Automotive social media marketing isn’t a new concept. But we still hear questions from our clients about what social sites they should be using, how often they should post, and most importantly, what kind of content is going to help them the most?
Before I start answering some of those commonly asked car dealer social media questions, let’s talk about why social media matters to car dealerships.
recently published the results of survey that talk about how Americans are driven to buy by social media. They view the things their contacts are doing and buying, and “FOMO”, or fear of missing out, drives them to buy even if it isn’t within their means.
78% of Auto Consumers in the U.S. Find Social Media Useful When Deciding on a New Automobile Purchase
For most people, buying a vehicle is the second biggest purchase they’ll make after buying a home. That means consumers do their research and spend sometimes months looking for the right vehicle. They are certainly going to be seeing what their connections on social media sites are driving, what dealerships they follow, and build trust in brands they see on their favorite social sites.
There is no doubt that social media plays a role in influencing car shoppers. That is why it is so important for dealerships to build a social media presence.
Why Car Dealerships should be using Automotive Social Media Marketing:
1) Consumers are motivated to buy when they see their friends making purchases.
2) Auto consumers are using social media to research vehicles
3) Car shoppers trust dealerships based on the content the dealership posts on social media.
4) People trust the recommendations of friends on social media.
5) Social media can help with search engine optimization.
6) Social media drives more traffic to dealership websites.
What social media networks should your dealership be on?
I recommend choosing your networks carefully. If you overextend yourself, it will be hard to maintain a positive relationship with your audience across multiple sites.
Only choose a social network you are confident you can actively post and monitor. People expect your interaction.
Facebook has been getting a lot of bad publicity lately, but it is still the most used social network, with over 2.32 billion active monthly users. 68% of Americans are on Facebook, and the audience tends to be older demographics than platforms like Snapchat or Instagram.
Facebook is definitely an important place to establish your dealer brand. People typically look to Facebook to find local recommendations, see reviews, and learn more about a business. Having a Facebook presence will help your dealership earn the trust of potential car buyers.
You can also load your inventory on Facebook, and use the advertising options to reach an even larger audience.
Cisco predicts that video will account for 82% of all Internet traffic by 2022. That isn’t very far away. There might be millions of videos on YouTube, but there are also a lot of users out there looking for videos. The sooner you get started, the better your channel will look.
In younger generations, TV watching is dropping more than 10% every year, while those same Gen Zers are flocking to YouTube at a rate of 96% of young adults actively use YouTube.
Think YouTube is only for the young?
Nope. Over half of 75+ age group use YouTube, as you can see in the graph below.
YouTube is about more than just entertainment. 70% of millennials claimed to have learned something from a YouTube video in the last year, and watch time of product review videos have increased by over 10x in the past years, particularly on mobile.
Using YouTube as part of your dealership’s marketing will help attract car shoppers, build trust, and send traffic to your website.
Instagram is one of the fastest growing social networks. While not reaching the billions that Facebook and YouTube boast, Instagram’s audience is highly engaged, highly mobile, and highly visual. All these are the perfect combination for dealerships to market their inventory.
Instagram is also a great place to show behind-the-scenes at your dealership, which will build trust.
Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Vimeo
There are many, many more social media networks. If you’re an active Twitter user, or can’t go a day without checking out what is going on with your LinkedIn contacts, those might be good places to build your dealership’s brand. Each network has pros and cons.
Twitter is a great place to get link clicks and leverage hashtag trends to get views of your posts. But it also has a smaller audience and tends to be more news oriented.
LinkedIn is a more professional audience, and promotional content isn’t as well accepted. However, it is a great place to forge connections and particularly good for personal brand building for yourself as a dealership owner or for sales staff on your team.
Snapchat has a younger demographic and to be honest, I don’t use it very frequently. But it has a growing and engaged user base, and also has some great advertising features. If you’re comfortable using the platform, it is a great way to build visual content and tell a story. Hootsuite has a great summary for how businesses can use Snapchat. https://blog.hootsuite.com/snapchat-for-business-guide/
Vimeo. As I mentioned above, video is becoming increasingly important in the digital advertising world. Vimeo is a more professional video sharing platform if you choose not to use YouTube, or want a second place to display your video content.
CEO Chris Jackson has had some positive experiences with Vimeo, telling me, “There are massive advantages with Vimeo for auto-publishing to additional channels such as YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and so on. As a video hosting platform, it has some superior advantages to YouTube.”
Don’t be afraid to try different networks and see what is a good fit for your auto dealership. Over the years, I’ve tried and abandoned many social sites (some which don’t even exists anymore, like StumbleUpon and Google+).
Key things to keep in mind when choosing the right social networks for your auto dealership:
1. Wherever you create a social media presence, make sure you engage with your audience. Don’t just promote; build relationships.
2. Choose a social network you will feel comfortable using and post regularly.
3. Tailor your posts and profile to fit the audience and expectations on each social media platform.
4. Don't be afraid to take chances and try something different to stand out.
Have questions about using social media for your auto dealership? Ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.