Social Media Best Practices Car Dealership

5 Things Car Dealerships Do Wrong on Social Media

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.

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 IN 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

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.

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.

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.

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.

AMG Thousand Oaks

CASE STUDY: AMG Thousand Oaks

The Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door is poised to shake the automotive world upon its release in 2019. Mercedes-Benz dealerships across the country are clamoring to get their hands on AMG’s new apex predator with its alleged 630 horsepower and official 7-minute-and-25-second Nurburgring lap time. For the record, as of this writing, that’s the fastest time ever recorded around the Green Hell in a production four-door vehicle.

Are you excited yet?

AMG GT 4 Door Blue

Longtime client, AMG Thousand Oaks, relied on car.media’s content marketing solutions to build awareness of the vehicle’s forthcoming arrival at the nation’s first and only all-AMG showroom. AMG Thousand Oaks wanted to make sure not only that people came to see the car during its seven-day preview tour, but also that the right people came to see the car.

car.media got to work directly with Mercedes-Benz USA who provided early access to a trio of AMG GT 4-door vehicles, including the actual Brilliant Blue Magno Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4MATIC+ Coupe that was destined for the AMG Thousand Oaks showroom.

The Work

First, car.media creator, beyondxselfish, created a photo set that highlighted the unique features of the all-new vehicle. From abstract interior photos to rolling shots that evoke tremendous speed, the resulting catalogue contained over 100 campaign-quality images with which to build the excitement on social media.

AMG GT 4 Door Blue

Second, car.media’s social media management team got to work scheduling and publishing content from the shoot starting ten days ahead of the car’s scheduled arrival date at the showroom.

AMGTO Facebook
A new hero image notifies the dealership’s Facebook followers that something important is happening.

Instagram AMGTO
Scheduled posts up to 10 days in advance to build excitement, resulting in a visually appealing Instagram profile.

Content is syndicated to both Instagram and Facebook, enabling maximum exposure to the dealership’s followers.

 

Call To Action

Third, upon the vehicle’s arrival at the dealership, our content production team was dispatched to create a quick, authentic preview walkaround video to let people know that the car had arrived. In this case, speed to market was a priority as the dealership only had a week with the vehicle on premises. With the goal being in-store visits, it was important to not give away too much about the car in the video (as one might in a full-fledged showroom review), yet build the excitement that one could experience with a showroom visit.

Finally, paid media was applied to the video on Facebook and Instagram targeting fans of competing luxury brands including, Porsche, BMW, Audi, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Bentley, and McLaren. At this point, this is it! The anticipation is over. The call to action is to “Get Directions” to the showroom where the 2019 Mercedes-AMG GT 63 4MATIC+ Coupe is on display to see, hear and feel.

 

The Results

 

Paid Media

People Reached: 7,088

Video Views: 3,372

Directions to Showroom: 12

Media Cost: $50.00

Cost Per Visit: $4.17

Facebook Marketing
 

Earned Media

Brand exposure earned from non-paid activities on non-owned accounts.

Video Views: 8,800+

People Engaged: 1,700+

Owned Media

Impact of earned media on owned accounts.

Accounts Reached: 1,145 (+56% week over week)

Impressions from Content: 2,695 (+43% week over week)

The Bottom Line

First, content marketing for car dealerships is a worthwhile investment. High quality content is a tangible asset that not only sets a dealership apart from its competition, but also returns measurable results in the forms of audience growth, engagement, and real-world actions. Moreover, licensed digital content can be repurposed indefinitely to create new forms of communication for ongoing promotions.

Finally, a sound content marketing strategy encompasses content production or licensing, publishing and measuring of results. As we have seen here, those results can be quite dramatic!

Questions?

1.833.CAR.MEDIA