Tackling 175 Toyota Dealers’ Facebook Pages

By David Cohen 

The challenge: To unify and clean up the Facebook messaging and presences of 175 Toyota dealers in the Southeast region of the U.S. 22squared Senior Vice President of Earned and Emerging Media Chris Tuff and Southeast Toyota Marketing Communications Manager Julie Tullis spoke about the progress they made on that front in just six weeks at a panel at the AllFacebook Marketing Conference in New York Wednesday, Dominating Scale with Facebook Technology to Drive True ROI.

Tullis discussed why this initiative was such a challenge:

Our dealers were meandering their way through this space very ineffectively. A lot of our dealers felt like a picture of their store would be their best cover photo.

Many times, we rely on hiding behind Toyota as a brand. Consumers don’t want to connect with Southeast Toyota. They would rather connect with the big brand or the local dealer.

And Tuff explained the strategy behind the undertaking:

We were going in and cleaning up all of the pages. There was no consistency to the look and feel. We needed to be able to publish to each one of these pages from a central location with content that we knew would resonate.

We needed something that could truly scale with a turnkey solution. We can do local paid advertising effectively in each one of these markets.

Tullis added:

We wanted to do as much turnkey as possible with dealerships — it’s their 16-year-old son, it’s their Internet manager who has 50 other jobs. Each of them has the same objective: to sell cars. They don’t need to sit in their dealership and come up with a Facebook strategy.

So how did the effort by 22squared and Southeast Toyota turn out? Tullis said that over the course of six weeks, the dealership pages saw fan growth jump 4,700 percent, and the pages have been able to maintain that growth, adding that there was a 300 percent increase in engagementlikes, comments, and shares. She added:

Our dealers really rallied around responding to Facebook posts.

Finally, Tuff offered some general advice on how to launch a similar initiative:

We can’t just wait for Facebook to build what we want them to build. Instead of being reactive, we have to be proactive. Don’t wait for Facebook to build for you.

Facebook Exchange is huge — it’s targeting from the outside in.

You should have two separate content calendars, and you should be hyper-targeting that.

When you’re creating applications, make sure there’s a utility play.

Make sure you’re being deliberate about what you’re trying to achieve.

Like ads are going to be going away, and everything is going toward sponsored stories.

Finding the right ads API (application-programming interface) partner is key. It’s such a mess out there. Test them and see who’s the best.

View tags allow you to see how many people who were exposed to your ad actually made purchases.