By now, every car dealer in the world recognizes the growing importance of online marketing and the need for a strong social media presence. What you may not know is that Instagram has completely reimagined the auto advertising experience for both luxury car buyers and traditional consumers. Most of you are already on Facebook and YouTube, which means that you’re in a perfect position to expand your social following through Instagram. And to make things easy, you can link your Instagram account to your Facebook account and simultaneously schedule posts on both platforms through Facebook’s Business Suite.
But is Instagram really worth it for car dealers? The answer is a resounding YES. Here’s why:
- Instagram is the second-most downloaded free app in the Apple app store. That means it’s continuing to attract new users.
- 1 billion people use Instagram every month. It’s the second-ranked traditional social network in terms of active users.
- 67% of adults ages 18-29 use Instagram in the United States.
- 70% of shopping enthusiasts turn to Instagram for product discovery.
- 60% of people say they discover new products on Instagram.
- 57 million U.S. teenagers say Instagram is their preferred social media platform and 73% of U.S. teens say Instagram is the best way for brands to reach them about new products or promotions. You may not think that this demographic is relevant to your business now, but keep in mind that they won’t be teenagers forever. Eventually, they will be adults, so it’s a great time to start leaving a lasting impression that they’ll remember when the time comes to make their first car purchase. Not only that, but according to the Advertising Research Foundation, 45% of teenagers influence which vehicle the family purchases or leases.
- 5 billion active Instagram users say they are passionate about auto.
- Of that 5 billion, 39% have strong interests in cars and automobiles and 59% say Instagram is a key influencer in auto purchases.
In our latest 60-Second Automotive Update, Intermark Automotive shares a few marketing ideas to help build your dealership’s Instagram following:
People use Instagram to stay up to date with the latest car models and technology. They also follow and research car brands, dealerships, and specific models they consider purchasing. According to Enrico Hanisch, Digital Strategist and Concept Creator for Audi, “The significance of visual content within the mobile age has increased. Instagram is the natural and ideal platform for automotive content in our day.”
If you want to build your Instagram following, consider these marketing ideas:
- Post videos that talk about performance and features of various vehicles under your brand’s umbrella. 52% of Instagram users watch videos about performance to get an idea of how the car will drive.
- Feature customer testimonials to promote your dealership. Third-party testimonials are powerful, especially when thy come from family and friends.
- While they are still at your dealership, ask customers to pose for a photo with their new purchase to be featured on your Instagram account. 41% of Instagram users share a photo of the car they just purchased, so think of this as the final step in closing the sale.
- Go ‘live’ whenever a new model arrives on your lot. Make your followers feel like they are part of the experience by keeping them up to date and informed through new vehicle reveals, events, special promotions, or whatever hot topic of the day you want to talk about. Live streaming allows you to engage with customers in real time.
- Post attractive offers and vehicles that are in high demand. This isn’t just for new cars, but certified pre-owned and used vehicles as well.
- Promote contests, fundraisers, and community involvement. Let your followers see how your dealership is much more than just selling cars.
Insta-do’s and Insta-don’ts:
- Perfect your profile. Make sure all your information is accurate and up to date, and have a recognizable profile picture so customers instantly know what you’re all about. Since links are not shareable on Instagram posts, it’s important to provide a link to your dealership in your bio.
- Images before content. Instagram is a visual-driven network, therefore the image should capture attention first. But don’t sell your accompanying text short—it should still be clever, informative, and trendy, and include hashtags.
- Include a location. Posts with a location get 79% more engagement.
- Show your face. Photos with faces get 38% more likes.
- #Hashtag it. Posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than posts without hashtags. More than one is better, but don’t overdo it. Even though Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, the maximum you should include is nine. Just make sure they are relevant to what you are posting. And please, even if it means asking your teenaged kids potentially embarrassing questions, double-check the meanings of hashtags if you’re unclear of the context. (Side note: #Photooftheday is one of the most popular hashtags on Instagram, in case you want to start including that in your content.)
- Prefer videos to photos. Instagram videos get over 2 times more engagement than Instagram photos.
- Create stories. Use Instagram Stories to spotlight loyal customers or buyers with interesting stories to tell.
- Use actual vehicle photos. Do not use stock photos to promote vehicles you’re trying to sell. Take pictures of the cars on your lot and use them in order to provide fresh content and not something that has already been seen on every review site or auto blog.
For more information on how your dealership can take advantage of making Instagram part of your marketing mix, contact Intermark Automotive today!
by Shea Posey, Senior Account Executive/Compliance & Co-op Specialist