Getting into social media can be tricky. Oftentimes, it can feel like there is so much to do that you wonder how you would ever have time to post on several social media platforms, especially while trying to run a dealership. Not only that, there are many moving parts on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, and they are constantly changing. But, it is important to know that dealerships can benefit from the same social media tactics any other agency would use. There is no "secret sauce" or "one-time fix" for improving your social media stats and your brand awareness. Trying to "buy" followers doesn't work anymore either. So how is it possible to start and maintain a thriving social media presence while trying to sell cars?
There are many of helpful resources, tools, and tips to increase your social media standing, and over the next couple of months, we will go into more detail on them. But for now, we have compiled 10 simple tips to get you started (if you haven't already) and how to keep growing your following! Of course, our main focus here is automotive, but these tips really apply to any and all social media account holders.
Tip 1: Be Nimble and Act Quickly.
You will want to share your news instantaneously and stylishly! Think about the things that make your dealership unique. What are some things that separate you from the competition? Do you have any special deals coming up? Is your lot hosting any events soon? Those are great things to utilize in Social posts! Plus, when those events, or news, and plans actually happen, you have plenty of material to work with during and after they happen. Post some things while an event is going on, then schedule out a couple of recap posts. Start thinking about how to turn 1 post into 5!
Tip 2: Always Respond.
If someone likes, comments, or shares your content, make sure you respond as quickly as possible! When you interact with people who engage with your content, you attract even more attention to your post, causing more likes, and other comments. It is also the most respectful way to present your self on social media. Let's say you post an image of new vehicles being lined up on your lot and someone comments "great post!" or "looking good!", it may seem obvious, but take the time to actually respond to that person. Don't just like their comment, or worse, do nothing.
This is the "social" aspect of "social media"—to start and have a conversation about common interests! You never know what kind of connections can be made through simple interactions.
Tip 3: Be Honest.
Make sure your social media accounts reflect your dealership. Like we noted in the previous tip, you want your dealership, brand, personality, voice, etc. to match your social media posts. You will see a much better turnout when you are truthful with your posts versus creating a persona that does not show how your dealership truly operates. It may be tempting to use stock images, but by doing so, you may be creating a false expectation for customers when they actually arrive at your dealership. Always be honest.
Tip 4: Have Fun.
Again, social media isn't always about trying to make a sale. It's about sharing experiences with other people who have common interests. Showcase your employees, their successes, their strengths; show off when you have a company lunch or a client appreciation gathering. Let your employees and customers be the spokespeople. Have fun with your posts, and just make sure they reflect your brand voice, look, and feel!
Tip 5: Tell a story.
Which do you think you would prefer? (1) Beautiful pictures, but no branding, no captions, no links, no messaging, or (2) real-life photos with intriguing content, to-the-point messaging, humility, and excitement. Obviously, we would all want the second choice. But more often than not, people choose to utilize number one because it is the easy way out. A lot of the work is done for you by providing some stellar photography and maybe a sentence or two.
When your dealership is at stake, pictures are certainly necessary, but why are you posting them in the first place? Is there a story to be told? If so, take the time to write it! Hitting a wall? Have your employees help you craft the content to be something relatable, true, and grabs attention. Options 1 and 2 are the difference between a comment like "great pic" and a comment like "that looks like a great place to work" or "I'll have to come check you guys out!" If possible, tell a story with each of your posts.
Tip 6: Hold true to your brand . . . and to your fonts.
We could setup another scenario like we did in the last tip, but really, don't get crazy with your colors and your fonts! Think about your automotive brand, and from there, choose a heavy weight font and light weight font that compliments your dealership. They can even be the same font. In addition, you'll want to choose a primary and secondary color as well. No-one wants to visit a page with 7 different colors happening and not knowing where to look. Maybe use a color that's in your logo, and another color that compliments it well. Whatever you choose, hold true to that brand standard!
Tip 7: Never work alone.
As previously stated, you need to rely on your fellow co-workers to help craft your content. Good social media requires a true buy-in from the leadership level down to the newest hire in order to tell the business' story well. This is probably one of the top 5 reasons why so many people choose not to mess with social media—because they feel like they have to go in it alone. Let that never be so! Utilize the people around you, and again, let them become the spokespeople.
Tip 8: Maintain a clear posting schedule.
Yes, this one is a little more difficult to manage. But this is why it is so imperative to have help crafting out your content. In order to get the results you want, you need to adhere to a consistent posting schedule. You need to chose the time and the day each week that you are going to post. Preferably, you want to post at least once a day around the same time. If that's too much to start with, back down to a minimum of two times a week. Pick the days, and pick the times, but most importantly: be consistent. Don't start posting on different days at different times, because you will not see the engagement you want. There are plenty of tools to help you with days and times of the week to post—here is a good place to start.
Pro tip: start using a Google calendar that can be shared with a few of your staff so that everyone helping with content can be on the same page. When setting up the calendar, try not to just plan out the next day, but instead schedule out your posts a week in advance. This will give you some extra time needed to strategize your next big push. Be on the lookout for our blog on post types and ideas we found most successful for auto dealerships!
Tip 9: Keep track of your performance.
You may be tempted to look at your performance non-stop, and we want to be clear that you do not need to spend every waking moment worried about how your posts are going to perform. That being said, it is definitely important to track and record how your posts are doing. You need to find out what is working and what isn't. What do people like? What do they dislike? Can you post both topics and still get good engagement? Keep in mind, the more social platforms you are on, the more data you will have to track. If this seems too intense for just starting out, we suggest handling only 1–2 social media platforms and then expanding from there once you feel comfortable. Another trap is thinking you have to immediately jump on every platform and crank out as much content as possible. Well, one great following is going to prove more beneficial than 5 social accounts with little to know engagement.
Tip 10: Don't give up . . . seriously.
Again, we know this one is obvious, but we mean it. If you are honest, tell a story, and create a consistent schedule, you will see your social media improve. Keeping it going is the only way to build the audience you want to be a part of. Whether you are searching for more customers interested in buying a car, referrals, or maybe recruiting opportunities, you will have better results if you keep at it. If you stray away from the consistency, you will most definitely see a decline in comments, engagement, followers, etc. because that's how these platforms work. They are changing all of the time, and the only way to succeed is to keep up. When new features come out, you don't have to be a master, but you should take 10 to 15 minutes to try and figure out how you might work it into your marketing strategy.
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
All in all, social media can be a powerful tool if you know how to get started. None of these tips provide any "secret-sauce" or "get 10,000 followers in 10 days" schemes. We think dealerships should absolutely have a social media presence. You don't have to spend lots of money boosting posts to see impressions and engagement go up. You just have to be true to your brand and be consistent.
We hope you find these 10 quick tips helpful! Be on the lookout for more social media advice, as we will be going into each platform little by little. If you need some additional help or think something should be added to our list, leave a comment below! We'd love to hear from you!