With approximately 2.5 billion monthly active users on Facebook, your dealership should be expanding its reach by utilizing Facebook Marketplace and Messenger to reach potential and new customers. Consider the following tips on expanding your customer base.
Expand Your Customer Base with Facebook Marketplace
In 2016, the changes Facebook enacted in the Marketplace enabled simplified buying and selling within the user’s local community. According to CBT News, more changes in 2017 created new opportunities for car dealerships when they “collaborated with Cars.com and other third-party marketplaces to list their inventory”, making it a destination for consumers to find vehicles from dealerships.
1. The Basics of Facebook Marketplace
Facebook users can sell products in the Marketplace and list them for free. They can browse products by location, find deals, rentals, vehicles, and join Buy & Sell Groups.
When searching the Marketplace, people can set the following filters to make browsing for their ideal vehicle easier:
- Vehicle Type
- Body Style
- Vehicle History
- Exterior Color
- Interior Color
- Transmission Type
- Fuel Economy
- Safety Rating
The sorting feature allows users to sort in a variety of ways, whether it be by price, year, etc. Users can use the research feature to find more detailed information, read reviews, participate in the community Q&A, and learn about standard features in varying makes and models.
2. Simplified Vehicle Advertising Venue
Facebook Marketplace can be a budget-friendly way to advertise your vehicle inventory and expand your customer base.
Your digital marketing strategist can help you connect with Inventory Partners and automate the upload process of your inventory to the Facebook Marketplace.
- Location – The default setting in Marketplace displays vehicles and dealerships within a 40-mile radius of the user's location, but other filters can be set.
- News Feeds – Once a user looks at vehicle listings, they will show up in their Facebook newsfeed as a second touchpoint during the consideration process.
The average Facebook user utilizes the social media platform for 2 hours and 24 minutes daily. Your dealership can reach these people and convert leads to customers simply by using Facebook Marketplace as a cost-effective advertising venue.
3. Streamlined Contact Process Through Messenger
There are over 1 billion active monthly users on Facebook Messenger. It’s a user-friendly messaging app that many people are already using, and potential customers can easily contact your dealership through Messenger.
- Vehicle Listings – Users can contact your dealership through Messenger to find out if a vehicle is still available and/or schedule a test drive.
- Communication – Conversations are saved and available for follow-up, unlike any chat messenger services that you may provide on your website.
- Notifications – The user is notified immediately after your dealership responds to a message, which can increase the likelihood of them reconnecting with you.
In a USA Today interview, head of Facebook Messenger David Marcus said, “For so long, doing business was always conversational. Web (e-commerce) is truly an anomaly. It feels good to have a more human relationship when you’re buying something.”
Remember these tips when communicating with customers through Messenger:
- Quick Response – Respond quickly to vehicle inquiries to avoid time delays, which could cause the consumer to reach out to one of your competitors.
- Content Promotion – Answer questions with detailed content such as vehicle features, location, and service offers.
- Customer Lifecycles – Once customers opt-in to receive Facebook messages, you can engage them with special offers, sales events, and new vehicle rollouts to enhance their lifecycle with your dealership.
- Customer Support – In a Lawless Research survey, seven out of ten businesses felt they communicated adequately with consumers. However, only two out of ten consumers agreed. Use Facebook Messenger to “bridge that communication gap.”
- Messenger Bots – Consider automating conversations with a messenger bot to allow consumers to easily schedule a test drive or contact your service department.
- Facebook Page Settings – Make sure you properly set up your inbox feed to manage notifications, schedule automated responses, and create an away message to be sent. Visit the Facebook Help Center for details on setting up automated messages and instant replies for greeting customers.
Check out this article from Addictive Tips for more details on the steps involved in launching a Facebook Messenger bot or contact your Digital Marketing Strategist for assistance. The purpose of the Messenger Bots created from the application programming interface (API) is to help users obtain additional details from a Facebook Page or to get customer support. Using Messenger bots can decrease call volume to your dealership and improve productivity levels to enhance customer engagement for boosted sales.
According to insights from Facebook for Business research, “78% of the world’s smartphone users message every month. By 2021, it’s predicted that the global user base for mobile messaging apps will rise further by 23%.”
You can cultivate that human relationship with potential customers through the Facebook Messenger app. Chatting about vehicles listed in the Marketplace—and other relevant questions—can engage the customer in an informal communication process that can lead to a new sale.
4. Getting Started with Facebook Marketplace
According to an interview with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on CNET.com, Facebook Marketplace is used globally in over 70 countries and by approximately 800 million people. With such a vast amount of people using this online marketplace, your dealership should take full advantage of promoting your inventory on Facebook Marketplace.
Inventory from your dealership can be listed with Facebook Marketplace through their inventory partners. However, new vehicles cannot be listed. They only accept listings for Certified Pre-Owned inventory.
Dealerships can have success with this form of advertising because vehicle listings are displayed to users who are currently looking through listings in the Marketplace. Both you and the consumer benefit since you can reply through the Messenger app promptly.
These listings are specifically formatted for mobile viewing, and you can easily share important information such as model, price, and mileage. Facebook recommends that your dealership should only work with one of their inventory partners to ensure better results.
The Facebook for Business Help Center has listed helpful information that dealerships should understand when starting to list their inventory in the Marketplace. That information is explained below:
- Listing Displays – Listings for your inventory are only displayed in the Marketplace. They are not automatically visible on your Facebook Page unless you actually share the listings there as well.
- Vehicle Sales – Facebook users cannot purchase your inventory from the listing in the Marketplace. This online platform is only a venue for connecting your dealership with interested consumers.
- Filter Listings – It is important to note that users will see your inventory listings along with vehicle listings from individual sellers on Facebook. However, users can use filters to differentiate between listings.
- User Location – The default setting on Facebook Marketplace only displays listings within 40 miles of the user’s location. However, they can change that setting to locate listings and dealerships within a larger radius.
To start listing your Certified Pre-Owned inventory in the Facebook Marketplace, you need to contact one of the Marketplace Inventory Partners. You can visit that link to see a comprehensive listing of Inventory Partners in various countries.
The listings for Inventory Partners include their business name and the contact name and email address. If your dealership already works with some of these Inventory Partners, they might have already listed your inventory in the Marketplace.
Facebook for Business recommends that you contact any of the partners that you currently work with if you would like to have only one of them post your inventory.
There are currently 46 Inventory Partners in the United States that are available to work with your dealership. Some of those partners include the following:
You can find different information such as dealerships with live chat, download leads from instant forms, Kelley Blue Book vehicle prices, vehicle conditions definitions, and other tips for marketing your dealership on Facebook such as Facebook Ads.
Using Facebook Marketplace and Messenger to Boost Sales
Marketing your Certified Pre-Owned vehicles in the Facebook Marketplace is a good idea, and many of your competitors are likely already trying to expand their customer base with this online platform.
Using the Marketplace is a cost-effective way to get your inventory onto the mobile phones of the many Facebook users who are local to your dealership. Vehicle listings in the Marketplace are streamlined and conducive for mobile viewing.
With easy communication through Messenger, you can immediately respond to inquiries from any Facebook user who is interested in your Certified Pre-Owned inventory.
Reach out to the professional J&L Marketing team; they are ready to help you expand your customer base with Facebook Marketplace and Messenger.