In 2021, nearly 54% of the entire world’s population actively uses social media for almost 2.5 hours a day. If those insane stats don’t sound the alarms to review your dealership’s social media strategy, I’m not sure what will!
#1: Target Consumers on Facebook
It’s no secret: We’re all on Facebook, scrolling through feeds, posts, and comments daily. Some use it more than others, of course, but generally, we’re all part of the same massive Facebook audience. As a result, Facebook has become a behavioral powerhouse. They understand the interests and habits of nearly every demographic on the planet, and this data enables them to keep consumers online for longer periods of time by presenting more specific content. That’s the part where your car dealership can take advantage.
Here are 10 Social Media Strategies for Automotive Industry Professionals to Consider
With such strong online communities, throwing some brain power (and marketing dollars) towards social channels like facebook, twitter, and Instagram should be a given. But if you’re still not convinced, this list of strategies can help give you better insights about using social media at your dealership.
Social media marketing doesn’t have to be intimidating!
Hopefully, the following tips will inspire you to tap into the incredibly lucrative resources that social media platforms can provide in one way or another. After all, the opportunities for your car dealership to shine online are plentiful; it’s up to you to figure out which ones connect you best to your car buyers!
When you put out a Facebook ad, for example, you select the demographics you want to market to, and Facebook does the rest. Once that ad is published, Facebook automatically presents it to the most relevant consumer base. These are people who best fit the description of your target demographic based on their past behaviors. Factors like location, search keywords, comments, likes, posts, and even liked brands all come into play to determine if someone is more or less likely to be an in-market shopper for your dealership.
Facebook’s demographics segmentation is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of its capabilities. People are using Facebook to engage dealers about listings on Marketplace, have full conversations about vehicles and services through Messenger, conduct vehicle (and dealership) research, and so much more. The best part for dealerships is that whenever Facebook adds another feature to their platform (newsfeed, watch, Marketplace, groups, etc), it creates another opportunity for dealers to get in front of potential customers in meaningful ways.
Side note: ActivEngage proudly integrates with many of Facebook services, enabling dealers to have a streamlined experience from inventory upload, to managed messaging, to service scheduling and beyond!
The moral of the story with Facebook is that their customer research is world-class and that utilizing Facebook through advertising or engaging with shoppers directly is an effective way to boost your quality leads. Because of its incredible reach, Facebook is an important part of every dealer’s automotive digital marketing strategy.
#2: Use Twitter to Drive Sales Conversions
Twitter is another popular social media platform among car shoppers. While it doesn’t have the firepower of its rival Facebook, there’s something special about the simplicity of tweets that keep users coming back for more. In its early days, Twitter was all text. Still, since then, it has branched out to include higher engagement media content like images, video, and audio.
Dealers can take advantage of Twitter in a similar way to other social media platforms, but with a distinct focus on short snippets of content. Regularly share or post concise, striking comments and maybe link to a video or longer format to increase your organic traffic and followers. The frequency of your posts is also important. Consumers don’t want to see you posting ten things a day, for example, but they also want to see more than one post per month. Finding that happy cadence with your Twitter audience will involve some trial and error but will help you in the long run.
Twitter also offers a complete business-oriented suite of services, including advertising, campaign management, targeting, and analytics. With Twitter business you can promote tweets, videos, or even just your account in general, all to increase brand awareness.
#3: Market to Millennials on Instagram
Brace yourself! Millennials have officially become the largest auto buyer group in the U.S. Unsurprisingly, Millennials are continually choosing to devote their attention: Instagram. That’s right! In our hyper-visual society, Instagram reigns supreme with bright saturated food pics, viral dance clips, and soon your vehicle inventory.
Instagram is an engagement and reach gold mine for your dealership. Showcasing a car through boosted advertising on Instagram gives your dealership’s social media strategy a chance to expand into a larger community of in-market shoppers.
Some of these customers may also be first-time buyers, so you may need to adjust your strategy around posts. Also, consider including imagery that supports your brand as well. This new community is interested in learning more about your dealership in addition to your inventory. This helps break the ice and motivate consumers to take action towards the test drive.
#4: Strategic Video Marketing with YouTube
If you’ve ever watched a video online, chances are the video was on YouTube. Owned by Google, YouTube’s online influence is bananas. It’s no secret that the top YouTube influencers make quite a respectable income as well, making the majority of their income from ad revenue on the ever-popular platform.
Regardless of industry, YouTube’s video platform is a highly effective channel for advertising. This is because users there are highly engaged, and the ad placement has been tested and refined. When you advertise on YouTube, your placement is displayed on content in a variety of ways. Some are video-based, while others are simple text-based pop-ins.
You get to decide who will see your ads on YouTube by creating buyer personas. These selections of demographics and interests influence the effectiveness of your ad campaigns, but also allow you to tweak your ad strategy as you go so that you’re always targeting the right audience.
#5: Add Pinterest to Your Social Strategy
Initially popularized by home decor and recipes, Pinterest has since exploded as a contender for virtually any interest. Underutilized by advertisers, Pinterest could be a great platform to gain exposure from.
The growing platform is regularly increasing in popularity. Using ‘promoted pin’ advertisements could also prove to be a great value - especially if the competition is not using the platform.
#6: Story Telling through Social Media Content
Not everything shared or promoted online should have a direct sales focus to it. Creating content that customers can relate to or enjoy consuming goes a long way in capturing their business. After all, on the other end of your ad, there’s a human being with their own set of beliefs and interests.
Being relatable and sharing fun content through social channels can be a more effective strategy than only posting inventory or car-specific content. It shows your buyers that you understand them and integrate more deeply into their lifestyles than they previously may have thought.
#7: Offer Social-Specific Contests and Promotions
Have a promotion or special event coming up? Here’s an idea: add a specific social media element to it. Perhaps incentivize ‘liking’ or sharing an event post by entering these users into a special prize raffle!
This is a great way to increase your user base AND organically boost your content’s online reach. Everyone loves the prospect of winning something (even something small as a free cup of coffee), and by getting users to engage with your content it’s a win-win for everyone involved.
#8: Remember that Social is a Two-Way Conversation
Okay, so you’ve got a promotional ad running on Facebook. It’s getting a bunch of likes, maybe a couple of shares, but it’s also receiving something entirely unexpected: comments. Unlike other advertising, social media advertising may require some added back-and-forth engagement with users.
If it’s not a direct one on one conversation through Messenger or another messaging app, that means the conversation is directly visible to others. Your engagement here should be considerate of that as well.
#9: Social Reviews Matter
A company’s reputation is one of the most important things to keep in good standing - especially as more engagements are publicly accessible online. One way dealers can affect this is through managing their social media accounts.
It’s not inherently obvious, but dealership social media business profiles say a lot about the kind of quality service one can expect. How would you feel about a business if you saw their comments were short and sometimes misspelled or grammatically incorrect? While it’s not a direct indicator of quality issues at the dealership, these minor issues don’t bode well for consumers who are considering doing business.
#10: Be 100% Committed to your Social Media Marketing Plan
Frequently, making progress doesn’t happen instantaneously. In building a social media presence, plan for the long haul as it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Far too often, dealerships are looking for a quick fix to get more sales before month’s end, and that’s unfortunately not how social media marketing works.
The money and effort put behind social media marketing through car advertising and brand awareness builds like a snowball rolling down a hill. At first, things may take a while and not show much growth at all, but over time as it builds on itself, progress gets bigger and faster, and you start seeing significant results.
This is why you should be 100% committed to your social media marketing plan. Changing up where and how you advertise is a naturally evolving part of that process, but the biggest challenge is staying vigilant and consistently prioritizing your social media presence.