Over the past several years we have witnessed the rise of social media to actual “lead generation”. In the early days of social media and e-commerce (you know, back in 2000) it was all hype. Heck, way back in 1999, Mark Cuban, out spoken billionaire, and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, purchased a personal business jet via an online transaction. He clicked through and paid $40 million for a Gulfstream GV. It was thought to be the largest e-commerce transaction of all time. The point here is, online activities have grown steadily every year since I can remember.
The question most business owners have been asking themselves is this, “So, How does social media lead generation work?” If the answer to that question is “No” in their personal paradigm, then it’s unlikely that any social media advertising budget exists at that business. This is my personal analysis derived from contacting thousands of car dealers and small business owners the past 7-years. If a business owner had referrals from one of the many Dealer 20 Groups or a close personal business associate, well then it’s a go. If not, then social media can go by the wayside and will most likely not get any attention.
Social Media Lead Generation requires investment of time or money. If you invest both, ROI is quicker and you’ll see more calls, leads, and sales. I prefer the later method as most small businesses can certainly afford a nominal daily investment in Facebook PPC. I do not use Google Adwords for this area, but it could be implemented. I prefer Facebook as it allows for ultra specific targeting of your niche prospect. This allows you to allocate your advertising dollars towards a very narrow objective. When you advertise on TV, Radio, Newspaper, and Outdoor, you get a cross-section of American culture who could care less about what your offering. On top of that, it’s very difficult to measure. Social media platforms, especially Facebook offer small business owners highly targeted campaigns never before available in any form of advertising capacity. If your not yet allocating some of your advertising budget to Facebook, reach out to someone with experience on the platform. You will be pleasantly surprised at how effective it can be. ROI for business owners is better than anything else currently available. I know dealers who spent $10,000 last month on Direct Mail and have not yet tried Facebook advertising.
I have a client who wanted to boost LIKES on Facebook and improve fan page reach. They offer services in the automotive niche that are purchased by predominately males, aged 18-35. We setup a targeted LIKE campaign to show advertisements in the News Feed, Right-Hand Side, and Mobile. This was a LIKE campaign designed to grow targeted page LIKES and we were not trying to sell anything. Our goal was to grown the business page organically will a small daily budget to gain exposure to those prospects we could reach via traditional advertising mediums. I setup the platform targeting males between the ages of 18 to 35. The advertising would not be shown to any female across the Facebook platform. We also added local geography parameters by city to keeping it local, added groups that the males might be interested in and what you get are highly targeted people who are the most likely to buy a specific product.
Why would anyone spend advertising dollars on anything so “un-targeted” and disconnected from potential prospect anymore? I suggested they allocate at least $10/day or $300/month to the campaigns and run them continuously. My goal is to monitor at various stages throughout the week. We can make adjustments at any time or pause campaigns if needed. As the results started to pour in, it became increasingly clear this particular client had found an advertising medium that could generate leads from social media. As the business expands into other service areas, it’s possible that some traditional advertising will be implemented in the future as this business owner’s offering expand into demographics to include more than the 18 to 35 year old males.
So now when someone asks, “How does social media lead generation work?” I discuss this clients success. The Facebook fan page has doubled since last summer where it stood without investment at 1500-Fans. After the campaigns were started, and we started giving Facebook money (because that’s how you get your ads viewed now-a-days), the fan base has grown over 100% and the Post Reach in this example touched 3700! Most small car dealers don’t get that many people to view the inventory in a month via the dealership website. This is happening on 1-post! Not every post will obviously be this good, but I think you get the point. If you invest a little bit into social media you will see substantial results. If you had a basic Facebook Fan Page with 3,000 fans (who honestly liked your brand, dealership, service department, sales team, parts department, and so on) and you could communicate with this audience for FREE, would you invest a small amount to potentially generate some leads?
You cannot however “sell to” this group of social media fans. They are a sacred group of dedicated loyalists to you and your brand. They are the most likely to evangelize your dealership when treated well. They chose to LIKE a Car Dealer’s Facebook Fan Page. They are not normal people, but rather the greatest asset your dealership could ever ask for. The database of email addresses you cherish are a tremendously valuable asset too, but social media fans and followers of your a brand represent something no email address can do. These people can easily communicate with you, tell you what they are looking for in a dealership, discuss service issues, problems in their last visit to the service department, or compliment you on how great the new car purchase recently went. All of this is going to be shown to potentially thousands of your fans friends and friends, friends. they can instantly see the “Service Offer” or Coupon only available to Facebook Fans. Don’t make available to anyone else. Do not send it to your email database and do not offer locally in the newspaper, radio, or TV. Treat you social media prospects, fans, followers in a different way.