Have you ever become frustrated trying to call a business with no answer? Or, if you leave a message, they don’t return the call? In some cases, you may decide not to do future business with them because of their lack of customer service. The same can be said for your prospects and customers connected to you on your dealership’s Facebook page.

Social media is a platform of engagement. Based on a recent study by Social Habit, 42% of consumers who complain in social media expect a response in 60 minutes. Does this mean you need to stay alert 24/7 to respond to a 2 a.m. comment? Not exactly. What it does mean is you should make Facebook management a priority in your dealership. The good news is this responsibility doesn’t have to be a full-time job. Read on for several simple strategies to drive engagement — and business —with your dealership’s Facebook page.

Create an Engaging Page

First things first. Before you can expect engagement on Facebook, you need to populate it with interesting content. It’s important to designate someone who has the capacity to update the page and respond to questions. This person will be the voice of the dealership, so make sure they are comfortable with the platform and know how to post as the page and not through their individual account. Updates do not have to occur every hour. Even a post every week is acceptable. The key is to be consistent and provide continuous updates. These updates can include upcoming sales, a “shout out” to the employee of the month or links to how-to videos from your manufacturer. Don’t forget to inform your current customers about your page through in-store signage, newsletters, receipts, statements and your website.

Use Tools to Manage Your Page

It may seem like a daunting task to continuously monitor your Facebook page to respond to comments or posts. However, it can be very simple. The person who is designated as the administrator can set up e-mail alerts to be notified when someone comments on a post, shares something on the page or sends a private message to the page. With alerts, you will know immediately if someone posts a comment that needs a response.

And yes, there’s an “app” for that. If you have a smart phone or tablet, you can download the “Pages” application from the Apple Apps store or Google Play store. The app allows you to easily post to the page, view comments and messages and respond. You can also set up push notifications on your phone every time someone comments or posts to your page.

Engage Prospects with Advertising

Now that you have your current customers engaged, take it to the next level with Facebook advertising. Advertising is not only for new prospects or a custom audience. It can also be targeted to current fans and their friends.

You can utilize Facebook Offers to create or promote coupons, offers and discounts, says Stephanie Patterson, engagement manager at Osborn Barr and social networking specialist. Patterson further explains that Facebook’s Ad Create Tool helps you create the ad or offer, starting with the goal in mind. For example, what are you trying to achieve with the advertisement you are running? Is it page likes or clicks to your website? Do you want the audience to download an app or redeem the offer? Based on your priorities, Facebook helps structure the ad placement to achieve your goal.

The next step is to select the most relevant targeting option. You can target your audience and messaging by geography, age, gender, language and interests (farming, agriculture, etc.). You can also target by your connections, which can be all people connected to your page already (your fans), people not connected with your page (possible new fans) or advanced connection targeting, which allows you to target or exclude people from any page, app or event you currently manage. This is also where you’ll find “friend of fans” or “friends connected to,” Patterson explains.

Facebook advertising budgets can be set per day or a lump sum for the length of the campaign. Patterson recommends budgeting per day to best monitor the amount you spend on advertising. You can also set your bid based on page likes, clicks or impressions. Here’s a link to more ideas: https://www.facebook.com/business/goals/drive-in-store-sales

Follow these simple tips and the next time someone posts a comment, you won’t leave them hanging. Your dealership will be on its way to an engaging social media presence with customers and prospects alike.

Originally published in 2014