Having a Content Distribution System For Your Dealership Is Crucial

One of the biggest challenges facing car dealerships who use social media is creating content that attracts customers and followers. As with any industry that still operates marketing management in 20th century, new technologies will seem intimidating, and sometimes they won’t be sure where to start. Facebook and Instagram in particular are two platforms where dealerships lack a strong content distribution system and fail to capitalize on the opportunities social media offers. Because most of these dealerships don’t have a tech savvy and dedicated social media manager at the helm, they’re struggling in all aspects of the social media realm, and as a result they’ll stop posting content after seeing no results within three to four weeks.

For example, I’ve noticed many dealerships in my area alone will binge off of content. They’ll post five to six pieces of content (non native) within a very short time span, disappear for a few days or a week, and then binge again. The lack of commitment is detrimental to your social media presence. The inconsistency in posting, not engaging with the community, and refusing to share great content is why you’re not seeing results. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a social media fan page or account. If you want a strong following that continues to engage with your content on a daily basis, you’ll have to be 100% committed to the task at hand, and willing to update your account everyday.

That’s why I believe in a content distribution system. Every day there should be photos, articles, and news being posted in intervals throughout the day. Share content in the morning, lunch time, right before evening rush hour, after dinner, and in the latter part of the evening. Your job on social media is to bring awareness and traffic to your car dealership, not necessarily hard sell. You’re attracting consumers by offering eye candy, and every post is like a piece of bread on a crumb trail. Facebook and Instagram leads to exposure if you’re willing to dedicated time, money, and effort.

The problem with car dealerships, and businesses in many industries, is that they get impatient. They’re not seeing results and they think they’re wasting their time. Without having an actual strategy, such as posting photo content everyday for two weeks, then promoting regular maintenance coupons and lease offers once every two weeks, with the help of Facebook advertising, and continuing this cycle every month, you might as well stop using social media, which is what most dealerships already have done.

Remember, you’re content doesn’t have to be a huge Hollywood production. However, there are young professionals out there who can offer great services which can make your media marketing look very professional. Millennials aren’t like any other generation. They prefer visualization through the use of photos and videos. If you’re not offering that you’re missing out on an entire generation of consumers. There will be a day when dealerships will have to create a digital media division within their company, and when that day arrives, the price of hiring a social media manager will increase considerably. Even today, social media managers can make close to six figures.

Don’t make the mistake of being last in the switch to social media marketing. Just as auto manufacturers like Oldsmobile, Plymouth, and Saturn cease to exist, so will your dealership. If you’re not ready to market in the year that we live in, you’ll be left in the dust by the dealerships who are already seeing success from their presence on Facebook and Instagram.

Complete and utter dedication, as with any department at your dealership, will spawn results. Are you ready to take the next step and hop on the social media train, and reach where your customers spend the most time? The choice is up to you.

Is It Possible To Sell Cars On Instagram?

Go on Instagram, search a particular hashtag involving cars, and you’ll find thousands of photos ranging from Hondas to Lamborghinis. Car photographers, owners, and dealerships have taken to the social media platform to show off their photo taking skills, their pride in the vehicle they own, or to promote cars in showrooms that will sometimes attract Instagram users to ask for the price and availability of that specific model. Is Instagram ready to be the platform that can move cars off dealerships’ lots and be worth the time and effort for the dealerships to start posting content on a regular basis? Absolutely.

In other industries, such as clothing and small accessories, businesses are seeing results by posting native content, whether that be the product being displayed in a real life setting, or sharing pictures of models wearing the brand’s clothing. The same can certainly be applied to the automotive world, but dealerships have to be willing to give a 100% effort and post frequently, posting three to four pictures a day while also engaging with the local community. Right now, Facebook and Twitter have not been kind to car dealerships, frankly because dealerships hard sell, share boring non-native content, and fail to promote specials that could draw customers into the showroom.

Because Instagram is picture driven, users are more compelled to “like” and comment on photos than they are on Facebook. Because captions aren’t as important as the hashtags, hard selling is near impossible, and you have to rely on using the right hashtags to draw traffic to your account. You content, it’s quality, and your engagement with the local community is how you’ll gain notoriety. What I’m noticing is that there’s a lot of younger teens who are around 16 years old that post photos of cars. By following them and liking their Instagram pictures, you’re connecting with potential customers. Those kids will be in the market for a first car, and if you impress them, they’ll tell their parents, and now you’ve got a family walking through your showroom’s doors. Even better, the teenager will know who you are, making the customer very comfortable, which will go a long way in terms of word of mouth and online reviews.

Not only are you promoting for the here and now, but by becoming a contributing member in the local car scene, you’ll eventually see results in the future. What cannot be stressed enough is the use of native content. I’ve seen and follow dealerships who are using manufacturers’ photos and as a result, are getting very little engagement. To succeed on Instagram, you need to understand the culture. While you are a business and must stay professional, you can’t be restrictive in terms of content.

I’m not quite sure of the reasoning behind not using native content by dealerships. I believe that they want to be a social media brochure, however interested customers can download them off the manufacturers’ websites. To grow a following that will engage with the content you share, and potentially ask questions about pricing, you have to start being active throughout the entire day. Posting once a day, one every three days, or once a week is not enough. If you want to be recognized on Instagram, you’ll have to be willing to be active 8-12 hours a day. Traffic on Instagram varies depending on time and the region. In Boston, 7 am, noon, 3-4 pm, 7 pm, and 10 pm are times in which I’m seeing the most volume in “likes” and comments. You have to find a posting schedule that works for you, and execute on that strategy.

Instagram isn’t like Facebook. Hashtags, posting strategy, and engaging with others is the key to success on this platform. By not putting forth the effort, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to see results and sales from this picture oriented social media platform.

Follow Boston Auto Blog on Instagram @bostonautoblog

It’s A Beautiful Sight To See Alfa Romeos Back On US Soil

This past weekend was Tutto Italiano at Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Massachusetts, an event that brought the very best New England had to offer with an endless array of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Maseratis, Fiats, and Alfa Romeos. It was no surprise to see the Alfa Romeo 4C take the center stage, with the 8C accompanying it’s younger sibling. You’ve probably heard it many times before by car enthusiasts and car television shows, but Alfas are truly special and unique. The styling of the 4C and 8C is incredibly beautiful, and Alfa is just getting started with their reintroduction to the United States.

The Giulia sedan will be landing on our shores sometime in 2016, with great anticipation that it can take on the very best the Germans have to offer in the sedan market. Alfa Romeo, despite their absence in the New World prior to the 4C selling in higher volumes, has been, and always will be a special auto brand that captures the passion and emotion a driver goes through being behind the wheel and owning an amazing Italian sports car. Their marketing on YouTube reinforces why people have a love affair with a car that has for too long stood in the shadows of Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati. But now it’s Alfa Romeos time to shine in the spotlight and the recognition their cars deserve.

The 4C may only have a four cylinder engine and produce 237 horsepower, but Italians have a way of making us forget what’s under the hood and appreciate the details and craftsmanship that makes up an exotic car. When you stand before a 4C or 8C, you can’t help but stare and take in what you’re seeing. Maybe when Alfa Romeos become common they’ll lose that “awe” factor when you see one passing by you, or when you’re at a car event, but for the time being, there’s something special about them that very few people can describe.

For the automotive industry as a whole, it’s an amazing time to be a witness to what is taking place. To see Alfa Romeos on our streets, and getting a new generation excited about the Italian automaker, it’s a great feeling. Hopefully the Giulia is everything we’re hoping for because you can’t help but root for a company that understands the emotions and feelings that come with a beautiful car.

So here’s to Alfa Romeo, and wishing the Italian auto manufacturer the very best to the reintroduction of an amazing brand to the United States.

Follow @bostonautoblog on Instagram for more pictures from Tutto Italiano and other car events this summer

Mitsubishi’s Sales Figures Don’t Reflect The Dire News

With reports that Mitsubishi is selling their only factory in the United States based in Illinois, many have speculated that this is the final nail in the coffin for the Japanese auto manufacturer. However, last months sales do not reflect the supposed dire situation that they’re facing. In the month of June, Mitsubishi saw a 32% increase in car sales from May, and in terms of overall sales this year, they’re currently up 24% from 2014. Despite the reports that they’ll just focus on Asian markets, it’s clear that Mitsubishi still has a market in the United States.

So far, the Outlander, Outlander Sport, and Mirage have been what’s kept Mitsubishi afloat this year. Because CUV’s have become all the rage these days, the Outlander, and it’s reasonable price has brought consumers to the brand. The Mirage has seen a 63% increase in sales this year, which does raise eyebrows, but considering its base price starts anywhere from $13,000 – $14,000, it’s a cheap alternative for many car buyers right now.

Mitsubishi closing their only plant in the United States is concerning, however, that doesn’t mean they’re going to leave the US market. Nothing has been confirmed as of yet, and Mitsubishi isn’t willing to discuss future plans as of right now. What is for certain though is that the Japanese manufacturer is still seeing sales, and as long as they’re making a profit, that’s good news for any business. It will be interesting to see what happens to the brand heading into 2016. If sales continue to stay strong, there may not be a need to cease doing business in the Americas.

It’s also quite possible that they’ll assemble their vehicles in countries where it’s cheaper to manufacturer, and ship the vehicles across the Pacific or wherever their plants are located. All hope is not lost for Mitsubishi and their consumers, but time is of the essence. Will there strong sales this year be enough, or has Mitsubishi taken their first steps into disappearing from our shores for good?

Tint Works Boston: Your One Stop Shop For Car Window Tinting

Tint Works Boston, located on 12 Grant Street in Burlington, Massachusetts, should be your number one destination if you’re looking to get your windows tinted. Owned and operated by the best and most professional window tinting expert in the area, you can rest assured that you’re going to get top quality results. Their clients include local celebrities and professional athletes. Tint Works provide tinting services to numerous dealerships in the local area. Automotive dealers have no problem referring their customers to TintWorks for all of their window tinting needs.

Owner and expert installer Randy Humphries is the only installer in New England who is factory trained and certified in window tinting, paint protection, and security films, and with his 15 years of experience in the industry, he’s earned the reputation of being one of the best, which is how he’s worked with big-name celebrities and athletes. Being an award winning window tint installer, Randy was the 2013 Northeast Tint Off Champion, named the 2013’s IWFC “World’s Best Automotive Window Tinter”, and finished 3rd in the IWFC’s Architectural Division Tint-off. Needless to say, when trusting Tint Works Boston to apply the best tint on the planet (Llumar Window film), you’re doing business with well-trained professional team whose reputation is unrivaled. Their customer satisfaction ratings reflect the top quality work Tint Works Boston does, and this will only lead to bigger and better opportunities for the Burlington-based business.

Some of the luxury cars that Tint Works has done service to include Mercedes Benz, BMW, McLaren and Ferrari, with some of the owners of these fine automobiles being local pro athletes and celebrities. There’s more to window tinting for cars than just appearance. The tint blocks harmful UV rays, while also keeping your car cooler and protecting your interior, as UV rays damages and fades the interior of your vehicle. With that being said, it is crucial to have experienced professionals install window tint, and Tint Works Boston is that professional business.

Visit their website, tintworksboston.com and follow them on Instagram @tintworksboston. The pictures speak for themselves. When you have a top-quality window tint professional in your own backyard, why go anywhere else? Tint Works Boston doesn’t just do cars either, they also do residential and commercial tinting which will save you money on your energy bill, as tinting your house’s windows have the same effect and offer the same protection from harmful UV and sun rays as does having it installed on your car.

Don’t delay, and contact them to schedule an appointment. You’ll be glad you did. When you can make your car look better, and have that protection for your interior, there is no need to have your interior fade, or walk into a sizzling car when it has sat out in the sun while you were at work or play.

Car Dealers: Stop Posting Content Just For The Sake Of It

Social media, such as blogs and websites, rely and thrive off content. But at what point are you posting statuses and article links just for the sake of it? This seems to be a new trend in social media marketing, as paying to boost statuses, along with advertising on Facebook, has distorted the quality of content that is being shared on all social media platforms. I believe in a content distribution system in which quality, native posts are being shared daily on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Right now, there doesn’t seem to be any consistency or pattern with most social media pages, which could be detrimental to your audience reach and overall engagement.

For instance, the automotive industry, specifically car dealerships, post irrelevant content that doesn’t fit into the company’s message. The point is to sell cars, but if you can’t create awesome native content that gets your customers to engage, then don’t post anything at all. The content that is posted on these social media pages has nothing to do with the car brand that is being sold, the dealership, or the cars that are on display in the showroom. The customer’s needs must be the top priority, and that’s done by sharing compelling, native content that displays the cars, both interior and exterior, and motivating the consumers to take the next step in the buying process and visit your dealership.

Car news that is relevant in Europe, while you’re based in the United States, should not be posted. Sharing links about race cars when your dealership is selling the average consumer vehicle, should not be posted. You have cars in your showroom, you have dozens of vehicles on your property; display them. Share content that encompasses the car, discussing its features, and giving reasons as to why consumers should buy that car, or at the very least, consider test driving it.

Car dealerships focus on posting content that doesn’t matter, quite frankly because most of them don’t have a social media manager. Non-native content, along with boring text and pictures is how you turn off the consumer from considering your dealership and the cars you sell. The dealerships who encourage engagement are winning at the end of the day, with growing numbers of followers now responding to statuses and daily questions the dealership is asking. Best of all, the content is native, with the cars being at that location and in the showroom. You won’t sell cars off of social media any other way.

The automotive industry thrives off visual content. This is nothing new as Chrysler had 10 minute advertisements playing in movie theaters back in the Great Depression. This later translated to car commercials, which eventually led to YouTube videos, and now we’re on to social media. The hard selling was never the ultimate motivator, it was the visuals, both pictures and videos that always played the deciding factor. By not taking advantage of the social media tools that are at your disposal, you’re giving other dealerships the permission to take your customers away from you.

Start posting native content that creates engagement. That cannot be stressed enough, as 90% of dealerships refuse to change their social media marketing ways. You need to stay one step ahead of the curve, or others will pass you by, and they’re slowly gaining. Employ a social media manager who understands the importance of telling a story, along with being consistent when it comes to posting content. High school students understand this, which is why they post three to four times on Instagram daily, and they’re gaining thousands of followers. Your dealership has the content you need, it’s just up to you and your social media manager to see the potential the vehicles on your lot have, and start marketing them effectively. Other dealerships have figured it out, so what are you waiting for?

Social Media Marketers Should Attend Cars & Coffee Events

With marketing becoming personal, as social media has brought both consumers and companies closer than ever, I believe it’s time for those who pursue social media marketing in certain industries, to start interacting among the customer base they’ll be selling to. Recently, I had attended a Cars & Coffee, which I guess is the automotive version of a Wine Tasting event. Having observed the attendees and their behavior, now more than ever, my beliefs in using content over relentless advertising campaigns has been solidified. You can’t get away with a sponsored advertisement on Facebook and think you’ll get sales; it doesn’t work like that in the automotive industry.

The reason why marketers revert to advertising campaigns on Facebook for car dealerships is because they don’t know any other way to sell to consumers. These marketers haven’t attended Cars & Coffee events, which means they don’t know the thought processes behind the automotive consumer. Now I know what you’re thinking. “Everyone is not a car enthusiast”. I get that, however, people take pride in the vehicle they buy. Whether they’re deeply invested in their car or not, they are drawn to certain brands over others, and in 2015, they’re being influenced by YouTube videos and Instagram photos.

I encourage you to go on Instagram and see who is succeeding on this platform. You’ll be shocked to find 15 to 16 year old kids having 10,000 – 15,000 followers; they’re not Marketing Majors, but they have a strong sense of what the car lover wants. Visual content. Fifteen second videos and edited photos of vehicles are dominating Instagram, yet dealerships can’t seem to figure out how to achieve the same success. The auto industry as a whole has spent too many years hard selling, and as a result, marketers and advertisers transition that sell first mindset to social media platforms. That doesn’t work, especially with high school students beating well-respected dealerships to the punch on content.

I recommend to the social media marketers who want to make a quick dollar in advertising to car buyers, to attend Cars & Coffee events, along with International Auto Shows when they come to town. As a personal observation, it’s been made clear to me that not many, if any social media marketer has taken the time out of their lives to understand the market they’re getting themselves into. The best marketers who stand out among the rest are the ones who are fully engaged in the communities they sell to.

It’s not just marketers, but the sales representatives themselves. Consumers aren’t walking through the showroom doors confused and uncertain anymore. They no exactly what they want, and with tools and resources such as Edmund’s, they’re prepared to walk out without a deal knowing they can get a better price elsewhere. It’s time to stop being overconfident that Facebook advertisement can convert to car sales, and instead focus on a steady stream of native content that creates engagement and excitement.

Around 2011-2012, a wave of social media gurus enjoyed a few months and years of success, but where are they now? The next wave of social media marketers who will fail is coming, because ramming advertisement down consumers throats on social media platforms will force them to go to new platforms, where yet another group of advertisers will arise. Everything goes in cycles, and if we’re not careful we could turn off the consumer from buying a certain brand or going to a particular dealership, because the advertisement, along with boring content, provides no value to the customer.

Redundancy Does Not Sell Cars

The automotive world, like many industries, are still stuck in 20th century thinking when it comes to marketing and advertising. Redundancy does not sell products. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a car or any other everyday object you can think of, redundancy and hammering the same boring content on all social media platforms will not convert to sales. This goes hand-in-hand with hard selling, as we’re seeing that the old tactic of ramming advertising down the throats of consumers doesn’t work. The buying process requires time, but also requires persuasion, and many businesses, even car dealerships, fail at attracting car buyers to their brand.

The car manufacturers themselves have a very solid social media marketing strategy where they share native content, fan’s photos, and engage with their followers on a daily basis. They post content that is worth liking, sharing, and engaging, along with drawing consumers to their Facebook pages. While car brands do use sponsored advertising at times to boost statuses, it’s their fans who share the links and photos the manufacturers are posting, creating a wide net that is reaching many people around the world. Why aren’t car dealerships doing the same?

While the dealerships are the ones who do sell the cars, they don’t market the vehicles on their lots in a way that creates excitement and a desire to purchase a car. The social media pages are constantly swamped with redundant statuses and non-native content that lacks value. In-turn, there’s no engagement from fans, minimal likes, and no interest in what the dealership is offering. There are dealerships that sell premium brands, and they refuse to post any content that would persuade an undecided consumer.

Recently, I attended a Cars & Coffee event at a local car dealership. Having observed the behavior of the people who attended, it’s clear that most if not all of them were drawn to certain brands and cars by content, whether that be from magazines or YouTube videos. Go on Instagram and you’ll find countless photos from the event that are generating hundreds of likes. Consumers, especially in the auto industry, want visualized content, and not just the same redundant posts that may have worked on television 15-20 years ago. That’s the underlying problem, car dealerships are using social media as if Facebook and Twitter was a newspaper or local magazine. These platforms are being abused daily, and that’s why there’s very little engagement and no enthusiasm for the cars that are being sold by these companies.

Right now, 15-16 year old kids on Instagram have a better understanding of social media marketing than car dealerships that have been in existence for decades. Native content, along with displaying the cars in a way that draws attention and attraction is how you’ll create a buzz and engagement from interested consumers. Whether they’re car enthusiasts or the average customer, everyone is drawn in by visual content. This isn’t just specifically for car dealerships, but companies across all business sectors. If you want to sell anything in 2015, you have to either use picture or video content, because that’s what making a difference at the end of the day, not hard selling, redundant content that gets no response, likes, or shares.

BMW Says No More Manual Transmissions, A Sign Of Things To Come?

Save the manuals! Right? Well, BMW doesn’t think so, in fact they’re planning on getting rid of manual transmissions in their performance cars, and replacing them with automatics and paddle shifters. If that wasn’t enough heartache for car enthusiasts, BMW also has plans to limit horsepower to 600. To many car purists’ dismay, this is a sad reality, and the future of the automotive industry isn’t going to be putting a smile on their faces either.

Manual transmissions now make up less than 15% of new car purchases in the entire automotive market in the United States. For a car manufacturer to tailor to a niche market that is shrinking every year, they’d see very little revenue in return. While the car enthusiast community is vast and still very large, car brands have to remember that 85-90% of their consumers prefer automatic transmissions. Let’s also remember that the consumers who are part of the save the manuals campaign are more likely to by used, leaving the dealerships with the profits, not the manufacturers.

As with any niche market, there’s always a company that comes to the rescue, picking up those along the way who prefer tradition over the reality of where the market is heading. Ford is finally bringing the Focus RS to the United States, which will appease drivers who prefer manual transmissions. Along with a stick, the Focus also comes with a drift mode button, making this car highly coveted among enthusiasts who want to enjoy every aspect of their vehicle.

Alfa Romeo is going one step further with their new Giulia sedan. Not only does it come with a manual transmission, but it’s also RWD. For every car manufacturer that begins to tailor to larger markets, there’s the companies that can prosper from entering niche markets that are dwindling.

The reality of the automotive industry is that automatics now get better fuel consumption, have faster gear shifts, and are easier to drive. While car enthusiasts would say that the only way to fully experience driving, you have to own a manual. However, there are plenty of vehicles on the market that offer a great driving experience with or without a stick.

This is strictly about business, profits, and the realization that manual transmissions are outdated in 2015. Unless the American population drastically decides that they’re going old school and will learn how to operate a manual, we’ll continue to see new cars with paddle shifters and automatics. Purists can say until the end of time that, “Only real car enthusiasts own a manual”, but the fact is, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, and now BMW have all moved away from traditional transmissions. Are we now going to consider owners of those brands just average drivers, and not enthusiasts?

The future is here, and like it or not, manual transmissions are becoming extinct. The manufacturers know this, which is why so many are now putting new technology under the hood.

Car Dealerships Can Learn SMM From Racing Teams

Weekends during the summer attract car enthusiasts from all walks of life, who have different tastes in cars and racing series. NASCAR, Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, and Tudor United SportsCar Challenge are all racing during the weekend, giving racing fans a slew of options to choose from. Best of all, these racing series are engaging with their fans on all social media platforms, including the teams who participate in the racing events. The Internet live streams and on board camera views have made racing much more interactive, creating a more passionate and engaged fan base. Car dealerships can learn from these teams and racing series by making their social media accounts more engaging by posting native content.

Despite the theories that the car enthusiast community is relatively small, there are many people who take pride in the vehicles they own, or will own in the future. That’s why it’s important for dealerships to post content that gets potential car buyers excited. Your content alone could affect a person’s buying decision just by promoting the car in a positive way. Photos and written content that create emotion and feeling, giving people a reason to experience those feelings behind the wheel of the cars you sell, is an underrated strategy that can motivate a consumer to buy a particular brand.

Facebook and Instagram are the most effective platforms for car dealerships, but there’s always room to incorporate Twitter, as you can engage and interact with car buyers in your area. By posting native content, discussing car news of the brands you sell, and displaying the cars in your showroom, your strategy on Twitter won’t be stale compared to your competition. Twitter is often forgotten about, with dealerships either not having an account, or posting third party links that can be tracked back to Facebook and Instagram. Not only do you need to post native content, but it needs to be native to the platform you’re using if you want to see a growing interest and more followers joining the ranks of your social media accounts.

The racing series and teams who are active on social media, are slowly gaining interest in the sport they race in. While NASCAR is the most popular racing series in the United States, these smaller series are seeing more interest, as they’re posting content, streaming free live coverage on their website, and teams now using Periscope and their websites to stream on board camera angles. Dealerships can definitely learn from the distribution of content these teams share, and that starts by discussing the cars you have, the benefits of ownership, and posting pictures of the vehicles in your showroom on all your social media platforms.

Remember, the automotive industry requires a longer buying process with more deliberation and persuasion. Why should a car buyer choose your brand and the models you sell? Right now, consumers are more confused than ever, as car brands are entering new markets and competing with perennial powerhouses. You need to provide value to consumers, much like these smaller racing series and teams are offering value to viewers by sharing free live streams online, photos, and an inside look at what these teams do on and off the track. Your content can have a positive impact on your past, present, and future customers, and it’s crucial to use all social media platforms effectively.