First things first, Happy New Year! The world has circled the Sun another time. This is the perfect time to reflect on the year that was and how to improve on the year that lies ahead. Considering the hurtling speed of technology and the progression of the Social Media-sphere, we’ve followed suit! Let’s dive into how you can hone your automotive Facebook content strategy for 2017.
2017 is set to be the first year in history that the average spend allocated to Digital Marketing will surpass the budget allocated for TV Advertising and Radio Advertising. As platforms, such as Netflix, Spotify, Pandora etc. become more popular, and our TV audiences represent a smaller part of the population that we can access through social media, we risk losing relevance if we don’t utilise Social Media Marketing. The push toward Social Media Marketing is ever-expanding and with good reason.
Andrew Bosworth, VP of Advertising and Business Platforms at Facebook has said “Social channels are and will continue to become more important than client websites… the days of static display banners are numbered.”
It should come as no surprise that a lot has changed; technological years are like dog years – things can change every week and what was hot may be cooling down.
So, let’s jump into our recommendations for your Automotive Facebook content strategy for 2017!
2016 SnapShot – Where We’ve Been
Facebook Advertising Expert, Mari Smith, has provided a lot of insight to help us hit the ground running this year. To pave the road ahead, it’s best to check the road we’ve driven and look for any bumps, accidents and wrong turns.
What we learned as a truth is that Facebook users are lazy. Don’t get it twisted, we’re not stereotyping or generalising – statistics released by Mari Smith and BuzzSumo would reveal that our Facebook users aren’t interested in reading articles, long posts, or even studying photo albums. The key is to be concise and ‘edutaining.’
“Questions, images, and videos were more engaging than all other post types. Videos were most likely to be shared.”
Short posts of less than 50 characters were more likely to receive engagement than longer posts as well. What this stipulates is we must work on being succinct. It’s important we keep our supposition ‘brand strong’ and we invite the user to emotionally invest in the dealership so when it comes time to get a new car, we’re in the forefront of their mind.
Many Facebook users are less interested in producing content as they once were; they want to consume content. And we need to deliver!
‘Shares are the Holy Grail of Facebook.’ Facebook users are most likely to share videos – this is the medium reflective statistics have indicated users consume with the most gusto – so a share acts as an endorsement.
Interestingly enough, Mari also commented on the fact that while sharing content during ‘peak hours’ was likely to increase views, the viewer was most likely to engage (comment, share, tag friends etc) in off-peak hours. Late night posts, weekend posts and pre-work morning posts are where we could possibly grab our would-be car-buyers by the steering wheel.
2017 – The Future – Where we should be aiming
Considering Facebook as a social platform has expanded considerably and now mimics aspects of the Marketplace as well as having impressive search functions, Facebook is an incredibly useful tool, but one that can easily overwhelm as well. Keeping posts minimal and enticing allows the opportunity to pique the curiosity of both our existing customers and prospective customers.
Moreover, statistics consistently tell us that Facebook users are watching more videos and like to share videos as an aim to express themselves.
“Facebook predicts that in five years, almost all interactions will be video-based and on mobile. Additionally, by the winter of 2017, the ad inventory available on Facebook’s current newsfeed will be full. At that point, a new video newsfeed will be available, expanding ad (and Facebook’s revenue) opportunities.” – BuzzSumo
Facebook lends itself particularly well to the automotive industry; more than anything, the automotive industry is about appearance and brand loyalty. It is easy to ignite discussion from the community by appealing to these things.
We’re also encouraged to ask questions. Which begs the following question… How do we utilise the use of videos and make sure we’re encouraging the best engagement by asking questions?
Well, read on…
Our customers not only want to share their life on Facebook, they see it as an opportunity to be understood, branch out, keep up to date and have a giggle. We should endeavour to deliver ‘Edutainment’ to the Facebook-o-sphere. If our aim is to increase engagement and therefore increase visibility and brand awareness, we should be telling our audience something and then allowing them to provide feedback.
Educational/Entertaining videos that allow the user to provide feedback or an opinion are the most useful tool moving into the future.
An example on how to utilise the knowledge of these trends might include sharing a video that features your brand and present the action in the video as exclusively relating to the brand fans. When posts that utilise this go viral, the brand is boosted and so too is the dealership. When you combine this with a question they feel will offer them the opportunity to express their opinion, you can almost guarantee shares and engagement. And, in the end, that’s the main goal. If shares are the holy grail, it’s time to don your Indiana Jones hat and begin the hunt now you’ve got the map and know where the booby traps are.
Going Live is a great way to engage your customers as well. We have covered this extensively in a specific blog post in the past and with good reason. (Read our getting started with Facebook Live article)
Andrew Bosworth, VP of Advertising and Business Platforms on Facebook has remarked that feeds are evolving into more dynamic mixed media streams. With the introduction of new technologies such as 360° video, social media platforms are constantly updating and finding new ways to reach and interact with their audiences. Furthermore, the introduction of live 360° video adds another element. As an over-arching, general statement, the digital world is becoming more interactive; Ads and content are in a position where we can contribute so simply and share experiences.
Going ‘Live’ should be considered one of your best friends when it comes to digital marketing. Not only are your Facebook ‘friends’ notified when you have gone live, there is an opportunity to push personality, create entertainment and directly interact with your audience. Q & A style videos, new model arrivals and new vehicle deliveries are a great way for the user to like you, the brand and admire possible cars they may like to purchase. Once the video has stopped being aired, the video is automatically saved in the videos on the page and can be watched by your fans at a later stage.
Facebook algorithms will automatically prioritise content that has strong engagement, views and relevance to new users and move it to the top of the Newsfeed. The interactive nature of Facebook Live makes it an effortless way to create this desired engagement and draw potential new fans to your page.
In summary, 2016 was a big year for Facebook; Facebook started implementing new technologies as part of its new normal. Well, we’ve shifted gears and now we’re ready to cruise on into 2017 with this knowledge under our seat belts (just to keep the car language going).
The main things you need to know are that our audiences love videos and aren’t interested in reading more than a few sentences. Our users love the opportunity to express themselves, their opinions and are happy to share content that provides them with value (education and entertainment being at the top of this list). Make sure when you do this that you have your target audience in mind!
Going into 2017, we should be utilising videos, Facebook Live and making sure that our content is concise and relevant. Experiment with posting in both off peak and peak hour times of the day and see what works best for you. Moreover, when you do so, remember we should be creating open-ended and sales-leading questions. Let’s roll into 2017 in the best way possible!
We have so many new things on the horizon, both in the automotive world and in the Facebook-o-sphere. We need to make sure we’re adding value to our users’ Facebook experience. Car Dealerships are in such a lucky position as far as Facebook and Social Media Marketing goes because cars are so important, so customisable and once you become a fan of a brand and dealership, you’ll usually stick with them. We have loyalty, interest and a community built into our user audience. So long as we’re remembering the above information and tips, we can make sure that we’re at the front dealership of our customers’ brain when it comes time to purchase a car.
Spark the ignition, and we’ll speak to you next time!