Facebook’s “Check In” – An Untapped Social Media Marketing Tool

In the past few articles, we’ve established that many businesses, predominantly in the automotive industry, misuse social media by not taking advantage of the tools that are available to them. Factors include lack of commitment and involvement, but most importantly, an unwillingness to be creative and think outside the box. As demonstrated with car dealerships, staying confined to irrelevant content and refusing to use digital media are just a few examples of staying within lines and parameters that dealers have put themselves in. With that being said, social media marketing is so much more than ads and posting content, it can actually be beneficial in how you target audiences both through traditional forms of advertising, and on social media.

Facebook allows their users to “check in” whenever they eat at a restaurant, visit a tourist attraction, when they go to the gym, attend a sporting event, etc. As a consumer yourself, have you ever “checked in”, telling your friends where you are, or what experiences you’re having? That one Facebook post that says you’re dining at the Italian restaurant in town, unintentionally promoted the restaurant’s brand to all your friends. Potentially, that’s an additional 500 to a few thousand people that were reached at no expense for that restaurant, which is free advertisement. This modern form of “word of mouth” can have the same effect for your dealership. Here’s how.

When a customer buys a vehicle, or comes in for maintenance, encourage them to “check in”. Most dealerships offer online prices that can range from a few hundred to $2000 off the listed price. For these prices to carry any marketing weight, urge the buyer to “check in” to lock in the deal by posting a status. This post serves the purpose of free advertisement and promotion, while also giving the customer reassurance that they made the right decision by purchasing the vehicle that was on your lot.

If your dealership has a service department; during the time of year when customers bring in their vehicles to be winterized, once again encourage the owner to “check in”. Usually dealerships have coupons or other incentives, such as 10% off an oil change or tire rotation, and to fully take advantage of the offers you’re promoting, having the customers lock in their coupon by posting a status of them at your dealership, you’re maximizing your social media marketing on a fixed budget

Facebook “check in” is more than just further promoting your brand and being very cost efficient with marketing, it’s actually a social media form of analytics. When a customer “checks in”, your Facebook page gets notified. You know who bought a car or brought their vehicle in for maintenance, and now you have the basis of a customer database. This database will help you advertise and promote your dealership on social media with more accuracy and precision. You’ll know the demographics of your customers, a general idea of their age, gender, and where they live, thanks to how much information Facebook users publicly display on their profiles.

These statistics can then be applied when you advertise on Facebook. Since Facebook ads allow you to target audiences, you’re now marketing with 20/20 vision, as apposed to promoting your page and statuses blind with no idea what your customers’ demographics are. This will allow you to get the most out of your marketing budget when you create ad campaigns.

Dealerships, or any businesses for that matter, can be very conservative when it comes to spending on social media. Facebook “check in” is not only cost efficient due to the free promotion by statuses from your customers, but you’re documenting who is buying from your dealership which will make your ad campaigns much more effective. Content, even at it’s best, needs an audience to receive engagement. Instead of committing a lot of money when you don’t know who you’re targeting, use the tools that social media platforms have to offer. It’s not only beneficial in terms of retaining the marketing budget you’ve been given, but you’re also receiving valuable insight in who your customers and clients are.

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