Did you know that 72% of Americans use at least one form of social media? That means that your prospective car buyers are on social media – so your dealership should be, too.
Whether you’ve already included social media as part of your automotive marketing strategy or are looking to add this important component to your car dealer marketing, we’ve got you covered with what you need to know.
In this post, we’ll cover:
- Why social media marketing is essential for car dealers.
- What channels your automotive social media marketing strategy should include.
- The types of content to include in your automotive social media marketing strategy.
- How to deal with consumer comments and reviews on social media.
Let’s start our engines and get going!
Why is Automotive Social Media Marketing Important?
Social media is becoming an increasingly important part of the modern car buyer’s journey. Google found that one car buyer went through over 900 digital touchpoints before purchasing her car. 900! That’s an insane number that speaks to the various places consumers are searching before buying their next vehicle.
Consider this recent data:
- 78% of all car buyers consider social media useful in choosing their next car.
- 47% of car buyers spend time on Facebook Marketplace, according to our study.
- Our research also shows that Facebook is the most popular social media platform for exploring dealerships.
Social media marketing allows you to reach a broad cross-section of users. What’s more, these platforms generate a lot of user data, allowing you to target specific audiences in a pretty precise way and learn more about the consumers engaging with you online.
What Channels Make Up an Automotive Social Media Marketing Strategy?
It’s essential to create a solid strategy for your social media marketing, including identifying the right channels for your dealership to be active on in order to reach and engage with car buyers.
Here are some fast facts about the top social media channels for a car dealer marketing strategy to include:
- Facebook has more than 2 billion monthly active users, with more than half of U.S. residents using Facebook several times a day. You can post a mix of content on Facebook, from images and videos to shared links to polls. That flexibility coupled with its deep targeting capabilities around Facebook ads makes it a great fit for any automotive social media marketing strategy.
- Instagram has over 1 billion active monthly users. Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, you can run ads that cover both channels, and you can share some great visual content to engage with fans and followers on the site.
- Twitter has more than 62 million U.S. users and is a fast-paced social site where you’re limited to 288 characters per post. Twitter is a great place to share links to your website and relevant content to engage with your audience there.
What Content Should You Include in Your Automotive Social Media Marketing Strategy?
When it comes to creating a posting strategy for your automotive social media marketing, there are many types of content you can include. Let’s break it down into the top types of content you should consider sharing as part of your automotive social media marketing strategy.
Video content plays well across the major social platforms and works to engage and attract users. It can also help boost engagement with your social sites. In fact, videos on social generate 12 times more shares than image and text posts combined.
Here are some ideas for videos you can create and share on your social channels:
- A tour of your dealership.
- A customer testimonial.
- An interview with an employee.
- A video highlighting the services your dealership provides – like your auto repair center.
- A video test drive of a new vehicle.
Links to relevant content.
You can share links on Facebook and Twitter to relevant content (or your own content!) to serve as a resource for your fans and followers. You can share links on Instagram, but it’s more difficult as links aren’t clickable in posts – only through your bio. If you want to share links from Instagram, you can set up a free link aggregator that can be updated each time you want to share a new link.
Here are some ideas of the types of content you can share on your dealership’s social channels:
- Updates with links to your latest blog post.
- Links to articles from industry publications on how to care for your car.
- Links from news sources about relevant recalls.
- Links to positive reviews of your dealership on Google My Business or Yelp.
- Links to news articles about new vehicles.
- Links to local information your audience would find interesting – not everything you share has to be car-related! You can make your page a community resource as well.
Obviously on Instagram sharing pictures is going to be your bread and butter. But, users on other social media platforms like to engage with images as well. Facebook posts with images see an average 34% increase in engagement versus those without, and tweets with pictures see an average 35% increase in engagement.
But, what types of images should you share on your car dealer’s social media pages? Here are some ideas:
- New cars that come on the lot.
- Happy customers leaving with their new set of keys.
- Employees – both in the showroom and in the repair center.
- Safety protocols that your dealership has in place.
Your dealership is part of a local community, and there are opportunities for you to use your social media pages to engage with your community beyond your cars and services. As we briefly covered in the link-sharing section, you can share information with your fans and followers about what’s happening in your community.
Here are some ideas for sharing community-related social posts on your dealership’s social media sites:
- Upcoming events in the area – it’s always a bonus if you’re hosting or sponsoring these events, but it could just be something that your employees are excited about or where you’ll have some kind of presence.
- Local news that might be relevant to your audience – this could be weather-related information or something fun that’s been spotlighted about your local area.
- Feature other local businesses or organizations you support – this could even be a picture of you and the team at lunch or just a shout out for your favorite businesses to spread some love.
What Should You Know About Posting to Your Dealership’s Social Media Channels?
The type of content you share can be posted to pretty much all your social channels – but you might want to make some adjustments based on the platform. For example, Twitter allows only 288 characters, so you may need to shorten your posts from Facebook and Instagram.
You may also notice that your audience on Twitter really enjoys images while your audience on Facebook enjoys links to relevant content – pay attention to what’s performing well on each social media channel and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Lastly, the posting frequency differs for each channel. As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to post daily on Facebook and Instagram and a couple of times a day on Twitter. Because Twitter is much more fast-paced, you can get away with posting more there.
Should I Include Ads as Part of my Automotive Social Media Marketing Strategy?
The short answer here is yes! Social media ads give you a way to reach a new, highly targeted audience and increase your digital footprint.
Social media ads, specifically through Facebook, allow you to target audiences that look like your current customer, increasing the chances that you might convert a social media user into a new customer. You can also target users based on demographic information, which – using your customer data – can be highly effective for your dealership if you understand your target audience.
Social media ads have many formats, so you can use high-quality images and videos to resonate with users on both Facebook and Instagram through ads. And, social media ads are effective for car dealers. We shared that 78% of car buyers think social media is useful when choosing their next car – but, they might not be actively engaging with your dealership on social media already. Social media ads give you a way to get your dealership in front of them when they’re engaging in the car-buying journey.
How Do I Deal with Comments & Reviews on my Car Dealer’s Social Media Pages?
Social media gives the consumer the means to publicly engage with your dealership on his or her own terms. On the one hand, this is a great thing. It’s always nice to get (public) positive feedback about your dealership or even receive constructive feedback that can help you improve. On the flip side, however, it can mean that anyone with a social account can rake your dealership over the coals.
This can be a costly problem for dealerships as more and more consumers are turning to online reviews when making a car buying decision.
Here are some quick tips for handling reviews and comments on your dealership’s social media pages:
- Engage with positive reviews and comments. Social media is a two-way conversation between you and your audience, so engage with them when they take time to comment on a post or leave a review. It doesn’t have to be anything more than a quick “thank you!” or “we’re happy you enjoyed your experience!” But, a little response can go a long way.
- Respond to negative reviews and comments. This is super important. You have the opportunity to not only rectify a negative situation with your response, but you can influence consumers who might be reading your reviews based on how you respond. Get our tips for responding to negative reviews here.
- Monitor your pages frequently. Consumers expect a quick response from dealerships on social media – whether it’s from a comment, Facebook message, or review. Make sure you check your social media pages at least once a day to ensure you’re actively answering any inquiry, piece of feedback, or complaint from a customer or prospective customer.
Ready to Rev Up Your Automotive Social Media Marketing?
We’ve covered the basics of what you need to know for your automotive social media marketing strategy. If you want some help kicking your strategy into high gear or implementing social media into your car dealer marketing, we’re here to help. We know our way around the social platforms – and we have the best practices to prove it! We’re ready to help you start winning the engagement and customers you’ve been hoping for with your car dealership social media. Reach out today.