Thanks to an estimated 80% turnover rate on sales teams, dealership managers know the challenges of efficiently hiring and training new salespeople.
One thing that can complicate this inevitable revolving door is social media. On Facebook, many dealership salespeople have chosen to set up their own business Facebook pages. This form of personal branding has been shown to help any dealership stimulate its sales efforts, but it comes with a hefty list of rules and exceptions.
Good salespeople just want to provide personal help. It’s in their nature. So, it’s no wonder that our agency sees personal business pages propagating on Facebook.
Personal business pages are made with good intentions — relationships matter, after all — but they do come with risks that every dealership manager needs to understand.
Here are five reasons why it’s important for your dealership to retain control of all of its related social media assets.
The Value of Fleeting Attention
Facebook claims to host more than 80 million business pages, and all of these have very limited time to make an impression on any of the billions of Facebook users. With fleeting attention spans and limited organic reach, your dealership has only a few seconds to connect with in-market leads. For this reason alone, it’s important that the first impression is made with a store-branded, store-controlled Facebook page.
Those of us who make a living off of Facebook advertising for auto dealers are very familiar with the restrictions of OEM co-op programs. Every time a lease or finance offer is shown online, brands require it to be properly disclaimed. If your salespeople are sharing offers on their own Facebook business pages, you can’t ensure that they’re managing the terms and conditions to OEM standards.
If a salesperson is actively messaging leads on his or her own business page, and that salesperson leaves the store, how can you ensure a seamless experience for that lead? Furthermore, what if that lead decides to follow the salesperson to another dealership? Both of these are important considerations, but this need for data consistency is also reflected in data. If you’re like most dealerships, you’re paying thousands of dollars for proper CRM and DMS data tracking. Quality assurance can only really be assured as far as your digital presence, so make sure your sales and marketing managers have the keys to any and all Facebook business pages used by your staff.
Confusion for the Leads
For new leads, the assumption is that a dealership has its digital ducks in a row. With an 80% turnover rate, the remaining 20% of your sales team are likely managing your dealership’s repeat customers. If you ask a salesperson why he or she might be running a personal business Facebook page, they’re likely doing so to boost customer retention and loyalty. While it is incredibly important to retain current customers with sales and marketing efforts, it’s also important to provide a clear entryway for new leads. And if a lead’s first touchpoint is a personal business page, they’re likely going to question if they’re talking to the right person before setting foot on your lot.
Your dealership has one logo, so why should it have more than one social media page? Your dealership likely invests thousands of dollars in branding, marketing, and advertising every year. You also invest the same amount (if not more) in training your team to care about the marketing/sales process. Why complicate that investment? Consolidating your Facebook pages into one “hub” will allow your marketing team to quickly deploy ads and respond to customers in a uniform manner.
For these reasons, it’s important for your dealership to keep an intentional grip on marketing assets — including Facebook pages. If you’re faced with the decision to build or delete a personally branded page on Facebook, stop and evaluate the pros and cons.
Here’s what you can do to ensure a well-branded presence for your dealership on Facebook:
- Create a policy for your staff. If personal business pages are the right fit for your dealership, go for it! If they’re not, make sure that rule is clear to everyone.
- Hire a good marketing manager or agency to look out for rogue Facebook pages. In many cases, a veteran salesperson might bring a page from his or her previous employer, which will need to be assessed by your team.
- Understand that not all personally branded pages are bad. If your sales team does want to manage their own personal pages, hear them out! In some cases, it might make sense for a team member to manage his or her own page — just set up some guidelines.
- Educate your team on other ways to connect with and retain loyal customers. Personal emails, text messaging, personal website pages, and even integrating your sales team into the Messenger part of your Facebook page are all good alternatives.
Help Your Sales and Marketing Teams Collaborate on the World’s Largest Social Network
Every day, dealership managers are faced with specific sales and marketing questions. Real progress happens when your sales and marketing efforts align.
One way to prevent marketing mishaps — the kind that happen on personal Facebook pages — is to educate your sales team on the specifics of your marketing plan. Show them how the leads find your inventory online. Show them what your Facebook page does.
Show your salespeople how they can help. After all, that’s what they’re paid to do.
Did you enjoy this article from John Nelson? Read other articles from him here.
While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest auto industry news from CBT News.
This has been a JBF Business Media production.