Auto dealerships among least liked types of Facebook pages

by · June 22, 2010

Earlier this month HubSpot released some data revealing the most “Liked” types of pages on Facebook. This week they released data on the least “Liked” pages on Facebook and in this data was something not surprising and also quite telling about auto dealerships.

According to their research, HubSpot determined that the average number of fans across all Facebook pages and types was 624. They used this number as the marker for most liked versus least liked. Page types with more than 624 were classified as most liked and pages with fewer than 624 were classified as least liked.

Movies, TV Shows, and books were by and far the most liked types of pages. The other types of most liked, which came nowhere near as liked as these 3 were celebrities, stars, personalities, and public figures, large public venues such as museums and airports, government stuff, and surprisingly local businesses.

In the least liked category were things such as websites, retailers, boring local businesses such as banks and libraries, etc. Also in the least likes category were local automotive dealerships and vehicle services which you can see in the embedded image of this post. In fact, dealership Facebook pages average about 150 fans. Considering that the average dealership has upwards to 20k or 30k customers in the DMS, this number seems too low.

What does this tell us? Does this suggest that Facebook is not a viable place for car dealers to be investing? I am sure that the dealers with hundreds (and in some instances thousands) of fans will argue differently. Maybe this tells us that the approach dealers are taking with Facebook isn’t cutting it. Or maybe that’s just the way that it is.

In my experience using Facebook for car dealers I have found that it is a stretch for an outside party, alas a vendor, to make Facebook an impacting leg for dealers when no one at the dealer level is involved. Between the nature of the car business and the nature of social media, it is a tough mesh.

But when someone at the dealership gets behind the idea and drives it home, utilizing the content marketing services of an outside firm, the results are much different. These dealers are able to concentrate on the conversation, engaging with individuals or groups of individuals in regards to not only their automotive needs and interests but other personal interests too. After all, people buy cars from people, not companies.

To make Facebook a success, I argue that you must find a unique and distinctive role for it. Using Facebook to create a replica of your website does not eliminate the cull de sac syndrome that car dealer websites are subject to where the visitor experience is limited to give me all your contact info and I’ll give you moor product info or let’s get married on our first date together. Essentially you must find a way to use Facebook to add value to customers in ways the website can not accomplish.

For instance, your website is effective at generating leads of in-market buyers. That said, leveraging Facebook to cultivate prospects farther out in the buying funnel could be an ideal approach, thus plastering your Facebook page with OEM specials probably won’t do the trick because it’s not unique content. The OEM sites have that information and so do the dealer sites. The edge in social media is unique and compelling content.

Research like this need not be a deterrent for dealers to get off of Facebook. Quite the contrary. The challenge remains for dealers and automotive vendors to seek viable strategies. Success must be defined which may require performing an analysis of how much a website visitor referred from your Facebook page is with, then putting together a plan to achieve that which meets the targeted budget to satisfy the ROI. Some known ways to accomplish this include giveaways, contests, and polls.

Producer and Host of the AutoConverse Future Mobility & Connectivity Podcast, Ryan began working in the automotive industry in 2001, establishing his roots in online vehicle merchandising before expanding into digital marketing and now multi media for Automotive B2B. You can connect with Ryan on LinkedIn.



Discussion2 Comments

  1. Varda says:

    This is a very interesting article to me, because I tried to “like” my dealership on facebook, but couldn’t find it. I have a couple of thoughts on the subject.

    First, the reason I’m looking for my dealership is that I’m 38 and trying to simplify my life. I want to hear about special offers and events on facebook instead of via email or mail because it’s less clutter for me and puts timely actionable information in a timely actionable place. Let’s face it, if I don’t act within a couple of days of a mailing, I’m not going to. Don’t let your offer become one more piece of trash I have to deal with later.

    The thing is facebook originally started as a college site, so most of their demographic is younger and has different needs. So, you’re not going to see a lot of people on facebook “liking” dealerships for my reasons – at least not yet. However, while the Gen Xers on facebook might be a smaller demographic, we’re still important (and tend to be at a good point in terms of income). Social media is not about having a large audience, it’s about having the right audience (do you really need a million people in India “liking” your dealership?).

    The second thing is that I don’t really want a relationship with my dealer outside the one I already have. You are not my friend – don’t try to be one. I’m about to “unlike” Ann Taylor because they keep clogging up my homepage with irrelevant articles. What I’m looking for from businesses is more of the same: just easier. You send birthday cards? Give me a birthday greeting on facebook! You email special offers and events? Do it on facebook! In my ideal world, the only thing I’d get in the mail would be personal letters, eBay packages and Christmas cards (I prefer to have my bills sent directly to my online bank account). The only thing I’d get in my email are things that need a reply. Facebook would have all of the announcements and chatter in 430 characters or less.

  2. Ryan G says:

    Varda you really put some things into perspective and I think that a lot of dealers today recognize this and do utilize Facebook in these ways. There is a balance that must be met however in that if all the dealer does is blast special offers in large volumes then he risks turning you off like Ann Taylor has. It would behoove a dealership to also use Facebook to provide humor and selective entertainment, current events, etc.