ULTIMATE Facebook Group Guide for Car Dealerships

How Car Dealerships are killing it with Facebook Groups

As someone who isn’t a huge social media user, I admit I got slow to use Facebook groups to grow my business. For the longest time I thought sharing my thoughts was all vanity.

But deep inside I knew Facebook, or any other social media channel for that matter could help me grow my business exponentially.

I’m sharing this with you because I want you to understand that even if you are not the typical social media power user, you can still achieve great results by doing the right things in the right order.

Brands have an opportunity to build fan communities in a way that just wasn’t possible back then.

Sure, you might not have a neon pink visitor counter on the page like I did (jealous much?), but you do have access to Facebook’s 2.41 billion active monthly users and the tools there to build a thriving digital clubhouse. Seems like the perfect opportunity to bring people together… and build a great marketing platform while you’re at it.

Since Facebook changed its algorithm back in January 2018, the newsfeed has prioritized “posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions”— including posts from Facebook Groups for business.

It’s time to get your fan community started. Here’s how to promote your business and reap the benefits of Facebook group marketing.

Benefits of joining Facebook groups for your business

It’s a direct line to customers

The people in Facebook groups are highly engaged with a topic or product. They’re spending their free time thinking and talking about a model you sell on purpose. These people have the potential to become your most raving fans!

You’ve got an opportunity here to tap into some real insights from the people who own your product or that are considering a change. Watch, learn, engage, ask for feedback, and then actually use it.

You’ll build long-lasting relationships with customers

Fact: customers are loyal to companies that treat them well. Engaging with fans to be part of a community and engaging with them directly and regularly shows you care and builds invaluable loyalty and trust.

If you want to take your relationship with your customer to the next level, creating or joining a Facebook group is a genius way to do it.

You’ll increase your organic reach

Facebook’s algorithm is designed to prioritize content from Facebook groups with high engagement. The more you and your group are posting and interacting, the further your reach in the newsfeed will be.

Two Ways to use Facebook Groups to your advantage. Depending on what’s available in your market, you can achieve results by:

1) Joining existing groups that are already talking about the models & makes you sell

Facebook groups can be worked a few different ways

2) Creating your own group

This path will be a little more work because you’ll most likely need to invite customers to join your group so you can build momentum & engagement. The most people you have posting in your group, the bigger the party.

Facebook Groups: “A place for your customers to complain”

I was having a conversation with a General Manager the other day and he told me: “Isn’t a Facebook group a perfect place to complain about our store?”.

Good question isn’t it?

It might be, but it’s a good thing. Would you rather have a few complaints here and there under your control or somewhere else where you simply can’t see them?

You shouldn’t be running away from negative feedback because this is how you can improve. Now the tricky part is how you deal with it.

Key rule: When dealing with complaints online, you have to do 2 things: 1) Acknowledge the issue and express how you care about resolving said issue & 2) Take the conversation offline as soon as possible.

Facebook group types

There are three privacy settings to choose from for Facebook groups for business.

Public

With a public Facebook group, anyone can see what members post or share. If they have a Facebook account, they can also see a list of members, admins and moderators.

On the plus side, you’ll be visible to all potential group members and customers and there’s no barrier to join the club. There’s also no need to manually admit every single new member to the group. That’s right: the metaphorical door is wide open. Come on in, world!

That being said, if anyone is allowed in your group then everyone is allowed in your group. Content can spiral out of control easily and be tricky to moderate, like a teenage house party gone wrong.

This page is affiliated with your business, remember, so keep a close watch on what’s going on if you choose this option. Like it or not, even a post from a stranger on your page will ultimately reflect on you.

Private and visible

Private Facebook groups still show up in searches, but potential members need to be manually accepted by the administrators. It’s like they’re knocking on that door, waiting to be let in.

Only current members can see who belongs to the group, and what they’re posting and sharing. (Anyone on Facebook, however, can see who the administrators and moderators are.) In short, it’s exclusive, but still accessible. How VIP!

Private-and-visible groups are a great option for businesses using Facebook groups. It’s searchable but still controlled, so no spambots can sneak it and ruin the fun for everyone else.

Private and hidden

Private and hidden Facebook groups (aka secret groups) don’t show up in searches at all. Spoooky!

You can find it, if you know where to find it.

Secret Facebook groups have the same privacy settings as private-and-visible groups (only current members can see posts and the membership list), but they’re hidden to the general public. That’s right: You’ve got to be personally invited to join, like a weird Yale frat.

If we’re still sticking with this door analogy (and we can all agree it’s too late to back out now), this is a speakeasy door hidden behind a telephone booth in a hot dog restaurant.

It’s a little more work to build and maintain your membership with manual invitations, but if you really want to keep things special, the secrecy could make the hassle worth it.

How to create a group on Facebook

Before you can fill your Facebook group with superfans, you should probably, you know, create the group. It’s a pretty straightforward process — even easier than adding an animated fire background to your homepage on Geocities in 2001. I believe in you!

How to create a Facebook group on a computer

  1. Click on create up on the top right of Facebook and choose group.
  2. Pick a group type: are you a club, a team or something else entirely?
  3. Choose a group name (ideally something that’s easy to find, if you’re planning on a public or private-but-visible group).
  4. Add your group members and pick your privacy preference.
  5. Click create.
  6. Personalize your group with a cover photo and description — make sure you include your group’s purpose and any policies about behaviour and membership.

How to create a Facebook group on an iPhone

  1. On your news feed, select the menu (the three horizontal bars on the bottom right) then groups.
  2. Select create new group.
  3. Put in your group name (something search-friendly, ideally!)
  4. Choose a privacy option.
  5. Tap create.
  6. Search and add members
  7. Personalize your group with a cover photo and description — make sure you include your group’s purpose and any policies about behaviour and membership.

How to create a Facebook group on Android

  1. Tap the plus sign (+) on the top right.
  2. Enter your group name, add group members, choose a privacy option and tap create.
  3. Enter a friend’s name in the search box and tap search.
  4. Tap add selected once you’ve selected the friends you want to add to your group.
  5. Personalize your group with a cover photo and description — make sure you include your group’s purpose and any policies about behavior and membership.

How to create a Facebook group for business

If you’ve already created a group using the method above, you can just add your Facebook business page as an admin. If you’re starting from scratch, read on.

Your page can actually be the admin of up to 200 different groups, so once you get the hang of it, you could make a new group basically every day if you wanted.

To create a group with your Facebook page as the admin from your computer:

  1. Click pages in the left menu and select your page
  2. Select the groups tab in the left column. (Can’t see it? Head to manage your page’s tab and sections to adjust your visible tabs and try again.)
  3. Click create group.
  4. From here, you can add members and customize your page with a photo, description and policies

To create a group with your Facebook page as the admin from your phone (iPhone or Android):

  1. From your news feed, tap the menu button (three horizontal lines) then select pages and select your page
  2. Click more (three horizontal dots) at the top, then tap groups.
  3. Click create group.
  4. From here, you can add members and customize your page with a photo, description and policies.

How to post in a Facebook group

You’ve got a group! You’ve got an audience! Time to post! No one can stop you!

To post to Facebook group on a computer:

  1. Select Groups in the left menu and click on your group
  2. Click write something!
  3. From here, you can compose a post, share a photo or video, add a poll, create an event, and more.

To post to Facebook group on mobile (iPhone or Android):

  1. Tap the menu icon (three horizontal bars), then select Groups and click on your group
  2. Tap Share something or Write Something
  3. From here, you can compose a post, share a photo or video, add a poll, create an event, and more.

How to generate leads from Facebook Groups

On the surface, your Facebook group might seem like a social club, but the reality is, it’s a killer business tool when used correctly.

Customers might be chatting away and forming friendships to last a lifetime. You’ll be busy reaping the benefits of having all your top fans in one place.

As a customer support community

When a customer is looking for support and help here, you can be the hero by hopping in and addressing the problem… and announcing the answer to the rest of the community in the process. Information for all!

Source: Canadian Electric Vehicles (EV) Owners (Public group)

If your customers are really nice, they might even help each other solve problems.

As a learning and engagement tool

Facebook groups have a couple of underused features that can add some serious value to your group: social learning and watch party applications. Maybe it’s a demo of a new vehicle on your lineup, or tips on how to maximize your trade-in value.

Either way, this sort of content encourages activity and repeat visits to your page.

As a feedback forum

Not only can you use social listening to figure out what matters most to your audience, you’ve got a built-in focus group here and you’re not taking advantage of it. Go ahead and ask, it’s free!

As a place to find insights

If you’re already poring over the insights from your Facebook page followers, you’re going to love this: your group insights offer even more data to nerd out on.

You’ll find analytics on membership, growth and engagement that will offer valuable insights into your fans. Where are they from? When is a popular time to post? How many active members are there?

As a place for fans to connect with each other

Okay, so the new BFFs bonding over your brand are actually great for your business. These positive feelings that come from human connection can trickle over into feelings of goodwill for your brand, and build an active community that draws in newcomers.

Fans asking each other for playlist suggestions in Walk off the Earth Facebook group

Source: Walk Off the Earth (Official Fan Group)

As a revenue stream

This group is meant to be a party, not a sales pitch, so I’m not saying you should be pushing promos every day. But there is an opportunity here to provide value to your loyal followers and make a little cash.

Offer access to the group as an incentive to make a purchase (like this Simply Beautiful subscription box does), or provide exclusive, members-only deals to followers. This is a great place to share any last-minute offers or flash sales.

The key is to make sure the opportunity is as valuable to your fans as it is to you.

10 best practices for Facebook group marketing

Create a clear code of conduct

If you want your group to be a civilized clubhouse and not the wild west, setting some rules is a good place to start.

In the “moderate group” settings, you can set up to 10 rules. Whether it’s about behavior (“Be respectful”) or terms of service (“You have access to this Toaster Fan Club group until the warranty on your toaster expires”), this is a chance to make sure everyone’s on the same page about expectations.

Vancouver Whitecaps Fans Facebook Group rules

Source: Vancouver Whitecaps Fan Club group

Post regular welcome messages

Ideally, newcomers are going to be flooding into your group on the reg. To make sure key information doesn’t get lost in the fray, check in with a welcome post every so often. This is a chance to reiterate expectations, point new users to the rules or resources, and reassure the rest of the gang that you’re actively involved.

Engage consistently—but not too much

That being said, this is really a space for fans to connect and engage. If they’re a naturally chatty bunch, let the masses dictate where the conversation is going. Ideally, you’re a benevolent leader who chimes in with support or wisdom when needed, or sparks a juicy debate with an occasional open-ended question.

Posting within the guidelines of a consistent content calendar can help — encouraging members to do a little self-promotion on Shameless Saturdays, for example. Find some more simple tips for increasing your Facebook engagement over here.

Schedule posts for peak times

Your Facebook page and group insights can pinpoint the best times to post for your specific audience so they’ll actually see (and engage with!) your great content. You can use pretty much any social media management tool do achieve this. I personally use Sendible and it works great.

Keep the content of your page and group fresh

There’s likely going to be some overlap between your page followers and your group members, so make sure you’re offering something special for each experience — no cross-posting allowed.

You might announce a new vehicle on your page with a video, but over in the group the same day, kickstart a conversation about most anticipated new features. Give people something different in each space: a reason to follow both accounts.

One thing’s for sure, you can schedule posts to be evergreen and hit your Facebook group once every 2-3 months.

This is a great way to build a rock-solid, evergreen social media posting flow. I call this internally the 7-layer dip!

Keep out bots and trolls with a questionnaire

For private-and-visible or secret groups, you’ll have the opportunity to set up a mini application form for members. It doesn’t have to include brain-busting questions — something as simple as “What’s your favorite Gogurt flavor?” will do — but it’s an opportunity to filter out spambots and trolls.

Questionnaire for entrance to My Brother, My Brother and Me Facebook group

Source: My Brother, My Brother and Me Appreciation Group

Edit down your membership list as needed

Got a troublemaker in your group? If someone is breaking your rules, spamming discussions, or abusing other members, they’ve gotta go.

Luckily, you made a code of conduct all the way back at the beginning of this list, so you’ve got a clear reason to give someone the boot.

Give ‘em something special

Exclusive content gives members a reason to be engaged and check in regularly. That could be a Q&A or AMA or, in non-pandemic times (remember those?), invites to offline events or networking opportunities. Check out these other Facebook marketing tips for further inspiration.

Don’t just set it and forget it

For your group to thrive, it needs regular attention. It’s basically a Tamagotchi.

You’ll want to check in frequently to answer questions, add members, delete spam or moderate flagged content. I’ll be honest: it can take some work. (Like! A! Tamagotchi!) But you don’t necessarily have to keep watch alone. Assign a colleague or trustworthy superfan a role as admin or moderator to lighten the load.