Not everyone is a social media expert. Indeed, the rate of change and new platforms is so fast in social media that without a singular focus on the industry, it’s virtually guaranteed that one won’t be able to keep up. Car dealers face a few unique challenges in their use of social media, not the least of which is a general lack of training on best practices, so here are a few pitfalls to look out for if you’re a dealer or up-and-coming social media manager for an auto dealership.

Mistake #1: Using Links In Instagram Posts

We have to go ahead and get this one out of the way right at the top: you can’t use links on Instagram!

Well, let us clarify: technically, one can post links on Instagram, but they won’t be clickable. So, you can post them, but no one will be able to click on them and be taken to a URL in a browser. It’s a conscious business decision on Instagram’s part to disable all links, and it actually keeps a lot of spam off the platform, so we can’t really fault them for the logic, but people still do it, car dealers included.

Dealership Instagram Account

Mistake #2: Posting Irrelevant Content

Frequency of posts is an important metric in staying relevant and top of mind with engaged consumers, however relevance of content is even more important. Why? Because in order for content to get engagement in the form of likes, shares, and comments, it must be relevant to the audience that sees it. Car dealers are around beautiful machines all day and they represent brands that have a loyal following and fanbase, so there’s no excuse for posting irrelevant content that doesn’t take advantage of their proximity to products that people love.

Mistake #3: Posting Links without UTM Codes

“What’s a UTM code,” you ask? UTM codes are short lines of text that are added to website links that enable marketers and social media managers to see which specific links are driving site traffic. Common UTM values include “source,” “medium,” and “campaign.” for example, adding variables to these values will tell Google Analytics that “this website visit came from a sponsored post on Facebook for the 2019 Prius sales campaign.” UTM codes are essential to tracking website performance, and every link that a car dealership posts on social media should include a UTM code. Build your own UTM-enabled links here. Just don’t post them on Instagram.

Mistake #4: Ignoring Twitter

According to Nielsen data, nearly 50% of all US car buyers were on Twitter in 2016. That’s a social media audience of many millions that any car dealer simply can’t afford to ignore. Moreover, Twitter users spend an average of 40% on their vehicle purchase, so they are a relatively-affluent market as well. On a platform that is more “stream of consciousness” than “digital scrapbook of my life,” car dealerships have an opportunity to start conversations with potential buyers while they’re engaged and “in the moment” of purchase consideration. So, ignore Twitter at your own peril, car dealers. There are car buyers on Twitter, they’re most likely mobile right now, and 8 out of 10 of them want to see your information.

Mistake #5: Not Responding to Comments

This is perhaps the biggest mistake that car dealerships make on social media. Comments from followers are one of the most important interactions in all of social media. Why? Because a comment is a follower giving your car dealership explicit permission to start a conversation with them, and the more engagement a post has, the further its organic reach to both additional and new followers. Not responding to a comment – good or bad – is akin to being home while someone is knocking on the door and choosing not to answer it. Now, it could very well be a solicitor peddling solar panels, but it could also be Publishers’ Clearing House with a $10,000,000 prize waiting at your door, but the point is you don’t know unless you answer the door. In fact, if your car dealership is not responding to comments and messages on social media, go ahead and delete your accounts right now because you are wasting your followers’ time and creating a bad brand impression from the very first interaction.

Car dealerships have a great opportunity to use their ever-changing inventory to start new conversations on social media and follow those through to sale. By avoiding some of these mistakes, you will be well on your way to effectively managing your dealership’s social media channels in a way that provides a positive digital experience which can lead to long-term relationships with your customers.

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