In part 1 of this series I discussed merchandising and web display best practices that improve conversions, turn vehicles faster and attract online shoppers to your inventory. In this blog, I’d like to share one of the newest and more engaging online marketplace trends your dealership should start preparing for to stay competitive, maximize exposure and be the first to grab consumers’ attention.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Facebook is leading the charge when it comes to new technologies in visual content. Not too long ago, it began giving preferential treatment in its algorithm for video content. The next huge step that the company took was to release Facebook live video, which enables users to stream live video content to their networks. Most recently, it introduced features which allow panoramic and 360-degree interactive photo displays, both on desktops and mobile devices.
All signs point to virtual reality content. At Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference in April of this year, Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company is working on a virtual reality version of Facebook, Facebook Places. This certainly explains Facebook’s recent purchase of the popular VR company Oculus Rift, for $2 billion.
However, before Facebook Places rolls out, it will probably need to start integrating user-generated VR content because, well, Facebook is all about user-generated content. Sure, publishers are entering the game, as of course are advertisers. But, in a virtual reality version of Facebook, ads will probably morph into more product placement-type ads. Perhaps the ad is a billboard in the virtual world? We’ll have to wait and see.
Facebook and your dealership
But let’s get to what’s important here: how can your dealership take advantage of this evolution right now? How can you use current technology to stand out from the competition?
While VR will soon dominate everyone’s news feeds and should be something to keep an eye on for the future. Right now, preferential treatment is being given to video content (including 360-degree video) and panoramic images that automatically become interactive when posted on Facebook.
The richer and more interactive your content, the more Facebook likes it and adds it to newsfeeds. This type of content is also more attractive to viewers. You can easily use this to your advantage and extend your dealership’s reach to your Facebook fans, both organically and with paid ads. Capturing 360-degree panoramas of your inventory to encourage more interactions and activity on your page. However, be wise about the use and don’t do this for every piece of inventory. Choose one or two pieces per week, perhaps highlighting an interesting or unique model — don’t flood your feed, be selective, peak interest and start a conversation.
Learn from your customer interactions
Getting viewers to actually interact with the content won’t be difficult if you have engaging videos and thoughtful insights. Keeping in touch with your customers through social media will boost engagement as well. Perhaps tag a customer who purchased that model, share and be sure to reply to any comments. Remember your basic rules of social engagement. It’s not good enough to simply post the content. Listen to your audience and, when they engage with your dealership, engage back. By monitoring these conversations and engaging with individuals, they know you are listening and will be more likely to develop an interest in doing business with your dealership.
Take advantage of this evolving landscape of content on Facebook to stay ahead of the competition and engage with more customers. If done right, it will increase revenue. And that’s the goal of all marketing.