Facebook is offering free consultation to US automotive companies to help manage directory information and generate leads for local franchises.

ClickZ reports that Aamco and Cottman Transmissions Systems have been offered the new service to help understand “how Facebook can be utilised to increase sales.”

The consultation comes as brands seek to improve coordination between brand and local franchise search results, and also to optimise social media pages for mobile search.

Last month Ford launched a new tool that allows its US franchises to show real time vehicle inventory information through their own social media profiles.

FordDirect DealerConnection Vehicle Showroom (VSR) integrates with Facebook pages, YouTube channels or blogs to allow customers to browse new and used car information without clicking out of their original destination.

This means that visitors to a local dealer’s Facebook page can search by make, model or price, and can also submit an inquiry directly to the dealer plus refer a vehicle to their friends.

It’s a great example of how automotive brands can work with their local franchises to increase sales through localised social media pages. 

In recent months we have reported on several Facebook initiatives that try to educate brands how to use the social network to drive traffic and sales.

A ‘marketing classroom’ launched earlier this month features video demonstrations and live events aimed at helping businesses build their Facebook presence, while its Ad Boost programme offered ad credits worth a total of £4.2m to European SMEs.

Both these initiatives are aimed at promoting the Facebook ad platform to local businesses in much the same way as the new consultation is tailored to local franchises.

This is presumably because small businesses need to be more conservative with their marketing budgets, so Facebook is working hard to sell them the benefits of its ad platform.

Data from Recommend.ly found that local businesses participate in just 6% of conversations on their Facebook pages and that 82% of Facebook brand pages issue less than five updates per month - something that Facebook’s consultants will be looking to change.