How Car Dealerships Can Use TikTok to Reach Gen Z Buyers

The social media app TikTok debuted in 2017 and since that time has grown rapidly in popularity among younger audiences. Reuters reported that the platform now counts 150 million monthly active users in the U.S. alone.

Gen Z and younger Millennials account for the majority of TikTok’s users—more than half are between the ages of 16 and 35. While Facebook is the most popular social media platform, less than a quarter of U.S. Facebook users are members of Gen Z. To reach younger buyers, TikTok could be the social media site of choice. Here’s how car dealerships can use TikTok to reach Gen Z buyers.

About TikTok

TikTok is a unique social media platform in that its content favors short videos. TikTok users don’t include text posts, although text could be overlaid atop the video. Many TikTok videos also include a snippet of music and other unique features to grab a viewer’s attention.

There is a bit of controversy surrounding the app, though. TikTok is owned by ByteDance, which is a Chinese-based company. In fact, the China affiliation has resulted in the app being banned for use on government devices both at the federal level. Some states also have initiated bans for the app related to government devices.

These bans aren’t unique to the U.S. In fact, the U.K. and New Zealand also banned the app for government devices. In addition, CNN reported that the U.S. is considering a full ban of the app. According to CNN, TikTok stated that the Chinese owners were being asked to sell their stake in the company or risk a ban in the U.S.

The concern over the app is related to data collection and perhaps tracking, too. Typically, an app’s terms of service outlines the data that the app collects, what it tracks, etc. Data collection is nothing new in tech. However, TikTok is a Chinese-based app; this means that the data being collected from U.S. users is owned by a company in China. Concerns might be tied to how the information is being used and shared and with whom that data is being shared.

How Car Dealerships Can Use TikTok

How Can Dealerships Use TikTok?

Staying active on social media helps car dealerships stay in front of potential and current customers. Social media accounts also help to elevate the dealership’s visibility if and when consumers search for them via Google or other search engines.

Dealerships might be active on YouTube, which allows them to post longer videos and more robust content. TikTok is unique in that it favors short video content.

When using TikTok, snappy and fun videos can be preferred. Some users also post advice videos. In addition, these videos typically feature unique graphics and/or music snippets.

Since TikTok is unique in its content, dealerships might be tentative to get active on this platform. Again, though, TikTok is favored by younger Gen Z and Millennial users. Dealerships that want to expand their visibility to these buyers might consider establishing an account on this social media platform.

10 Ideas for Fun and Engaging TikTok Videos

If dealerships are interested in getting active on TikTok, they can begin to explore the app to discover content and understand what’s popular on this platform. While TikTok videos can hit 10 minutes, shorter videos fare better with viewers.

The best length for a video on TikTok may vary, though. While shorter videos can be impactful for fun or commentary content, longer videos could be more effective for videos designed as tutorials. In general, videos that are around 30 seconds (or under a minute) might be the best length to keep viewers engaged.

What videos can car dealerships create for TikTok? Creativity can inspire unique social media content, and TikTok provides numerous tools to engage viewers with music and graphics to elevate the experience. A dealership’s culture and brand can influence the type of content they post via TikTok, and dealerships shouldn’t be afraid to brainstorm fun, quirky and impactful video topics.

For dealerships that need a little help and inspiration, here are 10 ideas for fun and engaging TikTok videos:

  1. Post a dance challenge.
  2. Include tips for basic car care.
  3. Host an Ask the Dealership series.
  4. Show off a new model.
  5. Alert followers about a new promotion or a special event/sale.
  6. Create a holiday video.
  7. Offer maintenance tips.
  8. Take viewers on a tour of the showroom.
  9. Discuss down payments.
  10. Introducing the team.

The Dance Challenge Video

TikTok is famous for challenge videos, especially dance challenges. These videos show users trying to perform a specific dance. Post a video of the team taking the challenge. This could be a Dance Party Friday video and the dealership might post a dance each week. Have fun with these challenges.

Tips for Basic Car Care

Teach viewers about basic car care. Help them understand how often they need to wash their car, when to change out the wiper blades, etc. Some younger viewers might be preparing to purchase their first car; help them understand the basic car care needs for a new vehicle.

Host an Ask the Dealership Series

Encourage viewers or followers to leave questions in the comments related to cars, car history, maintenance, etc. An Ask the Dealership Series can encourage followers to ask any question related to the dealership, the cars the dealership offers, etc. Choose a few questions and create a video with the answers.

How Car Dealerships Can Use TikTok

Show Off a New Model

Influencers or other users often post ‘unboxing’ videos where they unveil new products they purchased or received. Some show off their ‘hauls’ from stores, too. Dealerships can unveil a new model that has just arrived at the dealership. Cover the car with a tarp and reveal it to the audience; show off the interior and other cool features, too.

Promote a Sale

Is the dealership about to offer a special sale or host an event? Create a video to promote a sale or a special deal related to APR or leasing a specific model. Don’t forget to include a CTA (call to action).

Create a Holiday Video

Reach out to viewers and followers with a holiday message. These videos don’t have to focus on the standard winter holidays or other popular holidays; instead, dealerships can opt to celebrate some of the more random holidays of the year. Wish followers a Happy National Dog Day, encourage them to name their vehicle on National Name Your Car Day (October 2), or celebrate Earth Day and promote recycling efforts or other sustainable habits. The website National Days Today includes all the national holidays; peruse the list and celebrate via video.

Offer Maintenance Tips

Certain mileage milestones correlate to maintenance needs for a vehicle. Create a video focused on maintenance needs for these mileage milestones. These videos can help potential buyers understand what they need to check throughout the life of their vehicle. Dealerships can specify that each car could have unique maintenance needs, too.

Show Off the Showroom

Take viewers on a tour of the showroom. Conduct a quick TikTok tour of the dealership’s showroom or their lot. Show off some new models and don’t forget to add music.

Discuss Down Payments

Buyers might wonder how much they should allocate for a down payment. Consider creating a video that explains the importance of a down payment. Dealerships also can discuss how a trade-in can help lower the purchase price of a new vehicle.

Introduce the Team

Create a video to highlight each team member. The team might tell viewers a fun fact about them and talk about their role at the dealership. Team videos help buyers put a face with a name.

How Car Dealerships Can Use TikTok

Choose Your Own Unique Video Content

Dealerships don’t have to focus on these 10 ideas. Again, create content that leans into the unique dealership culture or that helps support the brand. Create a video that introduces the dealership’s mascot or explain the mascot’s history.

A video could focus on the dealership’s history, too. Some dealerships have been owned by a family for generations. Discuss how the dealership began, who founded it and show pictures of what the dealership looked like when it first opened.

Dealerships also can provide commentary related to auto news. For example, during the microchip shortage, some models were very difficult to find at dealerships. Video content could have focused on details about why and how the shortage impacted inventory or the videos could have highlighted when new inventory rolled into the dealership.

If the dealership is closed because of weather or another issue, dealerships typically post a note to social media. For TikTok, create a video about the snow day or issue impacting the dealership’s hours. Use TikTok to help followers understand these changes.

Do Dealerships Need TikTok?

Some dealerships might have no interest in creating a TikTok account. Not all social media platforms interest every business. Some dealerships might be active on Facebook and Twitter and just don’t have time to create more content. Dealerships also might be concerned about privacy and feel more comfortable with U.S. owned platforms.

Social media engagement is important to ensure that the dealership maximizes its online visibility. However, the choice of platforms for this engagement is not the same for every business. Research TikTok and other social media platforms to determine the best options for which to engage with customers and get social online.