With Facebook Live fast becoming one of the most popular forms of engagement with customers via social media, there has never been a better time for your car dealership to get itself in the driving seat and hosting a virtual event.
Yes, since launching back in 2015, using Facebook Live has only snowballed, with viewers now able to watch events via third-party programs like Zoom. More recently, the pandemic has clearly played a huge role in how popular Facebook Live has become. While lockdown put a halt to in-person events, it put the spark back into Facebook Live. In fact, during the first month of the pandemic, in March 2020, Facebook Live saw viewer numbers rocket by 50% across America. Dealerships simply have to adapt, if they want to directly engage with today’s customers and that means weaving Facebook Live into their marketing strategy.
Modern-day shopping trends have undoubtedly changed, with more and more consumers looking to interact with car dealerships from the comfort of their own homes. In fact, 87 percent of car consumers admit to disliking actually visiting a car dealership and 54 percent of automotive shoppers said they would love to be able to buy a car from home.
It’s clear from the statistics that customers now enjoy shopping via their phone, tablet, laptop, or computer. They enjoy interacting with a business, while not actually having to visit in person, which means Facebook Live events offer the perfect hybrid between online and offline shopping.
Of course, live streaming events at your dealership doesn’t just benefit the customer, it comes with many advantages for your business too. Not only is it cost-effective to host a virtual event but you have the potential to reach a wider audience as well.
So how can your dealership run a Facebook Live event?
Before You Start
First things first, get your equipment ready. The great thing about Facebook Live events is that they don’t require any fancy equipment. All you need is a smartphone or tablet, with a built-in camera. Of course, a tripod never hurts, just for steadiness, along with a better view experience but it’s not essential.
Be sure to check your internet connection. It doesn’t matter how fancy the equipment you’re using is, if your event cuts out halfway through due to poor connection, then you’ll be in danger of losing viewers and at worst, sales.
When it comes to Facebook Live events, the saying: ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ couldn’t be more relevant. It’s vital that you plan ahead of your virtual event. Just because an event is online, doesn’t mean you should get complacent with the finer details. Consider your viewers as ‘virtual visitors’, who can easily leave your event if they’re not enjoying what they’re watching. With this in mind, you simply cannot afford not to plan efficiently. As with an in-person event, be sure to plan what will happen – but this time, while on camera – who will be in shot, who will be saying what, who your target audience is, and what are your event goals?
When setting up your live event, consider your surroundings. Be mindful of noise and lighting, to ensure your customers are getting the best experience possible while watching your live event.
Once you’re ready to ‘go live’ things couldn’t be easier, simply visit your event page and click the ‘start a live video’ button.
Before your scheduled live event, you need to promote it to your target audience, as you would if it was in person. If you want to gain viewers, you need to generate interest and the best way to do this is by creating a Facebook event, which means people will be reminded of the event in the lead-up and on the day. Share the event on your dealership’s Facebook page, and if budget allows, promote your event with a specific audience through targeted advertising.
Of course, just because it’s a Facebook live event, you don’t need to restrict promotion to just social media. Cross-promote your live event via other customer touchpoints, including emails, blogging, website banners, and other social media channels.
Plus, thanks to tools like SnapCell, it’s never been easier to create professional-looking short clips to preview what your Facebook Live event will offer. Made specifically with the automotive industry in mind, the SnapCell app allows you to create top-quality videos, including 360-degree shots of vehicles, or snapshots of your dealership, that you can then use to promote your event.
Types Of Facebook Live Events
Whether it’s a ‘vehicle preview’, or a ‘question and answer session’, there are plenty of ways for your dealership to take advantage of hosting a virtual event to your audience via Facebook Live. Here are our five favorite Facebook Live event ideas that your dealership could have a go at:
Use a Facebook Live event to show off everything your car dealership has to offer. Have you ever dreamed of being able to control exactly what a customer sees when they enter your premises? Well, now is your chance. Give viewers a virtual walk-round of your dealership, allowing them to really get a taste of what your business offers and the vehicles that are available.
Remember, events like this allow you to become the eyes and ears of your customers, so consider whether there’s a specific area of your dealership that you really want them to see, or perhaps even a particular brand.
Showcase Car Selections
Why not take things up a gear and target specific audiences by highlighting a particular selection of cards are your dealership. Get clever and consider who you want to engage with.
For example, if you have a wide selection of family cars on offer, then make your event specifically targeted towards parents and grandparents. During event promotion, specifically talk about how you will showcase your ‘top five family cars’ of the season.
Likewise, if your dealership is located in an area that gets a lot of snow, then consider promoting your top five weather-proof trucks. The key here is to really think about who might be shopping with you and why, then deliver a live event to suit their needs.
New Vehicle Preview
It’s part of being a human, we all like being the first to know things, and your customers are no exception. Use this to your advantage and host an event that gives them a first look at your latest vehicles. Take the customers on a virtual tour of the cars, talking them through what they have to offer and their key features.
It’s events like this that you might want to consider making private, so viewers feel like they’re receiving a VIP service or exclusive offers. You can make the event public or private when you set it up.
Virtual Test Drive
What better way to showcase what your cars have to offer than by hosting a virtual test drive. This technique is sure to tick multiple boxes, including encouraging more web traffic, increase test drive requests, generate showroom visits and of course, drive sales.
It goes without saying that filming a live test drive should be done safely at all times, so make sure either a passenger is recording the footage, or you use a dashcam, or helmet-mounted camera.
Host A Virtual Q&A Session
If you have the time, then hosting a question-and-answer event is a great way to engage with customers.
Invite your audience to attend the event and ask any burning questions they have for you about your dealership and the vehicles you have available. Remember, if you do choose to do this, then make sure that you’re confident that the staff member presenting the session will be able to answer the questions being asked.
A successful question-and-answer event not only gives you the chance to connect with your audience but it’s also an opportunity for you to identify ways you can improve your service, as well as highlight potential future blog topics, based on what the customers are asking.
If you do fancy hosting a question-and-answer session, then make sure you set a time limit on the event. This way, you will be in control of how many questions are asked and how much time it takes, so preventing it from taking up longer than anticipated.
Interact And Respond
Whatever event you decide to host, it’s essential that you invest the time in interacting with and responding to viewers. Remember, live events are a really great way to engage with customers, so don’t waste the opportunity. Hopefully, viewers will be liking, commenting and asking questions throughout your event, so make sure there is somebody on hand to communicate with them. This means having a staff member offscreen, on your Facebook account who can confidently interact with viewers live, alongside the event.
Of course, if you’re hosting a dealership walkaround, or showcasing a vehicle, then it might be that one of your staff members is holding the camera whilst providing a running commentary. If this is the case, then encourage them to keep an eye on comments, likes, or people joining, so they can interact with them during the event.
Regardless of the type of event, it’s important that you always have your goals in the back of your head. We’re guessing you’ll be wanting to engage with customers, drive website traffic, and ultimately, generate sales. With this in mind, why not include surprise offers or promotions during your live event? If viewers like what they see, then there’s no better time to encourage them to shop with you, while your dealership is fresh in their minds.
It’s a no-brainer, if you haven’t already, then it’s time for your dealership to schedule its first Facebook Live event. If you’re wanting to get one step ahead of the competition, then get in touch with the team at SnapCell. Our app will help you seamlessly stitch together professional-looking videos, that can be used to compliment your up-and-coming Facebook Live event while offering a whole host of other features to increase customer engagement and drive sales at your dealership.