Social media isn’t just a place for lifestyle and retail brands to advertise. Increasingly, car dealers are embracing social media ad strategies. And that’s because social media allows you to reach tons of consumers; Facebook alone has nearly two and a half billion monthly active users

Now is definitely the time to start creating a social media ad strategy for your car dealership. Here are some tips to help you get your advertising off the ground. 

1. Greet the Right Consumers 

When it comes to car purchase decisions, the majority of today’s consumers start their research online. In fact, 85 to 90% of all prospective buyers begin their search for the perfect vehicle on the internet

Social media advertising allows you to take control of this process and place yourself in front of these prospects, rather than waiting for them to stumble upon you. Unlike with more traditional forms of advertising, digital ads give you the power to set the audience for your ads. 

All social sites allow you to create custom campaigns for your ads, which means you can create highly-targeted messaging aimed to find the right consumers at the right time. On Facebook, you have the option to create lookalike audiences, which allow you to target consumers who are most similar to your existing customers. 

You can also target your ads based on demographics you dictate or specific life events that the social media company may track. For example, the vast majority of pickup truck owners are men, so it makes sense to direct your truck advertising to that demographic. If you’re looking to target by life event, you might show starter cars to young adults who are about to graduate college and might be in the market for a vehicle to get them to their first grown-up job. 

Fortunately, social media allows you to slice-and-dice your audience in any way that makes the most sense. Remember: When you’re creating specific audiences for your ads, you want the creative in the ads to have messaging and visuals that will speak to those specific segments. 

2. Be Everywhere 

Consumers spend a lot of time online before they make their final purchase. The internet is where they spend the vast majority of their time when considering cars. The average consumer spends 14.5 hours buying a car, with three hours spent in the dealership and nearly nine spent online. 

You spend quality time with these consumers in the dealership, but if you can be everywhere they turn online, you get three times more facetime with them on the internet. When you’re omnipresent online, you stand a much better chance of being their dealership of choice. 

Social media presents a huge opportunity. Most social media users spend a lot of time on those platforms; the average time spent on social is nearly two and a half hours per day. If you spread your advertising out across the major social sites, you can catch the eye of consumers everywhere they go. 

Greet them on Instagram when they check their feed first thing in the morning. Then run an ad on LinkedIn, which they see when they log into their account at the office. On their lunch break, they see your bumper ad at the start of the YouTube video they’re about to watch. And then when they get home and check their Facebook app, they see you in their newsfeed there, too. 

To run ads on all of these social sites, you must also establish an organic presence there. This gives people who like your ads a place to go to learn more about you, and it provides you the opportunity to share organic content and boost your most popular posts to a broader audience. 

3. Put Video to Work 

Video is changing the marketing landscape for all businesses, and those in the auto industry are no exception. Recent research from Google shows 75% of consumers looking for a vehicle report that a video ad influenced their shopping habits or purchase decisions

And it makes sense. Television commercials have historically been a popular format for automotive advertising because they give consumers a chance to see the vehicles in context and on the road. Plus, for dealerships, introducing your ownership or members of your team on-camera helps to build trust

Video is an engaging advertising medium that can be used across the biggest social media sites. From Facebook to YouTube, video helps you stand out in crowded News Feeds or capture attention at the start of selected video content. 

4. Stay Mobile-Friendly 

When it comes to where people are interacting with car dealers, it’s not just your choice of social media platform that matters. You also need to think about device type. Sixty percent of all automotive searches happen on a mobile phone, which means that all of your content across digital assets should be mobile-friendly. 

This includes the content you create for social. Create ads with visuals that will stand out as people scroll quickly through their feeds on a small screen. Rely on more images and videos to communicate your messaging – users tend to ignore long-winded text posts on a phone. 

Though Instagram Stories are only accessible on mobile devices, creating Story ads is a great way to get featured alongside the content from people and businesses consumers already follow. And mobile social has driven another huge change in the way content is created and consumed: While horizontal video used to be the gold standard, now mobile devices have driven a trend towards vertical video. 

Social media is becoming a go-to advertising channel for successful car dealers. If you’re looking to break into social media advertising and need help devising a killer strategy, contact one of our automotive marketing experts today.

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