Social media is big, and is only getting bigger. It’s easy to get lost in all of the talk of likes, shares, tweets, snaps, engagements, impressions, views…see what I mean?
Each social media platform is unique– the type of content that works best on Facebook might not be effective on Twitter. Your audience on Facebook is going to look very different than it does on Snapchat. Each platform has its own strengths, so make sure you are leveraging the tools for success.
For the vast majority of people, the first thing we think of when we hear the words “social media” is Facebook. Maybe that’s Mark Zuckerberg playing mind games on us, but it more likely has to do with the fact that there are over 2 billion people on Facebook. That’s over 25% of the entire population of the world. If you zoom in on the auto industry, 84% of all car shoppers are on Facebook. It’s practically a watering hole for potential car buyers.
Facebook Marketplace Automotive: How to Sell Cars?
Dealerships know that they need to be on Facebook– telling a dealer to open an official page on Facebook is like telling them to maintain a website. That being the case, your dealership should identify ways to stand out on Facebook, and make the most of this powerful platform.
We’ve gathered some of the most helpful Facebook-specific tools and tips to up your dealership’s game. (Not to worry, we’ll cover other platforms in later posts.) There is so much that a dealership can get out of Facebook, that we had to split our list in two. Keep an eye out for How Your Dealership Can Sell Cars on Facebook (Part 2). If you prefer, you can sign up for our newsletter to find out when it is posted.
Let’s jump in!
How to Sell Cars on Facebook Marketplace
Individuals have been using Facebook to buy and sell their cars for about a year now, by posting them on the Facebook Marketplace, a peer-to-peer classifieds directory. According to one Facebook product manager, “Autos are one of the most popular categories of Marketplace.” Knowing this, late last year Facebook announced that it would be creating a dedicated section of the Marketplace to auto sales.
One of the best parts about the new Marketplace listings: it’s free. With all of the changes to Facebook’s algorithm that prioritize posts from friends and family, and not Pages, your dealership should work to identify ways to make the most of the free, organic tools on Facebook. Your page should always look alive and inviting, even if you focus most of your attention on your paid advertisements (read on to hear more about that). Aside from your organic content on your Page, the Marketplace is another way to leverage Facebook’s power for free.
Dealerships are now able to list their inventory on the Marketplace. It’s important to note that right now, only used or certified pre-owned vehicles are being supported. Maybe new cars will enter the mix soon.
The Marketplace is by far the most direct way to actually sell cars on Facebook– there are real people looking for cars, and viewing your listings. They can then communicate with you via Facebook Messenger (more on that later) or a third party chat provider, and receive all of the information they need. In a matter of minutes, and with very little investment, you’ve got yourself a super qualified lead.
The actual sale of the car won’t take place over Facebook– it’s just a way to connect a buyer with a seller.
Right now Facebook only works with a few inventory partners: Auction123, Cars.com, CDK Global, Edmunds, and SOCIALDEALER. If you don’t work with any of these companies, definitely keep an eye out as Facebook is looking to expand the service.
How to Sell Cars with Facebook Ads
Paid advertisements have quickly become one of the most important weapons in every dealership’s, and really every business’s, Facebook arsenal. The auto industry has seen great success in paid advertising. One study by Unified found that auto ads are twice as likely to be clicked on than other Facebook ads. ComScore found that visits to VDP pages jump 50% because of Facebook ads. In general, Facebook ads lift website visits by 37%. The numbers don’t lie: Facebook ads are effective.
How do you make the best possible Facebook ads? There has been a lot written on the topic– our friends at 9Clouds have put together quite a few helpful guides to get you familiar with Facebook ads, and what goes into creating the perfect Facebook ad for auto. Much of what makes a Facebook ad successful is the same as any other type of advertisement– good copy, an eye-catching image or video, and a powerful CTA that moves the shopper to engage with your dealership. That said, there are a few Facebook-specific tools and features that you should be aware of, to get the most out of your ads (and your ad budget).
Sell Cars with Facebook Audience Targeting
Facebook gives you the ability to highly target the audience of your advertisement based on location, demographics, interests, and more. Your ads might target people who live within 25 or so miles from your dealership. These people are the most likely to come in to your store. Alternatively, if you know that there are only a few dealerships in your area, widen your target audience. After all, you know your market better than anyone.
Facebook also allows you to exclude people from your targeting. You might choose to exclude people who live in a certain area, or have already liked your Page on Facebook. This way, you’re focusing on reaching new customers to make the most of your budget. On the flip side, including some of your devoted fans can build social proof in the form of likes and shares, which will compel new shoppers to engage with the ad.
You can improve your targeting even more by implementing a Facebook Pixel on your website. A Facebook Pixel is a piece of code that you add to your dealership’s website that captures the information of every user who visits, and allows you to target an ad to a certain group of website users. Say, for example, your dealership is offering a special on a certain class of vehicles. By setting up an “Event” on your website, your pixel can track every user that visits those vehicles. You can then create an ad specifically featuring your offer, to be seen by the right people.
If you have a substantial list of customers, you can also upload that file to Facebook and create a “lookalike audience,” of people who are similar to your customers. The Facebook algorithm works its magic, and builds a list of people that it thinks are similar to your customers, based on demographics, interests, and more. Take the time to learn about audience targeting, as it will step up your Facebook game.
Selling Cars on Facebook Through Creative
There are a few special creative types that your ads can feature on Facebook, unlike on other platforms. Some of these are especially well-suited for dealerships and the types of promotions they generally like to publish.
Facebook is the perfect place to include videos of your vehicles and dealerships. AutoTrader.com found that car shoppers are 20% more likely to click on a listing for a specific vehicle if it has a video. Add that to the fact that more than half of all car shoppers watch at least a half-hour of video during their buying process and it’s pretty clear that videos are one of the most effective ways of reaching and engaging with customers.
Facebook has been making improvements to its ad platform to make it even easier for dealerships to promote their entire inventories. One of the most exciting ways is through its introduction of dynamic ads.
Here’s how it works: your dealership installs some code on your website. You then create and upload a catalog of your inventory, including all of the relevant data like vehicle make, model, price, location, etc. After you have uploaded your inventory, you create a template for an advertisement. Facebook then dynamically inserts images and details from your catalog for each vehicle. The ad will take users to your website or mobile app. By using dynamic ads, you don’t have to spend time uploading all of the details of each of your vehicles every time you want to deploy a new ad. It will save you time, while maintaining quality. That’s a win-win.
Instead of featuring one image in each of your ads, Facebook allows you to display anywhere between two and five different images, headlines, and descriptions. By using a carousel instead of one image, you can feature several different vehicles in each advertisement. Users are compelled to click through the advertisement to see more. Each image also features a CTA that can take the person to the VDP of whatever vehicle they are looking at.
Facebook has even more to offer dealerships, to reach the most people and ultimately sell more cars.
How to Sell Cars on Facebook Live
Facebook continues to make changes to its algorithms, prioritizing posts from family and friends over a Page’s organic content. What this means is that it will be harder to reach people without spending a nice amount of money on paid advertising. That doesn’t mean you should abandon your organic content, though! Your page should look alive and inviting, while boasting a wide variety of different types of content. Dealerships should continue fill their feeds with posts that are engaging and helpful, while potentially focusing more time and energy on paid advertisements and higher quality content.
There are certain ways to work with Facebook’s new algorithm, though. Certain content types will still appear regularly on Newsfeeds because they have been identified as particularly engaging– one of those is Facebook Live videos. Facebook recognized that users enjoy live videos, and therefore decided to continue to push these videos on its users’ feeds. Facebook found that people spend 3X more time watching live broadcasts than a traditional video, after it has been broadcasted. Live videos are exciting and interesting, as people can see something unfolding in the moment.
Car Dealerships can utilize Facebook Live videos in lots of ways:
- Give a virtual tour. Walk around your showroom, giving people an idea of what they can expect when they come in. Introduce your staff, shoppers, and happy customers. Be sure to pan over your latest (and most popular) vehicles. These types of videos will drive more traffic to both your site as well as store.
- Announce new releases. When your dealership gets a new vehicle, showcase its launch with an in-store celebration and Facebook Live broadcast. You can also announce exciting offers or groundbreaking store records, to excite your viewers and draw them back to future videos.
- Go for a live test drive. Allow your shoppers to learn the ins and outs of your vehicles from the comfort of their own homes. Have two salespeople broadcast a test drive, showing off all of the features of the vehicle in real-time. People will appreciate seeing the internal details of each car, and will feel more comfortable coming in for a test drive of their own having “seen” it in action. Just make sure your salespeople know how all of the features work before taking it out on a live spin– a practice run never hurt anyone.
- Conduct interviews. Bring in your dealership staff and owners, special guests, and local celebrities for interviews. Viewers will be given an opportunity to get to know you and your brand, and might even ask a question in the comments. If your interviewee has a following on Facebook, be sure to also reach his or her followers and fans by tagging them in all promotions. These people could all become future customers.
How to Sell Cars Using Facebook Messenger
It’s a lot easier to sell a car to someone who your staff can speak to than to an anonymous Facebook user, isn’t it? That’s why your dealership provides shoppers with so many opportunities for conversion and engagement– to start the conversation.
Facebook Messenger is quickly becoming shoppers’ go-to method of communicating with brands and businesses about their products. According to Facebook, over 2 billion messages are sent between people and businesses every month. 73% of customers prefer to speak on Messenger over email or phone.
There are so many ways your dealership can utilize Facebook Messenger to sell car. Before getting into those, though, it’s important to note: don’t let customers message you on Facebook if you have no one on the other end responding to messages. Customers expect these types of chats to be answered quickly– if they have to wait too long for a response, they’ve definitely moved on to something else. Facebook also publicizes how long it generally takes a certain Page to respond to messages– customers are more likely to reach out when they see that your dealership “typically replies within minutes.”
Your dealership can help answer questions about vehicles and offers, provide store hours and updates, and book appointments and test drives on Facebook Messenger. To streamline the process, there are also Facebook chatbots that can converse with your customers and provide them with the information they need, without any investment of your staff’s time. There are currently over 100,000 Chatbot on Facebook, and the number is only growing. Chatbots can easily book appointments and provide standard responses to inquiries– your staff just needs to step in for the more complicated questions.
Facebook Live and Messenger are just two more ways that your car dealership can make the most of Facebook without paying for any advertisements. Your organic content is important, as your page should look alive and “human,” but paid advertising will certainly reach more shoppers and potential car buyers. With that in mind, you should identify ways to leverage your organic content, and always keep in mind the relative worth of each post. Spend your valuable time utilizing the many Facebook tools that can help you sell more cars, while keeping your organic feeds filled.
And there you have it. Six ways your dealership can get even more from Facebook, and increase your reach. Will all of these ways directly lead to the sale of a vehicle? Maybe not. But engaging the right people with the right content is definitely an important step in helping a customer down the funnel and into your store.
How Your Dealership Should be Using Facebook to Sell More Cars
Here are some ways you can use Facebook for Business to engage your prospects, and generate more qualified leads and sales:
- Messenger for Business allows you target a certain pool of prospects that you see fit for your car dealership, and try and catch them in a place where they probably already are: Facebook. You can use this feature to message them directly and send customer service updates, sales, promotions, and more. Your prospects are more likely to respond and engage with an online representative if they target the prospects while surfing their feed.
- Create a Facebook page! Every dealership should have their own Facebook page, run by someone at the dealership to update. The page should be filled with pictures, sales/promotions updates, and, of course, contact information. Having an up-to-date business page can increase your chance of bringing people in-shop with updates of sales, promotions, and holiday specials. You can also sync up all your social media updates to blast simultaneously across all platforms with software like bufferapp.
- Facebook ads can also help drive traffic to your website and/or Facebook Page (depending on your digital goals). You can design a nice Ad with your latest promotion to drive foot traffic into your showroom, or run PPC campaigns to boost your page to generate more likes and exposure for your dealership. When using Facebook ads, it’s super important that you target your audience appropriately. There are a plethora of options for targeting, but you want to make sure the right people are seeing the right ads on their Facebook feed- this is the secret to Facebook’s paid ads!
- Generate compelling and interesting content. Facebook is a great way to engage the prospects that liked your page and your dealership, and are therefore expecting to hear from you. While you may also have a blog, you should be sharing your content on social media outlets to increase your reach.
*quick tip: You should strive to publish at least 2 pieces of content per week.
You can find a full list of Facebook marketing tips here, and if you have any questions about turning that hard-won traffic into qualified leads, please contact us by email at email@example.com.
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