you've determined your goals, you'll need a social
media strategy "runway" to reach them.
Mistake 2: Making It All About You
Facebook is successful when you've provided entertaining,
helpful, and shareable content. Think about the Facebook pages you follow and why you
follow them. It's not so you can see sales promotions.
Fans and customers are no different than you!
People stay engaged when the posts they see are meaningful
Before you post, ask yourself this simple question: “Is this
something our customers would like to see?”
Pro Tip: Avoid violating Facebook's Terms of Service. I
can't tell you how many pages I see broadcasting sales messages
through the newsfeed. Save those messages for Facebook ads, and you'll avoid the
pain of having your fans click to the nearest exit.
Mistake 3: Failing to Engage Regularly
One of the best ways to build a lively, loyal community on
Facebook is by regularly engaging with your fans.
Facebook is not a one-way communication tool. Create a solid
engagement strategy that includes designating someone (or a team) to engage
with the people who comment on your posts.
Engage could mean something as simple as liking every
comment on each post.
Engaging your audience means responding to all page messages and
reviews— both positive and negative. Every negative comment is an opportunity to
turn a critic into a fan.
Even still today, I see many Facebook pages where
the page admins ignore their comments.
Abandoning your customers on Facebook tells them either you aren't paying attention or don't care.
Mistake 4: No Serious Investment
If you've spent any time in the Facebook ecosystem, you know that success requires an investment. Building trust takes time; if Facebook is your chosen platform, you should prepare to expend some resources.
A Facebook page should be considered a valuable company
asset, and as such, there are investments required to retain its value:
Sometimes a dealership will need to restructure its operations to accommodate social media and spend resources more effectively.
If your team doesn't have the expertise, there may be a need
to invest in training.
Pro Tip 1: It's unhealthy to think Facebook is
"free." That thinking will only allow your competitors to take all
Pro Tip 2: If you're not ready to make an investment in
social media, don't. It differs from the old days when you paid for exposure and people flocked to your store. Hard work only pays off if you're willing to go for it.
Mistake 5: Not Completing Your "About" Section
Your Facebook “About” section projects the image of your
business. Successful Facebook marketing includes making good use of the
"free real estate" that's available. Note this is an essential step when setting up and optimizing your page.
You want to ensure your “About” is complete and sends
the right message to anyone visiting your page.
Mistake 6: Not Using Facebook Ads
Facebook advertising is a strategic complement to your
current advertising budget. Facebook ads let you grow your business without
adding a hefty expense. There are specific strategies for every kind of budget.
Part of your investment in Facebook is for Facebook ads.
Simply put, you will only succeed if you run paid ads. Why?
Ten years ago, social media was a fertile field of
wildflowers, full of kittens and unicorns. The marketing landscape was wide
open for dealerships to capture attention and engage
Today, social media is a dense, crowded, noisy, smoggy urban
Simple tactics alone are no longer effective. Instead, you must pay
to promote your content and products on Facebook using Facebook ads.
The good news is that Facebook ads work! Not leveraging this powerful tool is a mistake.
Mistake 7: Failing to Track, Measure, and Analyze Your Results
Too often, companies jump onto Facebook without a plan or a
clear idea of what success means for them. Look for success markers on
your Facebook journey.
Just like the maps app on your phone shows the best route to
take toward your destination, Facebook KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) guide
you to what success looks like for your Facebook marketing. KPIs provide a solid foundation from which to measure results.
Develop a process (including the tools you'll need) to
track, measure, and analyze. Facebook allows you to figure out what's working
and what's not in real time. Part of this process should include a
designated social media manager with the skills to track, analyze and report
Facebook Mistakes Don't Have to Happen
First, educate yourself on what’s available to dealers.
There are many powerful ways to merchandize your vehicles, and it takes time to see your way to the right one.
Finally, commit to social media, not because you
think it’s what you “need to do” but because you feel confident it will improve
sales. Facebook is powerful - but only if you're all in. This power only
works to your advantage when you're firing on all cylinders.
Kathi Kruse is an automotive digital retail advisor, dealership profitability expert, author, speaker, and founder/CEO of Kruse Control Inc. Born in the heart of Los Angeles to a family of “car people,” Kathi’s passion for business spans a 25-year automotive retail career, managing $100 million+ stores in Southern California.