Social Media

Today’s the day: Your perception of Facebook changes

Neil Pascale, Columnist
July 3, 2013
Filed under Columns

Raise your hand if you were in the industry when this conversation was around: “Do I need a website for my shop? Why? It’s a fad. Only half the people I know even use the Internet. …”

Keep your hand raised if you were around when this conversation was being had: “Should I sell parts and accessories off my website? Why? It’s a fad. Only half the people I know even feel comfortable typing their credit card number into …”

Go ahead and lower your hand. Like yours truly, Father Time’s probably catching up to you and you’re already looking around for the Advil for your mild shoulder strain. (If only you could remember where you put the Advil.)

Here’s the current conversation that someday will be looked upon in much the same light as the previous misconceptions: “Do I need to spend time on my dealership’s Facebook site? Why? Only a few, if any, of those people even come into my shop.”

Mark the date, guys. If you haven’t hopped on the Facebook bandwagon, then we’re going to make it today. And when I say hopped on,
I mean really hopped on. Become engaged with it. Devote regular, dedicated time to it. Set and measure goals with it.

If you’re not doing these things, then you’re likely stuck in this mindless debate about Facebook and its supposed lack of ROI. Forget the ROI. It’s not about the return on investment, it’s about the cost of ignoring (COI) it.

Let me try to explain this reasoning as I first heard it on a webinar featuring an auto executive. At one point during the webinar, the executive started taking questions from members of the audience. The first question was, not surprisingly, from a company that sold Facebook ad services. Their question: “When, Mr. Auto Executive, will you start spending more of your ad budget on social channels vs. traditional channels (TV, for instance)?”

The auto executive responded, “When I can show ROI to my bosses.”

But that wasn’t the surprising part of what he said. This was the surprising part: “Even though I don’t believe we should be trying to measure ROI on Facebook. We should be thinking about the COI — the Cost of Ignoring it.”

This is how he explained COI: Our consumers share a commonality — they have an interest in what we sell. If we can successfully engage these folks who share our interest, then they develop a preference for us. Interest + engagement leads to preference, i.e., where they spend their money. If there is interest but no engagement, then there is no preference. No reason to buy from your business, except perhaps if you’re discounting. Engagement changes retail behavior. Ignore it and your bottom line pays dearly.

And there is no easier way to engage more enthusiasts at any one time or any time period than on Facebook.

That might be so, some say, but I’d prefer to spend my time engaging consumers on the showroom floor. The money’s in the metal, which happens to be in my shop — not on Facebook.

Well hold on. What percentage of your customers do you see in the shop perhaps once every two to three weeks? Or maybe once every two to three months? If you could connect (i.e. engage) with that consumer segment more often, does it make sense that a higher percentage of their disposable income would in turn be spent in your shop? Absolutely.

Can you make that — more frequent consumer connection — happen more often through a channel that’s easier and cheaper than Facebook? No way.

That’s why your attitude toward Facebook should change. Today. That’s why you should — today! — get on board with the importance of this consumer channel.

Now that you’re engaged, do the following this summer:

• If you’re not at 1,000 Likes, get there. Make sure you give your consumers a reason to go and Like your page. This is not a seed. If you plant it, it won’t just grow by itself. (If you’re already at 1,000 Likes, double it. The best of the best in this industry are approaching 10,000.)

• Track your “talking about this” statistic. (That’s right next to the Likes statistics on your Facebook page.) It should be somewhere between 5-10 percent of your total Likes. If you’re not hitting at least 5 percent consistently, you need to change your content. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.

• Having trouble producing content? Check out the industry’s LinkedIn groups for this type of marketing advice. Whatever you do, don’t underestimate the importance of content above and beyond the written word — images and links are key!

• Get your inventory on Facebook and make it part of the daily conversation.

• Get your events on Facebook and make them part of your daily conversation.

And yes, you read that right: Daily conversation. If done correctly, that leads to engagement, and that impacts retail behavior.

Even us aging folk with the sore shoulders know the importance of that.

Neil Pascale is the Business Development Manager for Dominion Powersports Solutions, a dealer service company that includes PowerSports Network, Cycle Trader, Traffic Log Pro, Ziios and Dominion Insights. He can be reached at neil.pascale@dominionpowersports.com.

 

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