Like it or not, social media is a must-have component of a business’s presence and marketing efforts in the modern age.
In an increasingly social media-minded world, the biggest brands have realized that a two-way communication model is the most effective in humanizing, legitimizing, and enhancing their brand power. Interacting with your consumers and personifying a brand is the key to making them comfortable and willing to engage on a deeper level.
The best and most interactive way to do this is through social media. Consumers are people, and people are social creatures. People also drive cars. I think you get the picture!
While all social media channels can be a viable tool for visibility, humanizing your brand, and connecting with your consumer base, some are simply more viral than others. In this case, we’re talking about TikTok, the latest infectious social media platform that has taken the world by storm.
First, let's look at what exactly TikTok is and how it works.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is the latest in a legacy of content creation platforms designed for quick consumption, lending itself well to the short attention span nature of consumers today. For comparison, you can think of TikTok as the spiritual successor to Vine, a short video creation app that led to some serious viral creativity due to the tight six-second time constraint.
TikTok has a little more flexibility with content length, but the idea remains essentially the same: Craft quick, snappy content that conveys humor (or any other emotion, really) in the hopes that it’s funny, emotionally moving, and relatable enough to become a widespread viral catch. And with a host of in-app editing tools and effects, anyone can be a star!
TikTok and Business Work Well Together
With that little bit of background, you can probably start to see why TikTok could be a potentially awesome addition to your auto dealership’s strategic marketing efforts. In fact, TikTok was the most downloaded app in Q1 of 2022, so the time to start creating is now!
3 Ways TikTok Can be Beneficial For Your Auto Dealership
1. Viral Content Potential
If you do everything right on TikTok (great content, optimal video length, trending sounds, and songs), the potential for getting a lot of eyes on your auto dealership can be high. And you can further hone your reach by setting your location on the app/in your posts so that the algorithm can deliver you to nearby hopeful consumers on the app.
Highlighting inventory, filming POV test drives, and vehicle feature overviews; all of this done in a creative and fun way can serve to become great, engaging content for your auto dealership. And this doesn’t have to begin and end with vehicle sales; you can create content for your parts and service departments, which are often a dealership’s biggest profit centers/bottom line generators.
Ironically, the possible visibility from a well-made, well-placed TikTok can surpass even your most focused advertising efforts in terms of effectiveness and cost. That being said, it’s not about getting a sale directly off of TikTok, but planting a seed to keep you top of mind for future vehicle sales/service needs, and can serve more purposes like in our next point.
Audi Milwaukee went viral by showcasing their luxury cars and being transparent about their processes.
@audimilwaukee Everything we do to get the car ready for the new owner! #audi #audimilwaukee #fypシ #4ringflex #satisfying #NCAA ♬ original sound - Audi Milwaukee
2. Humanizing Your Dealership/Brand
Here at ActivEngage, we believe that people buy cars from people. So let people know that your auto dealership is filled with…well, people! An unfortunate truth is that car dealerships and car salespeople have a low trust index. According to a fairly recent Gallup poll in 2019, “...Car sellers are among the least-trusted of all professionals, just slightly ahead of members of Congress…91% of people have zero trust in the car buying process…” (Source)
While less than ideal, you and your dealership can combat these negative pre-conceived notions by showing that you’re more than just a building with cars to buy in it. You and your staff are real people with unique personalities, so showcasing that can possibly serve to melt away some “dealership dread” that your hopeful customers might be harboring.
Newton Nissan South is a great example of a dealership that uses TikTok to show their staff's personalities while also promoting the vehicles they sell.
@imwithnewton Replying to @una_camisa What”s your choice? #iconiccars #dealershiptiktok #gtr #silvia #nissanz #stagea #salesman #fypage #viral ♬ original sound - Newton Nissan South
3. Improve Your Customer Experience
While you will mostly be using TikTok in an active way for your dealership, you can also use it in a way that helps you keep your fingers on the pulse of consumer behavior/sentiment. The viral nature of TikTok can be great for wide visibility and exposure for a business. However, by that same token, a customer with a negative experience can then use TikTok as a megaphone and highlight a business unfavorably.
The real reason for this point is that you can keep an eye on these types of “putting a business on blast” posts to monitor customer sentiments in the automotive sales process and learn from them, or get ahead of them and highlight that your business doesn’t partake in those bad practices.
And, if for some reason a customer has a not-so-stellar experience in your showroom and decides to take it to the ‘Tok, you can engage, reassure, and get however many eyeballs that saw the post on your public attempt to right any perceived wrong. Getting ahead of feedback is key!
People like @Nate_Riders_Garage show people what to look for when car shopping. These are good accounts to follow because you'll be able to understand car shoppers' most up-to-date expectations.
@nate_riders_garage I hope this helps you while you shop for your next car! 🏎💨 #usedcar #carshopping #howto ♬ Blade Runner 2049 - Synthwave Goose
ActivEngage Recommends TikTok for Your Auto Dealership
We’re having a blast on TikTok! You can check out our page here. While we aren’t a dealership, we are partnered with thousands of dealerships and provide modern engagement solutions that enhance the online customer experience. In addition to the deepest integrations with various automotive digital retailing tools, we also offer a varied suite of customer engagement solutions: