The biggest mistake, among many that car dealerships make, is using social media as if it’s meant to be a newspaper. The 20th century form of effective marketing is over, it’s now time to advertise in a way that attracts both Millennials and older generations. The largest growing demographic on social media platforms is 50+ year olds, which means they’re joining their younger cohorts and entering the digital age of communication. Facebook and Twitter have become the extension of the newspaper to most dealerships. While spending money on ads in the local newspapers, they’re posting the exact same content on Facebook and Twitter timelines. It’s time to end this nonsense.

With the existence of Instagram and Pinterest, pictures, not words, have become more effective for social media marketing as the years have passed. Sure a few sentences will work, but posting manufacturer’s photos of cars, newspaper style ads, and sharing third party links is how you lose the interest of people where they congregate. Millennials are now the second largest car buying group, surpassing Generation X. Seeing as though most, if not all, 18-35 year olds are on social media, you have to meet them and market to them in a way that is relevant and not come across as pushy.

The dealerships who are doing a fantastic job on social media are having fun with the content they’re sharing. Pictures of vehicles in their showrooms, promoting their courtesy cars for people with vehicles in the shop, displaying and talking about the cars on their lots, and interacting with their current and potential customers is how they’re beating the competition. In fact, one dealership outside of Boston has grown a strong following, and despite their success on social media and the buzz they’ve created, no other dealership in the immediate vicinity seems to be afraid or have any sense of urgency to do the same.

Car dealerships who have been in business for 30+ years should be frightened, and actually terrified by dealerships who market effectively on social media. That one dealership has done everything right, from sharing pictures of their showroom, the cars on their lot, and giving an inside look of their maintenance department. This dealership has quelled any sense of mistrust, and in fact have almost become the new friendly neighbor that everyone loves. They’re marketing right, and by using social media as a word of mouth tool, they’re beginning to separate themselves from traditional powerhouse dealerships who have a strong reputation of being the best.

Stop making your social media pages a newspaper. Very few people read newspapers to begin with, so why try marketing in a way that would have worked 15 years ago? Manufacturer’s photos don’t display the car. With the technological features coming out, consumers need to be more informed than ever, and by not sharing content that will support a buyer’s decision, you come across looking as lazy and unprofessional.

There’s been a few times where disgruntled customers have taken notice of the minimal interaction the dealership has on social media, and these customers are also noticing fake and unofficial Facebook pages because the dealership hasn’t entered the 21st century yet. We’re living in a time where if you don’t have a strong social media presence, people might not do business with you. Think about that for a second. Your dealership has been in existence for a number of years, and just because you don’t have an operating Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram page, people think you’re not a legitimate or a great dealership to shop at.

The worst strategy you could have for Facebook is making your page be a virtual newspaper. Have fun with social media, you’re selling cars! What’s more exciting than the new car smell, and all the emotions that come with owning an amazing vehicle? Use that to your advantage, and market to your customers in a way that tugs at their heart strings. Consumers of 2015 want a “friendship-like” experience, and by being social with them where they spend the most time, you can make a lasting impact on that person.

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