Storytelling might bring up connotations of fish tales, fairy tales, campfire stories or even legends and lore. On social media, though, storytelling means something very different. This is a way to expand on a post and to give followers more information about a particular topic, subject or unique news story related to the business.
On social media, it’s not enough to just post updates. When businesses tell a story on social media, they take those basic posts to another level of engagement and interest. Story content can be longer or just involve short videos (like Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories). The goal, though, is that the content captures the interest of the audience.
But what stories are worth telling? And how can businesses tell them? There are so many ways to tell a story. Check out these tips, examples and ideas for creating engaging story content for your dealership.
USE INSTAGRAM TO TELL A STORY IN PICTURES AND VIDEO
On Instagram, there are stories and then there are Stories. Instagram Stories are videos that disappear after 24 hours…and were a bit inspired by Snapchat. Pictures also can tell a story via captions on Instagram, separate from Stories.
Not familiar with this popular social media site? What dealerships need to know about this platform is that Instagram is a visual-centric social media site. Accounts are filled with colorful content including selfies, branded or sponsored posts, and anything and everything else that top influencers might think will capture attention. Instagram is home to many influencers who use the site to further boost collaborations, campaigns or other partnerships as well as unique content, too.
But you don’t have to be an influencer to take advantage of all that Instagram offers. Companies use the platform to capture their business in pictures and stories. For example, Toyota USA’s Instagram account features photos of new models, including some up close shots of interior features. However, the account also includes news stories as well as IGTV content and other stories related to Racing, Team Toyota, and more.
So what are Instagram Stories? Again, they are videos that are somewhat similar to Snapchat, as they disappear after 24 hours. The Stories feature on Instagram is incredibly popular. Statista notes that in 2019, Instagram Stories boasted 500 million active daily users!
Why might businesses want to use Instagram to tell and share their stories? HootSuite breaks down the stats of this site and why Instagram is the social media platform to eyeball this year. According to HootSuite, 81 percent of people are using Instagram to find out more about products, and half actually visit a site to buy something!
How businesses including car dealerships leverage their stories and content depends on their own goals and maybe their content, too. Dealerships can get incredibly creative with pictures and stories on Instagram. But before diving in headfirst, those new to the platform might want to test out the features and play around with different tools.
STORYTELLING ON FACEBOOK
Facebook might be one of the first social media platforms that dealerships use for outreach. Facebook is easy to navigate, and many individuals have a personal account and are familiar with how to use the different tools.
Telling stories on Facebook can be inclusive of video, photos or longer chunks of text. Facebook is a great site to post pictures of new inventory or even just to send a shout-out to an employee for an anniversary or birthday.
Want to dive deeper? Post a picture or video and write a detailed caption giving followers more background. Unlike Twitter, there are no character limits and this allows users to create more detailed posts. It’s not unusual to see long posts via Facebook.
Since Facebook and Instagram are owned by the same company, Facebook Stories also are an option. Like Instagram Stories, they disappear after 24 hours. Facebook stories allow users to integrate fun filters, too (just like Instagram).
So what stories can dealerships tell? Whatever they want! Post a funny video via Stories. Or write a lengthy post about the success of an event. Or write up a longer post about a new employee or to bid well wishes to a retiring employee.
TELLING STORIES ON YOUTUBE
YouTube is an ideal social media site to post longer video stories. While Instagram and Facebook Stories might be shorter (and impermanent), YouTube lets users get more detailed with their video stories.
Visit YouTube and users can discover music videos, movie previews, commercials, user movies and videos and so much more. Users can watch content posted by the History Channel, MTV, the BBC as well as other broadcast networks.
Dealerships can post their commercials or opt to create fun content. A dealership YouTube channel also could be a great way to post a variety of videos from the dealership like a virtual test drive, a virtual tour of the showroom or even videos that highlight new inventory. To showcase new models and inventory, dealerships might show all vantage points of the vehicle including the interior and up close views of unique features.
NETWORK ON LINKEDIN
Don’t forget LinkedIn! This is a site that can help dealerships make new business connections or even find employees for open positions.
With LinkedIn, companies can post jobs or simply share news about the events at the dealership. Did you win a prestigious award? Write up a news story and include it on LinkedIn. Or share a news story about the dealership’s charitable contributions.
Businesses and individuals also use LinkedIn to share industry news, too!
TIPS FOR ALL STORIES
When posting any story to social media, there are a few tips to keep in mind to help the post reach its intended audience. Here’s how to help boost those metrics:
Use hashtags liberally! These are like little keywords that can help users find content. A post could include popular tags like #fbf (flashback Friday) or even reference a popular event or holiday. Hashtag the dealership name, too! Also, feel free to use as many hashtags as you want! But don’t get too hashtag happy.
- Use call-outs, too! These are the popular @ references. Some posts will @ a celebrity to, hopefully, increase visibility. Dealerships might wish to tag or @ a particular brand (e.g. Jeep) as well as people who are referenced in a post or story.
- Cite sources. Referencing statistics? Cite those sources. Link to the source, use an @, but make sure you reference the original poster or source.
- Follow other accounts. Don’t forget to follow other businesses and interesting accounts. Engaging with others may help boost engagement, too.
- Engage with followers. Jump into the comments to say thanks or participate in a conversation.
- Monitor engagement and conversations. Know what’s going on via all social network accounts. Be on the lookout for questions or concerns posted on the accounts. Customer service is necessary on social media, too!
Some dealerships have an employee whose designated job is to handle all social media accounts. Others have to wing it. If dealerships don’t have a marketing team or an individual to take on the social sites, it may be a good idea not to set-up accounts on too many sites. Manage what you can manage.
WHAT ABOUT TWITTER?
Dealerships might be wondering about sharing stories on Twitter. While dealerships can link to stories on other sites, Twitter tends to be all about brevity. Characters are limited. So individuals who want to post a lot of text have to break it down into multiple tweets. And, really, this can get cumbersome. Users also can link to videos and other content that they post on YouTube or Instagram. This can help boost views to those sites.
However, dealerships who prefer brevity may love Twitter. The platform can be a great place to post details on contests or events. Tweet out reminders about sales or other promotions. Twitter is also great for promoting content on other sites…like Instagram.
TELL YOUR STORY
Dealerships might have many different stories to tell and use different ways to showcase those stories. Some dealerships may be incredibly savvy on social media and have accounts on multiple platforms. There could be a designated employee for social media marketing; videos, stories and photos might be posted to sites daily.
Other dealerships might be smaller and have a limited staff. They might have to pick and choose what platforms to use and what stories to tell. Every dealership, every business is different.
When time and manpower is limited, tell the stories most important to the dealership. This could be about a big sale or a unique promotion. Maybe another week, social media stories highlight new inventory or celebrate employee anniversaries.
Social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and even LinkedIn provide different media for stories and content. Tell a story with a video, in photos or with digital ink. The chosen medium for a dealership may be the one in which they are most comfortable. Not everyone feels confident creating videos, but pictures, captions and news stories might be easier to create.
There is no right way to tell a story. There is no perfect platform. Create a dialogue by showcasing the dealership’s unique brand in the medium that works for the business. Then use hashtags and call-outs to help increase visibility and awareness. When the discussion opens up beneath a post, join in! Thank followers, share updates, keep an eye on those accounts…and watch out for trolls!