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Extend the Reach of Your Service Department with Facebook Ads

November 30, 2015

Extend the Reach of Your Service Department with Facebook AdsEach month dealers just like you spend thousands of dollars on different types of advertising and marketing strategies designed to attract existing and new customers to their Sales and Service Departments. These marketing and advertising campaigns traditionally leverage media channels such as direct mail, email, text, live calls, and pre-recorded voice communications.

While the traditional communication channels are still very effective, more and more dealers are expanding their digital marketing reach by incorporating Facebook and other social media networks. Dealers are turning to social media marketing and advertising with the hopes of improving market penetration, influencing new buyers, increasing reach of message, and ultimately selling and servicing more vehicles.

Are you leveraging the power of Facebook?
Did you know 94% of buyers gather vehicle information online? In fact, 50% of a buyer’s purchasing decision is influenced by their Facebook friends, 43% will use Facebook to search for a local dealership, and 80% will not visit a store with negative reviews on Facebook. Social media platforms, specifically Facebook with more than 1.49 billion monthly active users, offer your dealership an additional communication channel to build brand awareness among your online communities, while also engaging potential buyers, increasing online presence, and driving business to your store. Every time a customer visits your dealership’s Facebook page, you have the opportunity to distinguish yourself from your competition.

The Pew Research Center discovered during a Facebook study on how individuals and brands engage on the social media site that:

  • 71% of U.S. adults currently use Facebook with 70% actively engaging with the site daily
  • 65% of active users frequently or sometimes share posts or comments on Facebook (meaning they are actively engaged in the content posted)
  • The brands who are socially devoted on Facebook receive 3.5 times more user interactions than non-socially devoted brands (meaning the socially devoted brands have a dramatic increase in their marketing reach)

Having a presence on Facebook and building a community of followers that shares and enjoys your content is the first step to expanding your marketing reach. It’s simple and free to start a social media network page for your dealership, but just having a Facebook page isn’t enough anymore. The next step to increasing your online presence and becoming more socially active on Facebook is setting up advertisements.

In a recent study by Datalogix, research showed that Facebook ads are designed to subliminally plant an idea in the reader’s mind to introduce them to a product or service. These ads create such a high awareness for the product or service that they are not easily forgotten by the reader. By building a well-branded Facebook page and coupling it with product-specific Facebook ads, you’ll begin to see the power of leveraging Facebook in your digital marketing strategy.

Ask yourself these questions?
Is your sales and service marketing inconsistent? Do you communicate with sales customers and service customers differently? Are you sending conflicting brand messages to sales customers and service customers?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone. In many dealerships, there are sales customers and there are service customers – not dealership customers. Typically these two segments are marketed to, or communicated with, in silos independent of each other. Although the strategies used to reach sales and service customers may be different, the overall dealership’s brand message, marketing, and communication channels should be similar. By reaching dealership customers, sales or service, with a cohesive marketing message, you’ll avoid delivering customers conflicting marketing from different departments within your dealership. Facebook is a great platform to use to market to your entire database and can aid in creating and maintaining a consistent brand message to all dealership customers.

Why aren’t you using Facebook to promote service?
The truth is, very few dealerships are using Facebook, or social media advertising in general, to connect with and market their Service Departments. Sales offers are very easy to post on Facebook. They are payment or price focused and are typically promoted to a specific demographic. Comparatively, service offers should be based on a customer’s specific visit history, driving habits, or dollars spent per RO. This difference proves to be the ultimate challenge when dealerships attempt to leverage the power of Facebook to market to current and potential service customers.

If you don’t know your customer’s specific needs, visit history, driving habits, or spending behavior, how do you effectively market on Facebook or any other social media advertising platform?

If you’re like most Service Managers, you understand not all service customers are the same, nor are they motivated to return to your Service Department in the same way. The most effective way to communicate with service customers and influence them to return to you is by segmenting them into four categories based on visit history and dollars spent per RO, which can be extracted from your DMS.

  1. Most Loyal Customers – These customers spend a lot of money and visit regularly for routine service. They typically do not require a discount to prompt them for service.
  2. Major Service Customers – These customers have fewer visits per year, but spend the most money per visit. They typically only come in for major services, but can be motivated to return more often with reminder communications and discounts for minor services.
  3. New Vehicle Owners – These customers need to be conditioned into visiting a dealership for service work with consistent offers and communications to promote loyalty and motivate them to return.
  4. Lost Souls/Defectors – These customers are not loyal to any dealership and require creative offers and discounts, with regular communications to be re-engaged to become loyal service customers.

By using this service customer segmentation as a guide, it is easy to understand why unique service offers and regular communications are required. This approach will allow you to make the right offer to the right customer at the right time without sacrificing gross profit.

Segmentation of service data, based on your customer’s frequency of visit and dollars spent per RO, easily allows you to target Facebook ads with appropriate offers to each of these four categories. Utilizing social media advertising in partnership with your monthly email campaigns for service marketing will allow you to effectively communicate with your customers, leaving a lasting brand and product impression, and driving business back to your Service Department.

How to get started?                                                               
Making your Service Department’s Facebook advertising and marketing strategy a reality is not difficult. You have everything you need within the four walls of your dealership. Start by segmenting your service database. Remember, all of the metrics, dollars spent per RO and frequency of visits, are already in your DMS, you just need to obtain them. Once you have the data portion completed, target these lists on Facebook with unique ads, offers, and messaging specific to their segmentation categories. This will eliminate having to post the same service offers to each of your customers and maximize gross profitability.

Think about hiring a third party vendor to manage this for you. Make sure to hire a single vendor that can segment your service database as outlined above, build creative with these segments in mind, suggest offers to motivate these segments, ensure Facebook ad compliance, deliver reporting results and ROI, and everything in between.

Facebook and social media advertising is too important to overlook when marketing your dealership, and can prove to be instrumental for your Service Department. Don’t delay and start planning your strategy today.

As seen in Fixed Ops Magazine. Check out the most recent edition.

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