Why IDS RV and Marine Dealers Must Invest Time in a Facebook Page

By Jenn Varela – IDS Contributor

Everywhere we turn we’re surrounded by businesses asking us to “Like” them on Facebook.  Our friends and family are using Facebook to keep up on the latest news and information.  It seems that Facebook has become the sort of one-stop-shop for all information.  You get whatever you want delivered right to your newsfeed and the information is custom designed by you.  You decide what friends you want to see status updates from.  You also decide what business pages you like, resulting in the information that displays in your newsfeed.  And if you didn’t know, that also plays a part in what advertisements you see displayed on the right-hand side of your screen when your computer’s signed into Facebook.

If that last paragraph hasn’t gotten you thinking, maybe this next statement will…

FREE ADVERTISING.

That’s right!  It’s free to create a business page for your RV or Marine business – and who doesn’t like free, right?  Creating an RV or Marine dealership page allows you to post upcoming sales, fun events happening at your business, a change in business hours due to a holiday or weather conditions and any other information that’s important to your customers.  It’s a vessel your business can use to promote, announce, ask questions, and become more familiar with your customers.  It’s essentially a word of mouth outlet.

Word of Mouth and How it Works

Facebook is an easy way to develop a word of mouth community for your business.  If one person “Likes” your page, their group of friends will see that.  If it’s interesting to them, they may immediately “Like” your page or head over to your page to see what it’s all about.  If they like what they see, they may “Like” your page and then all of their friends will see that action take place and the cycle continues.  Another thing to note is that by the end of April 2012 there were roughly 901 million users on Facebook. Imagine the possibilities!

Facebook Ads

Although Facebook allows you to create ads to target specific people in a region and drill down to specific demographics, it’s not a requirement.  Creating ads, however, can help spread the word about your Marine or RV business, especially if you have a specialty niche that may not be as easily spread by word of mouth.  You can target specific users that you know will be interested in what your business has to offer.

Why Customers Love Businesses on Facebook

People love to “Like” business pages for all sorts of reasons.  Sometimes they “Like” a page if they feel the page will offer special incentives or coupons.  Sometimes, the customer just loves the business so much they want to stay informed on every possible avenue they can.  Other people love to get involved with the business.  It makes them feel sort of like a VIP member.  Having a Facebook page to go to and leave comments and suggestions and having the ability to talk to other consumers about your products is important to them.  People also love to get to know the employees of a business.  It makes them feel as if the business and the employees are real people who care about their customers and not just workers.

Customers will also go to a business Facebook page to see if there are any customer reviews about a product and how the business handles complaints.  If there are complaints on the business Facebook page that have not been addressed by the business, most people will move on to another business with a similar product.  People like to know that a business cares about its product and the people it sells to.  Having a business Facebook page gives the consumers a common ground to come and form a community where they can talk about your product and get feedback not only from other consumers, but from the business as well.

All in One Place

The beauty of Facebook is that the customer never has to leave where they are already at.  Most people will wake up and instead of reading the morning newspaper, they check their Facebook.  They get out of work and check their Facebook.  It’s the Grand Central Station of news information these days.  If they see an ad on a billboard or TV but don’t have time to grab the phone number, they can look on Facebook and see if the business has a page. It’s possible the business is running a special on Facebook and all of their pertinent information is right on their page.  There’s no need to even go to the business website or look up the phone number. And once they “Like” the page, they now get reminders and updates on that business in their personal newsfeed everyday right along with the updates from friends and families. This eliminates them from trying to remember the website they saw on the billboard.  All they have to do is remember the business name and look it up on Facebook.

What’s in it for You?

It’s great that the customers are getting all the benefit out of your business Facebook page, but how is it going to help your business?  How about instant feedback?  If you have an RV or Marine product and would like to know what the public thinks about it, ask them!  Your customers will be more than happy to tell you.

Chances are your business isn’t the only business that offers what you have.  There’s also a pretty good chance that your competition already has a business Facebook page.  If your customers are looking for you on Facebook and can’t find your business, you run the serious risk that they’ll find your competitor and you could lose a customer.

Help your customers find you!  Google and Bing index social media pages, so having a business Facebook page helps you with search engine optimization.  When a customer types in Google search words looking for your business, or a business similar to yours, you’d prefer yours to show up.  You need to create as many ways as you can for customers to find you.  But in order for your Facebook page to be indexed, it must stay active. This means posting updates on a regular basis.

All of this does take time, but in the long run you’re creating an extension of your RV or Marine business.  It’s a place your customers can go and trust your business because they feel they know you.  And that will not only turn your fans into leads, but your leads into customers, and your customers into friends.
Jenn Varela is a Social Media Coordinator and blog contributor who has been involved with the RV and Marine industry for the last 12 years. Working for companies, such as Integrated Dealer Systems (IDS) and Signify Marketing, allows her to develop and implement effective Social Media campaigns for a variety of different businesses within the industry. While at IDS, she worked hand in hand with dealers teaching them how to effectively use technology to increase productivity and profitability.

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