Facebook Messenger: A dealer’s secret marketing weapon

Joe Iribarren, Beyond Creative
By Joe Iribarren

Facebook Messenger is a tool many people use for messaging friends on the fly – but did you know it's also a secret marketing weapon?

The platform has some valuable options that you can leverage to improve customer service, promote your inventory and more.

Messenger has rapidly become some dealers' preferred way to connect with existing and potential customers. Not convinced about its awesome powers? Here are some stats that may change your mind:

• Messenger open rates are 70% higher than email.

• Facebook users exchange over 20 billion messages with businesses every month.

• Messenger has over 2 million monthly downloads in the US alone.

Impressive, right? Here are five powerful yet easy ways to use Facebook Messenger to market your dealership.

1. Remind Customers About Appointments

If you allow customers to book appointments with you on Facebook using the "Book Now" button, be sure to use Messenger to remind them about their appointments. Leverage this feature to cut down on missed showroom and service appointments.

To turn on the button, click the blue call-to-action button on your business page. Choose the "Book with You" option and complete your appointment preferences. When done, go to your inbox and click the Automated Responses menu.

Scroll down until you see the Follow-Up options, then click to enable Appointment Reminders. Messenger will send an automated reminder 24 hours before the scheduled appointment.

Be mindful that Facebook has rules regarding how often businesses can send messages. Stay informed on their guidelines as they often change.

2. Spark New Conversations

Do you have compelling content to promote? If so, look into using the "Get Messages" feature on your next Facebook post. While publishing a post to Facebook, you'll see a list of options below where you enter your text. One of them is "Get Messages," which allows people who view your post to click to send your page a message.

The best use of this feature is to promote lead magnets. A lead magnet can be something as simple as a promotion your dealer is running. Those interested will click the Send Message button to request more information. You should then ask them for their contact details to provide them with the full scope of your offer.

3. Keep People Informed

Some dealers closed their showrooms completely, limited walk-in traffic, or changed their hours of operation as they navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. It's essential to keep your loyal followers informed about what's happening with your dealership.

Facebook Messenger is a super tool to keep your audience up to date about ongoing changes. Set up a chatbot and ask your followers to opt-in to receive content via Messenger. Once they do, you can send them your latest blog posts or email blasts right in the Messenger app.

4. Answer Frequently Asked Questions

Some dealers have Frequently Asked Questions on their websites, but most don't know they can interactively use Messenger for that purpose, too. To set up a FAQ on Facebook, go to your Facebook inbox and scroll down to Automated Responses. Then, enable the option for Frequently Asked Questions.

A screen that allows you to tap a plus sign to add questions will come up. It works differently from a regular FAQ. When someone messages your business page, they'll get a list of FAQs, and they can tap the question of their choice to get your previously entered response.

Here are some Messenger FAQ best practices to follow:

• Keep your answers short and to the point.

• Ensure the information you provide matches that on your website.

• Make it clear that the responses are automated.

• Double-check all links to make sure they work.

Setting up an automated FAQ is an excellent way to be sure prospects' questions get answered quickly. It will also help turn on a badge that lets customers know you promptly respond to messages.

5. Run Ads Targeting Those Who Messaged Your Page

While all the methods above are useful, I've saved the Messenger Ninja Hack for last. Use the Custom Audience feature on Facebook to create ads targeting people who have messaged your dealer's page.

Click the "Add People to Your Audience" option and select "People who sent a message to your page" option. Next to it, you can fill in your chosen time frame. I recommend going back a year unless there's a reason you want a narrower time frame. If you've ever used Facebook Messenger to conduct a survey, you can even create ads targeting specific responses.

What's genuinely nifty about this tool is that it offers an affordable way to engage in highly targeted marketing. When you consider Messenger's high open rate, there's an excellent chance that prospects will see your ad. That's not always the case with more traditional Facebook ads displayed on the News Feed.

Facebook Messenger is much more than a fun app for friends to connect. Use its powerful marketing potential to communicate with prospects and customers on a personal level, boost conversions, and increase your profits.

Joe Iribarren is the owner and founder of Beyond Creative Growth Agency. He has been involved with internet marketing for 15 years and is active in fishing, wakeboarding and boating. Contact him at joe@gobeyondcreative.com.

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