While car dealerships might choose to advertise via Facebook while also having an active presence on the popular social media site, the appeal of Instagram for visual content shouldn’t be undervalued for marketing purposes.
Pictures, videos and stories dominate Instagram accounts. To get noticed, dealerships might need to choose their visual content wisely. New to Instagram? Need some direction? Here’s a car dealership Instagram marketing tip: use car stock photos and images to drive appeal and views on the dealership account!
SOME INSTA-BACKGROUND ON INSTAGRAM
Instagram is Facebook’s photo-centric social site that boasts a billion monthly users! Social Media Perth also reports that Instagram is the second most popular free app on Apple’s App Store, and about a quarter of individuals with smartphones use the app.
So who’s on Instagram? Who isn’t’?!? Businesses, celebrities, musicians and just the average individual have accounts on this platform. But the content that drives views, likes or comments on Facebook isn’t won’t necessarily resonate via Instagram.
While Facebook lets users to share photos and videos, the site also focuses on sharing news stories and individual posts/content. With Facebook, dealerships might share longer updates on events, new employees or sales/promotions. A photo or video might be included, but Facebook is famous for ‘posts’ from users. Facebook is the place to share longer, detailed content.
Instagram, however, allows users to tell stories visually. Photos can include detailed written content as captions or to accompany pictures or graphics, but posts largely focus on the visual element of content. Photos, slideshows and videos are what users scroll through when they use Instagram.
As Instagram is so visually driven, photos and the quality of these images matter. Instagram is famous for filters (as is Snapchat). Users can modify photos to create a perfect snapshot. The app has many filter options, but, according to the site Canva, Clarendon is the most popular filter.
Influencers, celebrities and individuals might use filters to perfect their selfies or other shots, but are these filters useful for dealerships?
Photos of vehicles could be one of the popular photo posts for dealerships. When marketing new vehicles and pre-owned models, a picture could influence interest…or detract buyers from even taking a second look. A bad photo isn’t great for marketing…or sales.
But are filters the answer to make vehicles look sleek? Filters could help improve lighting for a photo, if the dealership didn’t hire a pro to snap those shots. But dealerships might be careful using filters, too. Obviously buyers want to see the vehicle that they might purchase, and they want an honest look at that vehicle. A vehicle shouldn’t look one way in the photo only to be completely different on the lot.
One of the most honest content marketing posts for a pre-owned car actually went viral. The post was via Facebook (not Instagram), but it showed a pre-owned car with all its flaws. Rust and all. The text was incredibly honest, and no detail was spared. The car sold. The ad was covered by multiple media outlets. And years later, it’s still being rediscovered.
NEW CAR MODELS AND THE ALLURE OF STOCK PHOTOS
Pre-owned cars will need to be photographed individually, as each one likely has its own flaws and back story. Using a stock photo for preowned cars really won’t work, as the vehicles aren’t new. However, for new car models (fresh out of the factory!), dealerships might wish to skip their own professional photos and ditch the possible need for filters. Instead, professional stock photos could provide the best look at a new car…and these images also might help drive interest on Instagram.
Instagram photos need to catch the attention of those clicking through the ‘Gram accounts. Maybe an individual is searching for a particular car, or maybe they are simply scrolling through Instagram during the evening.
Photos that grab the user’s attention will likely drive interest. Photos could be fun, extremely attractive or enticing for other reasons. Food photos can score big on Instagram, too. Photos and videos on an Instagram page won’t usually include text. So it’s very important that the photo stands solid and can pull in views. Photos that can generate an emotional response or that are visually appealing will likely fare well on Instagram.
For this reason, stock photos can be an asset to dealers when using Instagram for vehicle marketing. Stock photos are professional images. Vehicles are photographed in the best light and often include appealing backdrops that can catch the eye of consumers.
Photos might show vehicles in front of spectacular mountain ranges, with the crisp white clouds reflecting in a windshield. The shot is alluring, but it also can draw a reaction from buyers. Maybe they then associate that car with ruggedness and the capability of handling icy conditions.
Stock photos are snapped in a professional studio, and images can include not just the exterior but detailed shots of the interior as well. Consumers might be able to see the details of a gear shift, the wheel rims or other small details of the vehicle.
Instagram can allow users to include slideshows of photos in their account posts. Dealerships can include stock photo slideshows that allow consumers to see the car in different angles as well as all those interior shots and details.
Stock photos also can provide even more unique interactions for those clicking through Instagram. For example, EVOX Images can provide 360-degree photos that can be rotated for different views of a vehicle. Users can actually interact with the post…or the image.
Using stock photos, though, allows dealerships to think only about what text they will include with their slideshows and posts. The photos are perfectly cropped and offer the best depiction of the vehicle. There is no need for dealerships to amend the photos. The artistic work is finished. The details of the text for the post are the only concern for the dealership.
Instagram isn’t simply a photo gallery, although users can focus primarily on photos. The app also lets users post videos, and, for dealerships, EVOX Images also offers a video library. While photos can attract the eye of those scrolling through Instagram, video posts on a user’s account appear as a photo with a ‘play’ button displayed. Video content might capture the curiosity of consumers and entice them to hit that play button.
What videos can dealerships include from stock video libraries? EVOX Images offers fly-around videos and showroom videos, too. When users click on these videos they can get a video tour of the vehicle. For consumers that are using Instagram to research their favorite cars during the shopping process, this can help them gather information and find out if the car might be a fit.
Car dealerships can use both videos and photos to showcase their new vehicle models to customers via Instagram. However, there are a few other tips that dealerships might keep in mind when posting content to their Instagram account.
HASHTAGS, INTERACTIONS AND MORE
Pictures and videos that are professional, unique and eye-catching might help drive interactions on the app, but dealerships need to keep other marketing strategies in mind, too, when using Instagram for marketing.
To help other users find their content, Instagram posts include hashtags or @ mentions in their captions. Hashtags act as a sort of filing system for social media apps. For stock photo posts, dealerships would likely want to hashtag the make and model of the vehicle, the dealership and any other relevant details. The dealership also might tag the brand (e.g. Toyota, Chrysler, Ford, etc.). If dealerships are using a photo that isn’t from a stock library, they also should give photo credit to the photographer (if applicable).
Interactions also are important on all social media platforms. If someone asks a question or leaves a comment…interact, respond! Interactions show interest and engagement. Creativity also earns points on Instagram. Mix up those posts. Include a fun video at the dealership, introduce the sales team, or create a tour of the dealership.
POST OFTEN, AND BE SEEN
Consistency via social media can keep the account fresh. If dealerships don’t have a designated marketing team, they may be crunched for time to create new posts. Try to post on social media daily, but if that’s not feasible, aim for weekly.
If a social media account is abandoned for weeks, users might just stop looking at it. Creating new posts and regularly engaging with followers can help the dealership stay in front of potential customers.
DO DEALERSHIPS NEED INSTAGRAM?
Car dealerships offer products that can spark a sensory reaction from customers. That new car doesn’t just look shiny and pretty, but it has that new smell, too! While photos and videos can’t capture the wonderful new car scent, they can showcase the beauty and sleekness of a new car. Instagram’s focus on the visual elements of social media makes it a great choice for car dealership marketing.
Dealerships don’t need to participate in every social media site, but Instagram might be a natural fit for the industry. While marketing pre-owned vehicles might require dealerships to take their own photos, those new models can be captured perfectly with professional stock photos.
Photos and videos must catch the eye of Instagram users, and the images and video content offered by EVOX Images showcase every car in exquisite detail. Scroll through professional photo slideshows or click on a video that gives a virtual tour of a new vehicle model.
Professional stock photos let dealerships market their new vehicle inventory without compromising on details…or worrying about filters and cropping. The pictures tell the story, and the dealership can add the finishing touch with a caption, hashtags and maybe even an @ mention that draws attention to the manufacturer.