Smart Dealers Use Facebook (Or How to Pimp a Holiday Sale)


Admittedly, I’m a bit of a Facebook junky and spend a lot of time on the social networking site. OK, it’s probably far too much time but that’s a topic for another, more humiliating conversation. For the sake of this post, let’s say I was on FB several hours a day over the four-day Thanksgiving holiday. (Hypothetically speaking, of course.) Over that time I saw many postings from people I’m friends with or businesses I’m fans of (FB lingo) but there were a handful that really stuck out.

During this holiday break, you couldn’t click a radio dial, open a newspaper or turn a channel without reading something about the retail orgy known as Black Friday and its post-consumergasm follow-up, Cyber Monday. Everybody knows that many retailers count on these two big holiday shopping days to push the books into the black. But did you know that many powersports retailers are also latching onto the idea that building sales programs and marketing efforts around these two days is a great idea?

And why not? Consumers of all stripes are conditioned to view these days as days to GO OUT AND SPEND MONEY. They save up all year to get the big deals and discounts on at stores the day after Thanksgiving and online the following Monday. Glad to see that some motorcycle shops are recognizing that just as Joe Consumer likes to get $100 off a new iMac on Black Friday, the biker in him would like to get a 10 percent discount on a new riding jacket as well.

While I’m not friends nor fans of every powersports retailer with a Facebook presence I am connected with PowerSports of Joplin (Dealernews November 2009 cover dealer) and Strokers Dallas (yeah Rick Fairless!). Both used the power of FB to announce the sales they’d be having in connection with these two powerhouse shopping days.

PowerSports of Joplin started the ball rolling by posting information about its Black Friday sale about mid week and then over the weekend posted this “Go to for AMAZING online deals for “Cyber Monday”! Shop online at home and get free shipping and great discounts!” to announce today’s big sale. Free shipping and big discounts? Mind you this goes out to the stores’s 123 “fans” but when it comes to the costs of marketing, you can’t beat Facebook’s FREE price tag. I’m wondering if this same info went out in an e-mail blast. Hey Eric Slagle, POJ’s GM, care to chime in?

From Rick Fairless, I found out that he was offering free shipping from Strokers Dallas’ online store. This is a message that went out to the Texas Wildman’s 1,885 friends. How many responded? Don’t know, but again, this is free marketing at its finest. Just a simple little message about his store’s sales/discounts/events sent out via a Facebook posting.

And while I’m focusing on Facebook, let’s not overlook e-mail newsletters and blasts. Prior to the Black Friday salestravaganzas, Beartooth Harley-Davidson (another Top 100 winner!) in Billings, Mont., sent out an e-mail announcing its Double Your Dollar Day Black Friday sale, For one day, the store offered a dollar for every dollar spent by customers in the shop’s VIB/VIC rewards program.

Beartooth also uses Facebook to highlight some of its current eBay auctions and recently posted a link to a special spot on its website where customers can create a Powersports Gift Registry and publish it directly to Facebook and MySpace — basically allowing customers to create an online wish list that they can share with everybody in their social networking circle. 

Beartooth is also using its FB Page to highlight its 12 days of Christmas sales at its three locations. Customers will receive a 5 percent discount for each non-perishable canned food item donated to the store. A customer can bring in up to four items to receive a 20 percent discount on any single in-stock regularly priced item. That sounds like a good deal.

So now that we’re wallet-deep in the holiday spending season (Sounds so festive, doesn’t it?) I’m eager to see more examples of powersports stores using Facebook for marketing and other customer outreach efforts. To me this makes these stores seem more personable and accessible. Perhaps I’m alone in thinking this, after all, I communicate with some of my old friends almost exclusively through FB. Jeez, that really sounds creepy and odd, doesn’t it.

As a side note, the examples I referenced were nice and subtle, just what a person wants to see on Facebook. There’s nothing so crass and off-putting as getting a SALES PITCH on FB. I have a pretty low threshold for this sort of thing and will block such messages after three or four offending postings. It’s a social networking site, not a channel for infomercials. Just a thought.



If you’re using Facebook, MySpace or any other such medium to connect with your customers, let us know.  We’d like to share your story with the masses.



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4 Responses to “Smart Dealers Use Facebook (Or How to Pimp a Holiday Sale)”

  1. Kathy Jo Porter Says:

    Dennis, you can find us on fb – but you knew that right?

  2. Dennis Johnson Says:

    Kathy Jo, OF COURSE! Hey all, don’t forget Bend Euro Moto on Facebook, they have one of the most down-to-earth and personal FB pages out there. Shoulda mentioned you guys, but all the gravy that’s still coursing through my veins is messing with my memory.

  3. Todd Shafer Says:

    Here’s a few…

    Family Powersports was the first motorcycle dealers (actually one of the first retailers period) to open up a full-blown shopping experience on Facebook using the Payvent FB application.

    Plus we’re up to 641 (net) fans already and it’s only been about a month and half since we set it up so I think there’s a real interest out there.

    FB has been a great way to get last minute announcements out as well for local community based stuff like this fun-raiser for a member of our extended Odessa TX “family”

    On the new site local “dealership” site I just finished I also integrated two useful Google tools onto the page for each location. There’s a central Google calendar and the Google Maps embedded as well.

    The Calendar is cool as people can subscribe to the feed or add it to their Google calendar if they use it.

    Actually, I’ll be going into some tools like Payvment in my Jan Column, so stay tuned! 🙂

    Once you start opening up the topics of things like Widgets, feeds from a blog into FB, etc. it’s almost limitless. It’s all just code (and time, sweat, blood and lots and lots of tears…)

  4. Eric Slagle Says:

    We did use extensive email blasts and news letters to promote both our sales. Our email blasts go out to around 3000 customers. They sign up on our site, or when we issue them a loyalty card. We have our facebook linked to a twitter account as well. So, when we update one, the other does as well.

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