Should your tire business be on Facebook?
Short answer: yes! Facebook is a great and mostly free tool you can use to build a customer base and share information about your business and products. But a tool does need someone to wield it; it won’t do all the work for you. So how do you get the most out of Facebook for your business?
What are the benefits of Facebook?
First, Facebook boasts 1.55 billion users worldwide (as of third quarter 2015). That’s a huge market you’re looking at. Also, starting a Facebook page costs precisely nothing. Is there any other marketing you can do with a zero outlay? Even Facebook advertising is cheap. Check out this experiment that generated 1,400 Facebook likes for $34!
Traction News spoke to Dani Freedman from Atlanta-based Butler Tire and Wheels about their Facebook use and what works for them. Butler Tires and Wheels has more than 131,000 likes on Facebook, which is a lot of fans for any business to boast. For Freedman, keeping the page active is key.
“In order to build up engagement you have to be active,” he said.
“The more active you are the more chance you have to get in front of your fans.”
He said keeping your page active allows you to showcase some of your work, educate customers on new products or best practices and build trust in a customer shopping around.
“Being active also shows that there is a human element to the company and that it’s not just this big moneymaking monster,” he said. “People connect well to the human element.”
What are the disadvantages to using Facebook?
Freedman says Facebook does take up time – a lot of time.
“There is only so much space on a given user’s timeline so your post have to be engaging enough that they make it onto a user’s feed – otherwise your target audience will never see your posts,” he said.
“It’s a continuous campaign that will in effect never end. We try to post a minimum of once a day and three times max in a 24-hour period.”
Freedman said when starting your Facebook page expect to spend a lot of time not only posting but surfing the web looking for interesting and unique content that you can post.
How do successful Facebook pages work?
Have a strategy in place to start off with and remember nothing is more obvious than a neglected Facebook page. Freedman says he keeps a close eye on the Facebook insights feature to find out what people are engaging with.
“Think front of mind. The more you can be in front of your fans, the more they will remember you when they require your services,” he said.
“We have found that anything unique normally gets the most engagement. Any new release of a wheel style, body kit or something off the wall.”
Freedman said not to underestimate brand awareness – a strong Facebook presence doesn’t just create new fans, it builds new and loyal customers, too.
“Nowadays, it’s not just enough to tell a story on your website about why people should do business with you; people are way more educated when they walk in your door or pick up the phone. Facebook is a channel that allows customers to gauge if you’re a good fit to do business with.”
Rather than using Facebook to convince people to make an appointment with you, it might be worth thinking of it as a way to test the market. Freedman said it allowed Butler Tires and Wheels to measure how a product might do.
“For instance, if a new wheel or tire is released and we post something about that we can try and gauge how it is going to do off-line – in the real world,” he said.
Tips for building a Facebook following
When you’re first building a following on Facebook it can be a slow process. Freedman says Butler Tires and Wheels started by offering giveaways and posting posts that asked fans to engage with them. For example “caption this image” posts.
“When a user likes or comments on your post, it typically shows up in their friends’ feeds that that user liked a post, commented, or best-case scenario they shared the post,” he said.
Boosting posts — in other words, paying Facebook a small fee to advertise your post to a targeted group of users who aren’t already fans of your page — also leads to greater interaction, more fans, and potentially more business. And ultimately, it’s worth remembering that, like any marketing program, you really want your Facebook page to generate a return on investment.
Does Facebook actually generate business?
So how does this actually send people to your business to buy tires? Freedman said it can be a bit hit and miss. But ultimately it’s another string to your bow.
“We have found that although you spend a lot of time on Facebook generating likes, comments and shares, the amount of actual business it generates compared to other ‘advertising’ channels is minimal.”
“In short, is it worth the time we invest in it to try to generate new business and brand awareness? Yes! Is it going to change my business and generate tons of new business? Not in the near future.”
Freedman says the best advice is to never give up. Remember to look at what your competitors are doing and do it better.
Facebook is a great way to get your marketing messages out. The messages pop up on people’s wall during their “downtime”, when they have a few moments to engage with it. If you make your post interesting or entertaining, or if it holds the promise of saving them money (for instance, if it has a coupon) they may well share your message, thereby opening up new audiences for your business. But the best way to get that message further afield is to spend a few dollars either boosting a post or through Facebook advertising. Facebook is just like any other marketing channel — you need to watch it closely for performance and tinker with your strategy to help you get results. Even if you don’t see the immediate return on investment, the brand awareness Facebook can help you generate can make all the difference when your customer is in the market for new tires.