Timeline is here….what are you doing about it? Do you have an engaging Timeline page and revamped Facebook marketing strategy that will engage both customers and prospects, and put competitors to shame? Or have you been caught with your pants down? In this post, we reveal the strategy we are using to give hundreds of dealers nationwide state-of-the-art Timelines, revamped Facebook marketing strategies, and an unusually high social media ROI.
Create a Compelling Cover Image
With Timeline, it all starts with creating a cover image that will make an immediate and lasting impression on visitors to your Facebook page, so get creative and hire a professional if need be. You want visitors to be so impressed by your cover image that they are moved to “like” your page, because Facebook does not allow calls to action of any kind. Nor can you include your website URL, address, phone number, or any explicit marketing message. Customer testimonials combined with professional graphic design are a great option, possibly including a picture of the dealership or popular vehicle model in the background.
Give the Greatest Visibility to Important Tabs
At first glance, it may appear that Facebook has turned the tables on marketers by moving all tabs–including the coveted custom tabs that are used to increase likers and run marketing promotions–to a different location and preventing them from being used as landing pages. In fact, the new layout can give you more control over which tabs consumers will click on, because you can arrange your Timeline so that the most important tabs are placed in a prominent position. This actually allows for significantly increased visibility compared to Facebook’s soon-to-be-eliminated architecture. The first thing customers will look at after your cover image is your tabs, so choose wisely.
Create Custom Thumbnail Images to Increase Click-Through Rates
Rearranging tab order is an important step, but don’t stop there–if you really want to get high click-through rates for your custom tabs (now officially called Facebook Apps), you’ll need to create a custom thumbnail image that entices people to click. Otherwise, you will be faced with default images created by Facebook or a third-party–they are often poorly designed and unattractive, and virtually guarantee decreased engagement. Again, it is advisable to use a professional graphic designer here–you want a compelling image because this could be your last chance to engage a Facebook user.
Get the Most Out of Your Custom Tabs
Once the user has clicked on your thumbnail, they have entered your fan gate–whether it be a welcome tab or a contest tab–and are taken to a dedicated page that supports significantly larger graphics. This is the place to incentivize users to like your page–give them access to exclusive deals and other promotions, and provide calls to action. Take advantage of the increased real-estate by embedding plenty of engaging content. Link to your website, and to other Facebook tabs, especially your inventory and reviews tabs. Protect your reputation with a reviews tabs tab that syndicates your 4 and 5 star reviews from Google, Yelp, Citysearch, and other critical review sites.
Promote Your Dealership with Contests
Contests are one of the most effective ways to promote your dealership and increase liker counts. Professionally designed and executed Facebook contests will go viral, spreading brand awareness and giving you more high-quality fans–your prospective customers. If you do run a contest, don’t forget to post regularly and “pin” your posts to the top of your Timeline in order to increase its visibility. A given post can only be pinned for one week, so if you are running a promotion you will need to be sure to create engaging posts and pin them ongoing.
Make Sure Your Website has a Facebook Fan Box
Assuming you follow best practices for Facebook posting, if you employ the strategy outlined above you should have no problems maintaining high levels of engagement and increasing your liker count. Nevertheless, every dealer’s website should have an embedded Facebook Fan Box–this enables people to like your Facebook page without even visiting it. As such they will stay on your website and still receive marketing communications from you via your Facebook posts. Arguably the best way to do this is to install a social media toolbar. In addition to making it easy for consumers to like you on Facebook and follow you on twitter, a good toolbar should syndicate positive consumer reviews from Google, Yelp, Citysearch, etc, and give consumers easy access to coupons and other promotional content.
Source Leads and Manage Customer Service
Did you know that with Timeline, consumers can send direct messages to Facebook page administrators? This can be a blessing or a curse, depending on whether or not you have a system in place that enables you to funnel leads to your salesforce and quickly address customer complaints. Make sure your Facebook community manager is constantly monitoring so that you don’t lose leads to competitors or end up with a disgruntled customer who posts negative content to your Facebook page (or who gives you a bad online review).