Creating a Social Media Plan for a Car Dealership

For car dealerships, competition is imminent. At the end of 2011, there were nearly 18,000 car dealerships in the United States. Although car dealerships vary in the types of vehicles they sell, they all target a similar audience: people who want to buy a car. Due to this rampant competition and continuous demand, an effective marketing and social media plan is even more essential for car dealerships than many other types of businesses. As a result, car dealerships should employ the strategies below to get started on a stellar and properly targeted social media campaign.

Tailor Content Stylistically Based on the Social Media Platform

Having an established presence on Facebook and Twitter is common sense when the term “social media campaign” comes to mind, but perhaps it’s just as important for car dealerships to develop a presence on lesser-known, but still thriving, social media alternatives like Google +, Pinterest, Vine, and Instagram.

Registering and setting up an account on all of these networks is easy and free, but it’s important to discern their differences and build content based on these. For example, the only content permissible on Vine are videos up to six seconds long, so a different strategy must be employed on this network as opposed to a different social media platform like Instagram, which either emphasizes photos or lengthier videos. Mobile video content is one of the most emerging social media trends of the past year, so a car dealership that already has a following on platforms like Vine and Instagram are already one step ahead of their competitors.

Be Yourself, Not a Robot, When Posting or Tweeting

One of the biggest no-no’s for a car dealership on social media is to incessantly list inventory. Blindly providing a listing like this is likely to overwhelm potential leads, as well as suggest to them you would prefer customers to take the lead rather than take charge yourself. This may imply insecurities regarding inventory, which is something dealerships do not want to convey.

Alternatively, personalize social media content as much as possible. For example, if a car dealership wants to promote a sleek new convertible on social media, there are several different approaches to take. Some ideas include:

  • Facebook—A photo or video of the convertible in action, with call-to-action text asking followers if they have any nostalgic memories of being in a convertible.
  • Twitter—A short tweet along the lines of, “Check out how this convertible is different from anything you’ve ever driven before,” with a link to the dealership’s site.
  • Vine—A humorous six-second video that shows some dealership staff members riding suavely with sunglasses on in the convertible. This video should be intended to go viral.
  • Instagram—A series of photos from the Vine video shoot, or an extended version of the Vine video.
  • Google +—Google + allows for flexible posting of content, from videos to photos, so any variation on the content above would work. Re-posting Instagram and Vine content to Twitter, Facebook and Google + is recommended as well.


Host Contests and Other Calls-to-Action on Social Media

One of the most effective ways of obtaining social media followers, and consequentially leads, is to utilize calls-to-action on social media. This is possible no matter the social media platform. Contests, and specifically the prospect of earning free prizes by simply commenting or clicking ‘Like’, are desirable to the masses. For car dealerships, it’s up to the individual dealership to choose between two types of contests to host:

  1. A contest with a very substantial prize (a car, vacation, etc.), but only one winner.
  2. A contest with smaller prizes (a car discount, restaurant gift certificate, local business coupon such as 50% off Web Design Company Lancaster PA, etc.) and several winners.

Deciding between these two types of contests is relative to the individual dealership. Regardless of the option chosen, a contest can be a great way to obtain social media followers by requiring entrants to follow the dealership on a social network or two to enter. Either requiring a follow or response on social media ensures visitors will remain connected to the dealership, even after the contest is complete. You can promote this on social media and web sites by mentioning “Win a free ___ now! All you have to do to enter is follow us on Facebook and Twitter!”

If a car dealership has a widespread presence across various social media platforms, comes across as personable and interesting on these platforms, and encourages user engagement via calls to action, their social media plan is already leaps ahead of most car dealerships. By staying true and consistent to these methods, a car dealership’s number of leads should increase exponentially.

Courtney Gordner is a passionate blogger with a love for internet marketing and social media! Read more from her on her blog, www.talkviral.com.

Courtney Gordner

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