Digital marketing utilizes online tactics and campaigns to promote a business and expand its reach to core audiences. Social media platforms are designed for engagement and outreach, but for businesses these platforms are an integral medium to reach vast consumer demographics and increase visibility in the digital realm.
Social media presents two beneficial purposes for car dealerships. These platforms promote conversation and enhance communication between the dealership and its social media followers (customers) and also provide another medium for marketing new vehicles, events and more. Here’s how dealerships can get social and use social media as a marketing tool:
- Show new vehicles
- Keep customers aware of changes at the dealership
- Create conversations with followers/customers
- Poll followers about favorite cars, trends, etc.
- Launch videos that the public can use as shopping resources
What Social Media Platforms are the Best Platforms for Car Dealerships?
There are numerous social media platforms available online and via apps. Popular social media platforms include:
Which platforms are the best options for car dealerships? The answer really depends on the dealership and its preferences. Each platform is designed differently; some platforms focus on video content, but others can include various types of posts.
Facebook is the most popular social media app/platform; it has more than 2.9 billion monthly active users globally. Most dealerships will probably launch a Facebook page. The platform allows users to post updates, video content and photos, too. Facebook’s design is easy to use, and, with so many users, the platform can reach a wider audience. In addition, dealerships also can launch ad campaigns via Facebook.
Instagram is owned by Meta, which is Facebook’s parent company, too. Instagram used to be focused on photo content, but it has evolved to include short-form video content, too. While Facebook lets users include long messages via posts, Instagram typically includes text content as captions for videos or photos. Instagram also lets users post ‘stories’ that are erased after 24 hours. The platform counts 2.35 billion users.
TikTok is a newer platform. It focuses on short-form video content. TikTok has generated controversy as it’s owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company. Currently, the app is banned for use on federal government devices; many state governments also have banned the app on government devices. The U.S. also has talked of a nationwide ban of the app. However, TikTok is very popular among younger audiences. It currently has 150 million users.
YouTube only offers video content. Those who use the platform host their own channel where they can post long or short videos. Musicians typically have their own YouTube channels and release music videos via the platform. Demand Sage reports that YouTube has about 2.6 billion monthly active users.
Snapchat used to be one of the more popular social media platforms for younger users. The platform is designed for messages to disappear once they are sent. Snapchat counts 750 million monthly active users.
Twitter is designed for quick updates. Text characters are limited, but this platform is ideal for back and forth conversations, to post updates and announce news. Twitter was recently acquired by Elon Musk and is currently going through a revamp. The platform peaked in popularity with about 368 million monthly active users in 2022.
How Each Platform Offers Unique Opportunities for Car Dealerships
Some car dealerships have a designated social media team or professional that handles all social media accounts. Their job is to keep the dealership’s accounts updated and to engage with followers. Not all dealerships have a designated employee to maintain their social media, though.
Dealerships might need to pick and choose the social media platforms on which they remain active. If the owner or another staff member needs to keep these accounts updated, they might have a limited amount of time to update these accounts.
Every platform has a unique strength. For example, Facebook offers the widest reach and has the most monthly active users. The platform also lets users post a variety of content.
Instagram is one of the best platforms for posting photos or photo slideshows. In addition, users also can post short videos.
Dealerships might launch a TikTok account to post short videos and to be visible to younger buyers. However, dealerships need to create snappy and exciting content for this platform.
YouTube is the best platform for videos. Users can post long or short videos. Many dealerships use the platform to post test drive videos, create helpful content (like car care and maintenance videos) or even to show off new models.
Snapchat is another unique platform for dealerships. Not only can dealerships launch photos, but the platform also offers advertising opportunities. Snapchat also offers augmented reality.
Twitter is the ideal platform for posting quick and short updates. Some businesses are active on Twitter, and car dealerships can use the platform to keep customers aware of events, promotions, etc.
How Dealerships Can Use Social Media for Marketing
There are a number of ways that car dealerships can use social media for marketing and engaging with followers/customers. Each platform might allow the dealership to market to customers a bit differently.
Show New Vehicles
Show off new inventory via social media. For Facebook, photos and videos of cars can be posted. In addition, Facebook also lets businesses post details about the new models. Instagram lets dealerships post a slideshow to show off new models, or dealerships can post a short video introducing the model.
YouTube provides an opportunity to create a walkaround video experience. Talk about the new model, show off the cool features and let customers see inside. Dealerships also could post a test drive video showing the model on the road.
TikTok requires dealerships to post shorter video content. Give followers a glimpse of new inventory and offer some details about the cars, too.
Keep Customers Aware of Changes at the Dealership
Use social media to help customers understand any updated hours or possible events happening at the dealership. Facebook and Twitter are the two best platforms for keeping customers and the general public up-to-date about news at the dealership. In addition, if there’s a ‘snow day’ or other major update, some businesses post a related picture on Instagram with an update.
Use social media to ensure that customers are aware of new hours, holidays, possible closures, etc. Social media also can be used to remind customers about events, sales, etc.
Create Conversations with Followers/Customers
Social media is designed for social outreach and conversations. Engage followers on these apps. If customers or followers leave a comment, the dealership should respond.
Social media platforms help businesses and the public connect and engage. Create posts that encourage conversations and engagement via these platforms.
Poll Followers about Favorite Cars, Trends, Etc.
Social media platforms make it easy for businesses to reach out to followers about their thoughts and opinions. Want to know how social media followers think about a certain issue? Poll them. Businesses can use social media polls to better understand the feelings, buying habits and preferences of customers.
In addition, polls also could just be posted for fun. For example, businesses can ask followers about their favorite Halloween candy. For car dealerships, polls also can be used when considering changes like adding a new service. Don’t be afraid to reach out to followers via social media for their opinions. These polls can help businesses better meet the needs of their customers.
Launch Videos that the Public Can Use as Shopping Resources
Video-focused social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram and TikTok can be used to post videos that can help aid the buying and shopping journey for those researching from home. Many buyers conduct research online when they shop for a car. Videos can help buyers better understand their car options, and dealerships also can create videos that help buyers better understand the car shopping process.
Consider a video series focused on how to apply for a car loan, how much to allocate for a down payment and the difference between leasing and buying. Create video content that serves as a resource for those at home.
Without Social Media, A Dealership Could Be Invisible
There are a variety of different social media platforms, and billions engage on these platforms every day. Social media has become a popular method for individuals to connect with friends and family and businesses, too.
If a business is not active on any social media platforms, they could lose online visibility. Even a Facebook account can help a business stay connected and engaged online.
While every car dealership might have its own preferences and methods for social media engagement and marketing, dealerships should try to stay active on at least one platform. Maintaining accounts also is important; ideally, social media accounts should be updated daily. However, if time is crunched, try to post once or a few times per week.
Social media is a digital medium that lets businesses stay engaged with their customers and promote their products and services, too. Every platform has its own strengths and unique design, and dealerships can research each platform to better understand its capabilities.