Many dealerships have reduced or stopped advertising on Facebook during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Now, several big-name brands, including Ford Motor Co., Volkswagen, Honda Motor Co.’s U.S. division, and more are boycotting Facebook as part of the #StopHateForProfit campaign, and some dealerships may consider following suit. If you have reduced your Facebook advertising spend, you may be looking at other options for those dollars.
If you are participating in the boycott, you may choose to support organizations working to advance the causes of #StopHateforProfit. Maybe you’re nervous about the future and just want to hold on to those dollars for a rainy day. Or perhaps you feel the best thing you can do is to continue supporting your employees and your local economy by investing in your business. If so, there are several ways to accomplish the same objectives as your Facebook advertising without spending on Facebook directly.
Here are some of the reasons we’ve seen dealerships advertise on Facebook, along with some alternatives to achieve the same objectives:
Previous Facebook Advertising Objective: Brand Awareness
Possible Replacement: Organic content and engagement on the Facebook platform
Facebook is a broad platform and many dealerships have run ads to spread awareness and their “Why Buy Here” message. Good news: you can leverage the Facebook network without actually sending them money. Consider using your in-house team or some of that advertising budget to work with a partner to push your messages organically. For example, this could be a great time to run a content campaign (think Stories on Instagram) showing that you’re still open and active. You could highlight some of your community work, or do giveaways to help folks having hard times. Or perhaps it’s time to engage your existing fans by commenting back to people who have previously posted on your Page or written Facebook Recommendations.
Previous Facebook Advertising Objective: Lead Generation
Possible Replacement: Building your online reviews (esp. on Google)
We’ve seen many dealerships use Facebook to target in-market shoppers low in the funnel. Of course, you could simply reallocate your Facebook spend to another advertising network, but no doubt you’ve already thought of that. Besides, many of those networks don’t have the sophisticated targeting options that Facebook enabled (e.g. via the Oracle Data Cloud). So how else can you target low-funnel shoppers? Maybe instead of hunting these folks down with sophisticated targeting, you can find them where they already are: reading online reviews. Over two-thirds of vehicle shoppers say they rely on online reviews in their purchase decision. A pause in Facebook advertising could be a good time for you to invest in your online reviews: clean up your listings, build a process with your staff, and arm them with the right tools.
Previous Facebook Advertising Objective: Lead Follow-Up
Possible Replacement: Personalized Videos
Another powerful tool many dealers used in Facebook advertising was the Facebook Pixel. By putting this code on your website, you could then serve targeted ads to the same potential customers when they were browsing Facebook or Instagram. Thus, your ads might ‘follow’ a solid lead who checked your website for a month or two until they were ready to make a purchase, and you were top of mind. Why not take personalization a step further? Send personalized videos to your leads, and consider even putting a form fill on your website to for anyone else who wants to request one. In the era of social distancing, consumers are more and more interested in video, and what better way to continue building rapport between your salespeople and a consumer? Send a quick video with your name and face and the car they’ve been dreaming of every week or so until they purchase! Many tools on the market now make this process simpler than you might think.
We hope this has been helpful as you consider alternatives for your Facebook advertising budget. Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call and we’d be happy to chat through these ideas and how you could execute them with our without Friendemic support.