Auto Parts Marketing on Facebook – A 10,000 Foot View

With rare exceptions, Facebook is one of the most important marketing tools in the auto part and accessory industry.

  • Facebook is the place where many enthusiasts discover specific parts and learn about brands
  • Facebook is where a lot of enthusiasts learn about various upgrades and add-ons
  • Facebook is where many consumers form opinions about quality and value

In this post, we’re going to look at the marketing tactics and techniques that many after-market automotive brands and retailers use to promote themselves on Facebook, but we’re going to do it from a “big picture” perspective. This post is for managers, owners, and CEOs.

Auto parts marketing on Facebook

If you’re looking for a “big picture” view of auto parts marketing on Facebook, this post is for you.

First, Understand That There Are No Free Lunches

If you’re using Facebook for promotion, understand that it is nearly 100% “pay to play.” The days of posting a cool image or meme to Facebook and gettings thousands (or tens of thousands) of free views are long gone. If you post an update to your business page, no one is going to see that update unless you pay for a “boost” or you specifically advertise the post.

The days of sharing an update on your Facebook business page and getting lots of free promotion on that update are OVER.

The days of sharing an update on your Facebook business page and getting lots of free promotion on that update are OVER.

The reasons for this are simple. First, Facebook makes a lot of money this way (duh). Second, Facebook has to filter the number of items in a user’s news feed in order to keep things manageable. As far back as August 2013, the average user could have been shown as many as 1,500 items in their news feed. These items – be they status updates from friends and family, new photo upload notifications, trending topics, etc – can’t possibly be viewed by every user every day. So, Facebook’s been steadily increasing the filter on each user’s news feed, and business page updates have been mostly eliminated from the average user’s news feed.

As of the middle of 2014 (or perhaps a bit earlier), the so-called “organic reach” of business page updates fell to just about zero. This means that businesses have to pay for impressions if they want to get their message in front of fans.

Second, Understand That Facebook Cares About Quality

While Facebook hasn’t tightened the “quality” screw too tightly, the day is coming. We’ve seen Facebook implement rules about what a status update can and can not say (businesses can’t ask fans to “like” or “share” a status update any longer, even if they pay). We’ve seen Facebook limit the amount of text in shared images. We’ve also seen Facebook implement a “relevancy” score, which – much like the AdWords quality score – is a proxy for ad click-thru rate.

While this relevancy score isn’t yet being used to penalize poor quality ads and reward high-quality ads, that day is almost certainly coming. When it does, businesses will be expected to target their advertising carefully or face a punitive advertising cost.

Three, Understand That Facebook Marketing Is All About Storytelling

The most compelling Facebook updates tell a story. Facebook users are often on their phone or tablet, typically first thing in the morning or in the late evening after dinner, and they are generally interested in news items from friends and family. Facebook users typically want to see positive, simple stories that feel good to like or share.

As a result, the best Facebook ads tell a story in stages (aka “sequenced” ads that tell the story in a series of chunks). Facebook has published some great data here, but the long and short of it is here in this chart:

Sequenced advertising on Facebook

So-called ‘sequenced’ ads work far better in terms of conversions than simple messages blasted over and over. Image via Facebook.com

Some of the best stories that automotive part and accessory companies can tell on Facebook are:

  1. Stories about product design and development, broken down step by step
  2. Stories about project vehicles, showing the progress of the build from start to completion
  3. Stories about customers tackling modifications and projects
  4. Stories about issues customers care about (based on the interests of your audience)

Whatever story you tell, make sure it’s positive and has a good personal component.

Four, Utilize Facebook’s Amazing Data Tools

One of the smartest things any business can do is to create a custom audience from website visitors (or, if your site is popular enough, custom audiences for specific product types). Creating a custom audience is as simple as placing some tracking code on your website, which will track everyone that visits your site and connect them to a Facebook profile. This connection between a site visit and a Facebook user allows for some incredible data sharing. You can:

  • View demographic info of the people in your custom audience, from average age and household status to income levels
  • Learn if your audience has an affinity for specific celebrities or causes
  • Learn about which industry your audience works in, veteran status, pet ownership, etc. etc.

At some point, it’s likely that Facebook will require businesses to advertise in order to access this data. For now, however, this information is free…so if you haven’t already seen it, it’s time to get your team to create a custom audience for you.

Finally, Facebook Is All About Mobile

Our last 10k foot view item is this: Facebook users are usually on their phones. That means that you need to either:

  1. Make sure your site is mobile friendly or
  2. Exclude phone users from your advertising

This is a very tactical tidbit, but it’s crucial to understand. Facebook users are increasingly checking for newsfeed updates on their phones while they wait in line, enjoy a few minutes of downtime, etc. A campaign (and landing page) that are mobile-friendly are far more likely to succeed.

Obviously, there’s a lot more to Facebook marketing than these five tips. However, if you’re trying to determine where your company can make headway on Facebook – or trying to manage a marketing effort on Facebook – these five tips should help.

If you want to learn more about how we help our clients manage Facebook, please contact us.

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Auto parts in the cardbox. Automotive basket shop. Auto parts store.