BY RON CARIKER
Is it time to abandon Facebook for your business? That seems like blasphemy to many of you that have invested years of resources to garner those hundreds and thousands of likes and fans. But with recent news bringing to light the pitfalls of engaging with Facebook and your personal data being shared to those you’d never share it with many businesses are saying enough. I bet when you created that business page you never thought you’d have to learn about or deal with Russia, Cambridge Analytica or Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook has thrown up hurdle after hurdle for you to overcome. You have built a strong presence on the platform but then Facebook flipped the script and told you if you want to reach them more effectively you must pay. And all this after they encouraged you to invest money into getting those fans to begin with. How much faith and trust are you willing to give Facebook? Are you willing to continue to be at their mercy for simply talk to your customers?
Leaving Facebook is not difficult for everyone. Who has told Facebook they are done and have deleted their accounts on the social media giant recently:
- Commerzbank - Germany’s second largest bank.
- Mozilla - Open-source web browser giant Firefox.
- Pep Boys - Auto parts retailer.
- SpaceX and Tesla
As a powersports dealer your business thrives on sharing the culture and enthusiasm of your industry. Sharing pictures and videos of new bikes and great events you throw is a staple of your social media success. But at the end of the day who are you engaging? Have you looked at your analytics to see if those efforts are engaging NEW customers? Or are you simply talking to the same group of people day in and day out? The same people that already come visit you weekly to share in your events and sales.
As more and more consumers pull back from the social media platforms because they are confused and cautious you have an incredible opportunity to use other tools to better engage your customers on your terms. You must stop being at the mercy of the big digital giants when you want to communicate with your passionate customers. The platform Facebook and others afford you is for pictures and videos and other engaging content. Consider what you can do on your own:
- Use your website you’ve invested a great deal of money and time into. It’s where your customers typically first find you anyway. You can post pictures, video, blog posts and more for your customers and you control the conversation without needing Facebook to facilitate it.
- Do a better job of advancing your existing marketing tools like a mobile club. Customers trust you way more than any social platform. So use that to your advantage and ask them to share their mobile number so you can keep them in the know.
- Strengthen your blog and email list. You control these channels and you have more than enough content to continue to build your own audience.
- Shift gears to other social media platforms that you feel you have more control and engagement opportunities.
As I’ve said in numerous previous blogs, you have such a tremendous depth of customer data and information that many dealers do not leverage. In most cases you don’t have the technical tools to reach them. But mobile marketing gives you the best opportunity to reach them and then some. Developing that mobile strategy with a text club, mobile location targeting, etc… to reach those customers without any barrier from social media platforms or advertising mediums should be a top priority.
It’s probably not practical to abandon the 800-pound gorilla of social media but you need to seriously consider your longterm digital strategy. Your future customers of Generation Z & the Millennials are not leaving Facebook though, because most of them were never there to begin with. So what will you do next year or in 5 years to grow your digital audience?
Ron Cariker is owner/president of 7 Media Group, a diverse mobile marketing firm based in the U.S. and the leading mobile provider for the powersports industry. Ron and his company have worked with over 150 dealers across the U.S. for the past 8 1/2 years.