Ultimate Guide to Utilizing TikTok for Car Dealers in 2023

With over 1 billion users, TikTok is definitely one of the most popular social media platforms right now. Using TikTok is a way for a car dealership to build a huge following quickly. This is great for dealerships that are trying to sell their inventory online or sell on their lot.

To get the most from TikTok for your dealership, it is beneficial to know exactly what you are getting into with the platform. It takes consistency, originality, and dedication to make TikTok work for you and your dealership. 

In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about properly utilizing TikTok for your advantage as a car dealership.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is an incredibly popular social media platform with more than 2.5 billion downloads. Users are able to watch, share, and create short videos of about 15 to 60 seconds in length. The app allows for personalized feeds, fun music, and silly filters, making it extremely addictive.

From its first appearance in 2016, TikTok has quickly increased in popularity. The app shows one of the highest engagement rates between users of any social media platform due to the ability to easily collaborate with other content creators.

Advantage of Using TikTok as a Car Dealer

Most people see TikTok as just a way to watch silly videos and teenagers dancing for hours on end. However, it is mostly people who don’t actually use the app that view it this way. Car dealerships surprisingly have a huge advantage using this app, and the advantage is that not many dealerships actually use it.

Since there are very few car dealerships that actually use TikTok, it is more likely that your dealership’s content will be seen by users. For example, the few car dealerships that are using TikTok consistently are seeing tens of thousands of views on their videos.

There is always an opportunity to reach someone on TikTok that you might not have reached otherwise. 50% of TikTok users are over the age of 30, meaning there is a very high chance even if someone isn’t actively looking for a car, your dealership will spark an interest in them.

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Signing Up with TikTok with Your Dealership

When you sign up for TikTok, you will be able to register as a business account. You will work with a sales agent at TikTok to set up your account and get it verified. This proves that you are really the owner of the account.

After you work with the sales agent to get verified, you will get a blue checkmark next to your account name. This builds trust with people who will see your profile because they know that you actually are who you say you are.

Not only does having a business verified account help you build a strong following, but it also helps when running paid TikTok ads. Potential customers will be less likely to react to an ad if they aren’t sure that you actually know what you are talking about.

Types of Content to Post as a Car Dealer on TikTok

As a car dealer using TikTok, it is important to know the different types of content that you can post on TikTok. There are three main types of content: owned content, paid content, and earned content.

Owned Content

This is content that you post straight to your own TikTok account. Posting your own, owned content will help potential customers find your page and establish your presence. Owned content also allows you to test out what type of content works best for you and your audience, giving you valuable insight for running ads.

Paid Content

This is content that you have paid to have shown to a specific audience, such as ads. Using paid content is a great way to reach a large amount of people that are targeted based on your specifications.

Earned Content

This is content that is still about your car dealership and your brand, but it is posted by other people. For example, someone else shares a TikTok about how they visited your dealership and were extremely happy with the experience. This not only gives you the ability to be seen by more people, there is a higher chance local TikTokers will see these posts and visit you.

Car Dealers in 2023

Viewer Participation on TikTok for Car Dealers

TikTok makes it easy for viewers to participate with your content. In addition to commenting on your videos, customers can also Duet and Stitch with your videos. Since this is fun and easy for users of the app, they tend to do it a lot.

  • Duet is a feature that TikTok offers that allows creators to share two videos side by side. In this case, a customer could do a reaction video to your TikTok and both videos can be viewed at the same time.
  • Stitch is a feature that allows TikTok users to trim clips from another user’s video in their own video. This is most commonly used for reactions to what customers have just watched.
  • Comments allow users to directly comment on your content and allows you to respond to them. You can either respond to the comment directly or you can create a response video for commonly asked questions in comments.

Advertising on TikTok

As a car dealer, advertising is crucial to keep up with competition. TikTok allows you to pay for advertising on their platform and reach millions of people at a time. There are four different ways to advertise your business on TikTok.

In-Feed Ads

Most people scroll through their For You page for hours on end. This makes in-feed ads the easiest, most direct way to target your customers. In-feed ads show up on the For You pages of people who match your target audience to raise your brand awareness quickly.

Spark Ads

Spark ads are an even more organic way to drive traffic to your content. Spark ads work by allowing you to boost the visibility of an already shared video on your TikTok page. These ads will still show up on potential customer’s For You page, but it will look just like any other video and not like an ad.

According to TikTok, Spark ads boast a 30% higher completion rate, 43% higher rate of conversion, and 143% higher rate of engagement than their In-feed ads.

Branded Hashtag Challenge

Hashtags are just one way of being discovered on TikTok. You can start what is called a Branded Hashtag Challenge, which is a way of getting the community involved in your content. You can start a challenge and then choose a winner at the end of a selected time period.

Branded Effect

A fun part of TikTok is being able to use different effects over videos. You can create one of these effects and upload it to TikTok with your car dealership as the brand name creator of the effect. When people use this effect, they will see your dealership name, and so will everyone who watches the video.

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TikTok Tips for Car Dealers

Now that you know what TikTok is, how to advertise on it, and how to use it, let’s take a look at some incredibly useful tips to make TikTok work efficiently for your car dealership.

  1. Use plenty of hashtags. Hashtags are an easy way to reach more customers without really advertising. Using hashtags that are relevant to your content, and popular, can quickly increase the number of people who find your TikTok page.
  2. Post consistently. The idea is to post on a consistent basis to get your page found. TikTok recommends posting between one and four times each day to get discovered quickly. Start creating and planning your content before creating your account to ensure you have enough to satisfy this recommendation.
  3. Authenticity goes far. If you are posting robotic-like content, TikTokers aren’t going to respond to this. They want to see entertaining content that isn’t the same thing over and over again. 
  4. Show some behind-the-scenes action. Take your viewers behind the scenes and show them what it’s like to work as a mechanic in the dealership. Show them how the finance manager does their job. Take them on a day in the life of a salesperson.
  5. Share some how-to content. As a car dealership, you can show potential customers what they can do to get a better trade-in value for their current car or how to change a tire quickly. This information is helpful and educational while still being entertaining.

Don’t get discouraged. TikTok fame doesn’t happen overnight, and it might not happen at all. If you aren’t getting the views you want right away, don’t get discouraged. You might just need to tweak your strategy and try again.