In simpler times, dealerships sent a broad advertising message through local media. Then they gauged success based on how many people visited the showroom carrying a copy of their local newspaper, said Darin Wade, general manager of Krause Auto Group with two stores in the Atlanta area.
If the Internet helped light a fire incinerating that method of advertising, then social media have been the gasoline. And for dealers, Facebook is the fuel of choice.
In his 27 years in the car business, Wade has seen a rapid shift. Just a couple of years ago, when he was a partner at a Ford store in Albuquerque, N.M., much of a dealership's social media marketing ability revolved around building up a following on its Facebook page. "You had to get consumers to 'like' your page to market to them," he said.
Since he joined Krause about a year and half ago, the game has changed. Now, page likes are unnecessary, thanks to tools Facebook has launched for specific advertising campaigns, Wade said.
"What we found is targeting, by using Facebook's dynamic advertising back-end tools, we can choose these custom audiences," he said. Wade can tailor advertising based on geographic area, gender, age group and income level. The dealership's advertisements find Facebook users regardless of whether they like its page. Then Wade can see the number of clicks.