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Han Solo got the glory. He got the attention. He even got the Princess. He couldn't have done any of these things without Chewbacca. Chewie was the ultimate sidekick with the muscle, skills, and loyalty that made his friend shine.

The same thing can be said about "dark posts" on Facebook. Better known as "unpublished posts", they are a critical portion of a car dealer's social media strategy. Today, very few dealers are doing it at all and many are not using it to its full potential.

Dark posts are a part of Facebook advertising that focuses on delivering real ROI. They do not appear on the dealership's Facebook wall and are limited to focus on particular audiences designated by the dealership or their social media company. We published a great step-by-step guide to dark posts on this site.

The point of using dark posts is to take advantage of the wealth of data that Facebook has without annoying people with too many public posts to your wall. Even the most engaging dealership Facebook pages should be posting less than three things per day on their wall with a best practice being to post one a day (or less). With dark posts, there are no limits. You can have dozens of them running simultaneously, targeting very specific buyers in order to drive them to your website.

Most dealers put all of their emphasis on their wall, but this is a mistake. Your posts need to be of general interest to the local community when posting to your wall, but you can get extremely granular with your messaging through dark posts. For example, you can have a "Customer Appreciation Oil Change Special" that gets seen by people within your customer database rather than having it seen by people who have never been to the dealership before. Conversely, you can target new customers with a different message simultaneously without your current or past customers having to see the messages.

These are basic examples, but the sky's the limit when it comes to dark posts. You can target different demographics with different messages. You can put loyalty messages in front of people who drive your make of vehicles and you can put conquest messages in front of people who drive other brands. There are dozens of ways to slice it, but the key is that you're limiting the messaging to be in front of the exact right people.

This isn't a rant that says anything bad about standard Facebook posts. The branding and communication abilities of standard wall posts are extremely potent, but just as Han Solo would have been less successful without Chewie, so too will your standard posts be less successful when not supported by simultaneous dark posts.

Today, so few dealers are utilizing this strategy that those who do can have their market cornered. It won't be like this forever. Dealers need to take advantage of it sooner rather than later.

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