Combine Powerful Free & Paid Tools on Facebook for Your COVID-19 Dealership Strategy

More than ever, people are coming to Facebook to connect with the people and communities they care about. Both your current and potential customers are spending significant time everyday on the platform – making Facebook a crucial place to efficiently reach and connect with them. By providing first-class service and value now, you can build the long-term relationships needed to cultivate customers for life.

With COVID-19, there is no doubt that consumer behaviour has shifted, and for marketers, having a digital presence becomes a ‘need-to-have’ rather than a ‘good-to-have’. Digital retailing becomes a way to showcase dealership inventory and catalogs online. With pent up demand for used cars and limited supply in the market, your dealership’s customer service has to be in-tune with customer needs and wants. Removing friction for customers should be top of mind; especially during uncertain times.

To address this shift, think about how you can leverage the immense opportunity on Facebook’s family of apps. In Australia, 17M people access Facebook every month and 14M people access Facebook every day1. Think about how to use a mix of organic and paid tools to improve your customer service and to market to your audience.

Pinned Post

It is important for customers to have access to relevant and timely communications regarding crucial information on your business operations.

Use your Facebook Business Page to provide real time information and update it with ease. Unlike website updates which might need to be outsourced or can take time to get live, Facebook posts can go live immediately.

You can then select the post to be pinned to create a Pinned Post. It sits on the top of your Facebook Business Page and is easily discoverable by anyone who visits your Page.

Facebook Marketplace
Dealers need to find new ways to reach in-market audiences who are browsing or searching for cars and move to more prospecting strategies.
Since the 2016 Facebook Marketplace launch in Australia, vehicles have organically become a top category for Aussies to buy and sell. We’ve also opened up the ability for dealerships to pipe their used and demo inventory directly into Marketplace via inventory partners – CarSales, Drive Network, AdTorque Edge, iMotor, AutoTrader, Dealer Solutions and EasyCars.

These partnerships improve the user experience with more volume and higher quality inventory available across Facebook Marketplace.

Interested Dealers should get in touch directly with any of the above partners to understand the specifics around how to get inventory listed onto Facebook Marketplace.

Click here to learn more.

Automotive Inventory Ads (AIA)

Facebook Inventory Ads provide easy templated solutions to advertise Dealer inventory in real time at scale and to display relevant inventory based on user behavior.

Facebook signals and machine learning technologies display relevant inventory based on user behavior who are in-market, without that user having to actively search for stock and regardless of whether they are already or not yet considering your dealership.

Ads can click through to your Dealer sites, Messenger or Facebook lead forms.

Convert online leads to inbound phone leads on your site. AIA appears on the newsfeed and drives traffic to the exact vehicle detail page of that car.
When you direct AIA to Messenger, ask your customers to book a test drive and appointments.

Free & Paid

Consumers expectations have changed due to digital platforms and growing expectations of personalisation. 3 in 4 (73%) Australians have communicated with a business using messaging2. Help potential and existing customers get the information they need quickly and easily with Messenger. In many of the places hardest hit by the virus, messaging volume has increased more than 50%, and voice and video calling have more than doubled across Messenger and WhatsApp3.

Use Messenger as a core customer service channel to reimagine how you solve both reactive and proactive communication about your product, services and offers, and to merge the gap between online and offline. This can be done across both free and paid tools.

Drive discovery with Click-to-Messenger ads. Use Facebook targeting to reach specific audiences and send them to your Messenger experience.
When you receive inquiries on Messenger, ensure that you provide responses in a timely manner – set up automation on Facebook Page Manager such as Greetings, Instant Reply, Saved Replies. Don’t hesitate to personalise your replies with emojis and sign off with your real name to build a genuine connection with your consumers.

Live & Stories on Facebook and Instagram

Consumers are less likely to be actively visiting dealerships due to COVID-19 social distancing measures.

Capitalise on new and engaging formats to drive branded consideration and sales outcomes. To create a positive brand association for your dealership, use helpful tips that resonate among consumers such as: staying optimistic, caring for the local community and staying healthy.

Facebook and Instagram Live and Stories activations bring you closer to your customers. This provides a fresh, cost-effective way to meet consumers where they are and provide valuable information to aid their car buying decision, the same way you would, should they walk into your dealership. You could host contents such as:

  • Virtual live appointments
  • Dealership walk around while meeting the staff
  • Updates on specials
  • Educational videos: For example, DIY vehicle maintenance tips
  • Employee spotlights
  • Live Q&As from interested customers
  • Push out “Shop from Home” which demonstrates Dealer site functionality and education

Take advantage of the best free and paid tools available on Facebook today to support your dealership growth amidst the pandemic and to prepare for a re-opening strategy to connect with ever-growing digitally savvy consumers.

1Facebook Data, Q2 2020
2Facebook Internal Data, December 2018
3Facebook Internal Data, March 2020

This article is written by Paul Balbo, Client Partner, Automotive, Facebook Australia & New Zealand

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