Your dealership wants to connect with its target audience on social media, but you don’t know if you’re a natural-born Tweeter or more of a Facebook type. Here’s a breakdown of the major platforms, and how to use them for automotive social media marketing.
Here are two big facts about Facebook you might not know: 70% of auto shoppers prefer Facebook as a source for researching a dealership or brand, and 47% of auto shoppers say they’ve used Facebook Marketplace to shop for a vehicle.
Something else you should know – around 68% of Americans use Facebook. The majority of people in every age group younger than 65 have Facebook accounts, and three-quarters of Facebook users log on every day.
Facebook is ideal for car dealerships because it connects with such a large market, and because it supports a wide variety of content (short form, long form, ads, quizzes, videos). Most of the market segments your dealership targets should be on Facebook, and if they aren’t they probably aren’t on social media at all.
Facebook Recommendations are an important topic, especially since these so many younger car buyers take them into consideration. Here’s how they work:
Users are asked if they would recommend a business – a simple “yes/no” choice – and are given the option of adding extra endorsements or comments. Recommendations appear next to your local listing when a user searches for or stumbles across your dealership. It makes sense to monitor recommendations carefully and respond to feedback, positive and negative.
Social Ads are where the biggest value lies on Facebook for car dealerships. With deep audience targeting capabilities and features like dynamic ad creative, you can create some efficient and effective social ad campaigns on Facebook.
Instagram skews toward a younger demographic and is less likely than Facebook to be checked several times a day. Still, it is a very popular platform and a worthwhile marketing investment.
There are three keys to marketing on Instagram: imagery, hashtags, and geotagging.
For imagery, it’s a good idea to post images of your own inventory rather than rely on stock images from a manufacturer. A lot of brands also mix in behind-the-scenes and candid shots that highlight your staff and customers; as well as pretty images like a perfect sunset where the amber light hits your inventory just so. You have some leeway on how professional or polished your photography is; the key is to align your Instagram aesthetic with your target audience.
Hashtags are extremely important on Instagram because that’s how users find content. There is a lot to think about when choosing hashtags but here are a few tips, compliments of HootSuite:
Posts with nine hashtags get the highest levels of engagement, with engagement picking up considerably with seven or more.
Avoid irrelevant hashtags. For example, a Los Angeles dealership might not want to plug in the hashtag #LAClippers on an unrelated post just to target Angelenos. That said, if your dealership is giving away Clippers tickets or if an NBA star just bought a car on your lot and doesn’t mind you telling the world about it, this hashtag is one you’ll likely want to use.
Use niche hashtags for your target audience. #Tesla will get you better engagement than #ElectricCar, for example.
Don’t forget to add geotags to your posts, mainly because you want to show up as a local business. Being a dealership in South Dakota whose dealership gets likes from the Czech Republic is pretty cool, but it won’t add up to a lot of direct conversions. Also, being a place where Instagram users can check in is valuable, as it turns your customer into your spokesperson.
Twitter has a lot of notoriety these days, but did you know that only 22% of Americans use it? It’s most popular with the 18-24 age demographic (44% of people in this group have accounts), and becomes less so the older the audience gets.
Twitter is, however, a valuable marketing tool. By Twitter’s own estimate, 40% of car buyers on Twitter say that the platform boosted their awareness of vehicle options; and one-third of high-income buyers used the platform in the purchase process.
Twitter recommends making sure your dealership is findable. That means you’ll want to tweet regularly, share engaging content, answer questions, and participate in conversations. It is helpful to know your target audience and focus on fruitful conversations, rather than getting lost in the Twitter-verse. Sharing positive reviews and tweeting visual and video content are smart moves as well.
Snapchat is an interesting platform. Most popular with young and adolescent users, it’s a place where shared content is viewable for a short period of time. For dealers, it can be a good place to share exterior and interior shots and videos, highlight specific vehicles on the lot, and call out special offers and deals. You can use Snapchat in combination with geofencing by, say, targeting users at automotive-oriented businesses like audio and repair shops; or complementary businesses like retail spaces.
Snapchat won’t yield immediate returns for every car dealership out there, but it makes sense to have it on your radar. According to Pew Research, 73% of 18-24 year olds have used the platform. It’s where the next generation seems to be these day.
Is LinkedIn a valuable platform for dealerships? The platform has excellent demographic reach, especially if your target market tilts toward white-collar professionals. Conversely, the platform is primarily used for recruiting, job seeking, and building up professional brands.
At this moment in time, LinkedIn will probably be most effective for dealers who target professional and executive markets. If that’s you, you can explore paid ad options, post in professional groups, or blog your own content. And of course LinkedIn is huge for recruitment. If that’s your focus you should check out our sister group, LOCALiQ RECRUITMENT who can get you set with marketing to connect to job candidates.
Here’s the big one. YouTube is the most popular social media platform on Earth and lends itself beautifully to the car buyer’s journey. Video content is perfect for the car business – 69% percent of shoppers who incorporated it in their journey were influenced by it.
The most popular video content types are test drives, walk-throughs, or videos about features and options. Time spent viewing this content goes up every year – is your dealership getting in on the action?
Ready To Go Social?
The trick to automotive social media marketing is focus on the social platforms that best connect with your target audience.
If you don’t know where to start or whether to put a Mayfair or a Nashville filter on your next Instagram post, we hope you’ll reach out to us. We offer social media management, social advertising, and YouTube ad solutions, and have the consumer insights and analytic tools to help your dealership target prospective customers on social media.
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