Where to Start With Social Media for Your Dealership

Where to Start With Social Media for Your Dealership

So, you have social media accounts setup for your business, you know how to manage and post things but remain frustrated because what you post never seems to get any comments, likes, or draw much business in. It’s hardly surprising that so many business owners look to their competitors or friends in business, who utilise these platforms successfully, and wish to emulate that success but have no idea where to start.

How do they do it and why don’t I get similar results?

In the car trade, we are usually focused on what we are selling, how we are going to sell it and who we are going to sell it to. As an industry that is dominated by this sales mentality, and even the old saying “you’re only as good as your last sale”. We often forget that we too are consumers, and consumers generally don’t like being sold to, they want to be engaged with.

If you have ever recorded anything on series link on your TV, do you watch the adverts or do you reach for the remote and fast forward through them? “Skip Ad” is also a familiar phrase to many that have ever tried to watch a video on YouTube; just think back to the few times you may have done this yourself, and how frustrated you can get when there is no option to skip the advert at all. Now, go and look at your business’ Facebook and other social media pages, if it comprises of posts advertising nothing but stock you have for sale, your customers could be skipping your adverts too!

There is no denying that Facebook and other social media platforms can be a complex web of people, opinions, trending topics, hashtags, and algorithms. It is easy to get lost in the jungle of social media and there are many pitfalls too. That is the reason we have compiled this simple guide, to help you increase engagement, likes, and sales.


The Rule of 3 – Inform, Educate, and Entertain

People like to be informed, educated, and entertained; these are the three main pillars of “The Rule of 3”. If you can do all these three in posts on your social media, you are a lot more likely to gain engagement from your following and potentially increase your number of followers, than if you were to just flood your social media pages with adverts for what you have for sale.

Posting on your social media with these rules in mind, will also increase your business’ visibility and make more customers aware that you exist, and when they are ready to purchase a new vehicle, will be a lot more likely to enquire about what you have for sale. However, always try and keep your posts relevant to what you sell, it’s not a rule however, just a guideline to set you off in the right direction.

 

Inform

Reporting and posting on local news (if your customers are indeed within a local geographical radius), events, headlines and/or commenting on these is one way to increase engagement with your customers. Is the local hospital closing and will that have an impact on that local community? Has there been an accident on the major A-road into the local town/city centre? Post about it and share your perspective. This informs people that you care about the local community and sharing news such as this, that may impact those potential customers, is a good way to get engagement. These sorts of posts don’t have to be vehicle related either, but if there are stories out there that are vehicle related, and let’s not forget – that’s what you sell – then even better! If you struggle to think of what to post, try searching on local news sites to get some ideas.

If you share news and inform customers about what’s going on at your dealership, then they may feel more of a connection with the business, let’s call it ’digital rapport’. You might be surprised when customers comment on these sorts of posts or bring it up as a point of conversation when they visit your site in person. You can post about stock deliveries, new arrivals of stock, that you can source cars, offer other services such as MOTs and servicing, or that you offer finance.

You can also take this opportunity to update people on how business is going. Has your mechanic just got married? Has your Sales Manager worked for you for ten years and their work anniversary is coming up? Have you been in business for twenty years? These are all worth posting about as it tells more of the backstory to your business, that you already know very well – so share it!

Informing potential customers, what your existing customers think of your business is vital too. Ask customers to like and follow your page when they visit, repost reviews that you have received, take pictures of customers at the handover stage; where you are literally handing over the key, and tag the customer in the post (with their permission). Customers’ friends on Facebook especially, will see that post too – let’s call it ’digital word of mouth’. If any of those people who view that post is in the market to buy a car, and a relative or friend of theirs has just purchased one from you – it’s more likely that they will ask their friend about their experience and possibly give you a call!

 

Educate

Buying and selling cars is something that you do on a regular basis, yet for customers it’s only something they usually do once every three to five years. When customers are looking to buy a car, they are looking for advice, guidance, and assistance during their buying process – which if given, may reduce their anxiety when financially committing to the second largest purchase they will ever make.

Post on your social media, educating on the different types of vehicles you sell, and consider posting the answers to questions that customers typically ask you in person that may give customers piece of mind before they have even set foot on your forecourt. Maybe even consider posting common faults, or faults that occur with cars when they are not maintained correctly, and how customers can avoid hefty bills in the future by following a few simple steps. You can change the type of content you post as the year progresses, inform customers on how to best look after their vehicle as the weather and temperature changes.

It’s also worth considering posting on your social media, when you have new deliveries of stock coming in, as there maybe something that catches the eye of a potential customer just as it arrives on your forecourt – or maybe even before it does. Also consider posting what cars sell well too; do walkarounds of the top models, with a running commentary on the features and specifications – just as you might if the customer was with you in person.

Don’t be scared to share information from the trade as well, post talking points that may impact customers, like the increases in fuel or uptake in electric vehicles, and ask customers what they think – essentially, post topics that people want to engage with but is related to what you sell.

Consider telling customers what you do in terms of your sales process, advise what you do with your cars, how you source them, how you treat and talk to customers, how you prepare cars for sale, and what your aftercare looks like. Where you can, give them real life examples of how you have helped other customers that have had issues before, from the simplest of things like a bulb that needed changing to something that maybe more serious. This may feel like a big ‘no-no’, but it gives out the message of honesty and builds on your integrity as a business.

 

Entertain

You can build rapport with people you have never met by posting entertaining content, this could be you and your staff having a joke and a laugh at your dealership to funny voice overs, or even posting pictures of the dealership cat/dog. This could be something funny or silly, or maybe just odd observations you make during the day. Maybe try sharing something you have seen online that you find funny.

You don’t have to be a comedian, or a larger-than-life personality (although it helps), just be yourself! If there is someone within the business, that is larger than life, or is naturally and genuinely funny, then share it. There are a lot of people that won’t feel comfortable behind or even in front of the camera in these instances, and there is nothing wrong with that. Maybe consider handing the reigns over to another member of staff or even another member of your family to assist.

You could try new things like competitions or quizzes to get people interacting with you, just make sure you stay relevant and in brand.

It is important when following this rule, to make sure that it represents your business and is genuine. You need to ensure that the perception you give on social media, truly reflects the reality of your business, or customers may expect one thing when they arrive and find the reality is very different.

General Advice

Know your customers
When it comes to social media, it’s important to know where your customer base is located. If your customer base is mostly local, when it comes to posts, include local news and or demonstrate local knowledge so that you have the same common interests to be most effective. If your customer base is further afield, more of a generalised approach is better. Knowing who and where your customers are from can help you be a lot more effective when paying to boost posts on Facebook as you can target postcodes, towns, male, female, age range, and interests.

Customer Reviews
Reviews are an excellent way of promoting the business and customers will sell your company on your behalf! Don’t fear getting bad reviews either, most people will look for bad reviews of companies, or the 3 out of 5-stars review, as these usually reflect reality. The important part here is to reply to those reviews so people can see what and how you deal with complaints which will give your customers confidence that if something does go wrong, you aren’t one to ignore the problem. It’s also good (if customers want to and allow it) to take photos of them accepting the keys to the car. These customers are more likely to leave a review and share that photo on their own profile for all their friends and family to see.

If you think people are skipping your adverts, follow these simple rules for three months and measure the difference from before. If you like this guide and have found it useful, please let us know. Alternatively, if you are still unsure on how best to proceed, drop us an email to marketing@frfl.co.uk and we will be more than happy to assist.