Using Facebook Marketplace to Boost Your Dealership’s Sales Leads

By Sarah Prellwitz

Launched in 2016, Facebook Marketplace has risen to the top of online sales platforms, alongside e-commerce veterans like Craigslist. Marketplace has attracted a large (to put it mildly) following thanks to its simple and transparent platform, and as of 2022, Facebook announced its Marketplace has reached 1.79 million active users. That’s a lot of potential sales traffic for your dealership!

That immense popularity, however, has caused Marketplace to become saturated with sellers, private and professional, which can complicate your plans to get in front of sales leads. In order to make your inventory listings stand out, I’ve compiled the following list of Marketplace best practices to enhance your brand visibility and get out ahead of your competitors.

List every unit, enhance searchability

As is the case with any third-party sales platform, I encourage you to list your full inventory offerings on Marketplace. Facebook Marketplace recently changed its inventory feed policy and has ceased allowing mass inventory uploads via feeds. However, if you want to avoid manually uploading inventory one listing at a time, you can invest in third-party software that will run your inventory uploads in the background on your computer while you focus on other tasks at hand.

On the search side of things, Marketplace’s algorithm shows users units that are related to previous searches and purchases. You can use the algorithm to your advantage by adding tags and descriptions to your listings that enhance their searchability. This includes keywords that buyers are likely to include in their searches: make, model, new/used, year, color, features and so forth. Popular, relevant tags and keyword-rich descriptions will help your units appear in more search results – and attract genuine leads.

Integrate Facebook ads, Messenger

Once you’ve posted your inventory, you can then take an extra step to get in front of qualified buyers by running Facebook ads. Facebook’s advertising feature is notorious for its audience-targeting capability, and it promotes your listings to shoppers who have purchased or shown interest in similar inventory.

You can further appeal to your target audience by selecting from multiple objectives and ad formats to align with shopper interests and creating an ideal audience list based on location, demographic, location, age and more. This ensures that 100-percent of your ad spend goes toward highly promising leads.

Nor should you neglect Facebook Messenger. If you haven’t used it for a while, know that Messenger has evolved beyond a casual chat tool as more consumers use it to directly connect with brands. Likewise, you can use Messenger to personally send your customers incentivizing information like sales blasts, service reminders and even your latest how-to blog. Messenger’s average open rate is 80 percent (reports automation brand Mobile Monkey), which is significantly higher than email’s 15- to 25-percent average.

Use customer-service automation

Facebook Marketplace presents an incredible opportunity for customer service, not just because it boasts such a large audience, but also for its wide variety of shopper-engagement tools. For example, your dealership could employ a Messenger chatbot to auto-respond to prospects outside of your business hours and answer frequently asked questions about your store. Some businesses find their chatbots are also adept at creating organic conversations with shoppers – without a team member needing to hop on the chat.

If you’re driving inventory sales through Marketplace, it’s important to monitor your messages and be quick to respond to shopper inquiries. If your team has limited capacity to stay on top of Marketplace messages, Facebook’s automation tools can help you create an auto-answer that notifies leads their message has been received and a team member will contact them as soon as possible.

Connecting with shoppers

Facebook Marketplace’s setup process for listings is easy, and if you want to launch an ad campaign to increase traffic to your listings, you can pre-set your ad spend to always stay within your budget. Best of all, the community-oriented nature of Facebook makes Marketplace an easy and natural method to connect with shoppers and drive them to your Facebook profile – where they can stay involved with your brand.

Sarah Prellwitz

Sarah Prellwitz is corporate content specialist for ARI Network Services (www.arinet.com). This article first appeared in our May/June 2002 issue.

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