Social media marketing is something many car dealerships both big and small tend to shy away from.
Often, they leave the social media efforts to the brands they offer (Holden, Ford, Honda etc) and under utilise their social channels.
When used correctly and with innovation, social media can be a great way to increase sales, brand awareness, and customer support for car dealers.
Social media is about telling stories, not selling products
The key is making sure that you give more than you get. Social media is about telling stories, not selling products, so all information presented should stick to this rule: Is it engaging, informative, or educational?
If not, don’t post it! Stuck for ideas on how to engage your audience on social media? Here are some suggestions to start you off.
Use your social media posts to introduce your readers to your dealership's’ staff and help break the stereotypical bad rep that many car salespeople have.
Each week, showcase a different staff member using a friendly photo of them as well as including some non-work information about them such as details on their families, pets, or interests.
Buying a car is a big decision for most people and they need to feel like they can trust their salesperson
Buying a car is a big decision for most people and they need to feel like they can trust their salesperson, you can help build this trust by showcasing some of your staff members every month.
One of the best things about social media marketing is that, when done right, your fans do it for you!
Asking fans to share relevant photos to your social media channels is a great way to increase engagement as well as gain valuable unique content for later use (make sure to ask permission though).
Once a week, ask your fans to submit photos of their vehicles to your social media channels.
Start by sharing a make/model of a car, and then ask your readers to comment with photos of their similar models.
You can mix it up by using a theme, for example ask readers to share photo of them taking their 4x4 off road, pets in their car, or the typical Sunday carwash.
The key is to keep it fun and engaging - make sure you respond to every photo submission, and if you want to use any of the photos make sure to ask permission first.
Competitions and giveaways are a great way to gain followers and increase engagement. You can either host them via your page (make sure to follow the terms and conditions of hosting competitions on Facebook), or you can host them via a third party app like Shortstack.
The key to hosting a successful competition on social media is making sure:
- the competition is easy to enter, and
- the prize is valuable.
Valuable doesn’t necessarily mean expensive, it just has to be something of valuable to your ideal client (ie: a free service or set of tires).
Keep entry requirements simple and straightforward, if you are hosting via a third party app like Shortstack ask for first name and email only.
If you choose to host directly to Facebook, ask people to enter via a comment. Comments on the post make the competition fun, and also increase your organic reach meaning that more people will see your post for free!
The best types of competitions encourage engagements
The best types of competitions encourage engagements - for example, "finish this sentence" competitions tend to be very successful (ie: Finish this sentence: My car hasn’t had a service in...")
You may have noticed by now that the above post suggestions don’t involve any selling of any products or services.
This is because the best kind of social media marketing is about building awareness, trust, and engagement via informative and interesting posts rather than trying to hard-sell to the customer.
Occasionally, (no more than 20% of your posts), you can post a direct link back to your website with a special offer
Occasionally, (no more than 20% of your posts), you can post a direct link back to your website with a special offer you may have on your vehicles or service department.
Make sure you keep these posts engaging and tell a story with them, rather than trying to sell the car via a "this car is now $19,990 get in quick" post.
Highlight the benefits rather than the features, and make sure you choose an engaging image to accompany the post.
An even better option is video footage of the vehicle in action. Videos perform particularly well, especially on Facebook, and your organic reach is likely to be higher compared to any other post type.
Videos should be kept short, 15 or 30 seconds is ideal
These are just a few of the posts types we use when engaging our communities on numerous automotive dealer Facebook Pages.
The key to a successful social media strategy is to test a range of different post types, keeping what works best and discarding what doesn’t.
It may take a few weeks to find what resonates best with your audience, but once you’ve found that secret formula the results from your social media marketing efforts will really start to show.