Still Holding Onto Old Inventory? Use Social Media And A Blog

Every year, car dealerships struggle to sell aging inventory. With the 2016 models arriving at your local dealer’s lots, 2014 and 2015 models will have to be sold to make room for current and new models. Buying a car during this time of year is great, especially if you’re looking to save some money by purchasing a 2014 or 2015 new vehicle. In my area alone, there’s over 400 cars from the 2014 model year that still haven’t been sold, which presents an opportunity for frugal shoppers.

For most car dealerships, they’re losing money every day these vehicles sit on their lots. Instead of waiting for the consumer to walk through your showroom’s doors, go on the offensive by promoting your cars through the use of social media and a blog if your dealership has one. You might ask, “Why”? By not sharing a photo of the vehicle and going into detail about the benefits of ownership, your customer is unaware that this car is on your lot.

At a local Ford dealership, there’s a 2014 Ford Fusion Titanium priced around $29,000 ($7,000 below MSRP). The Fusion comes with a power moonroof, power and heated front seats, leather interior, an LCD monitor in the dashboard, and gets good gas mileage (22 MPG in the city, 31 MPG on the highway). It’s fully loaded and is the premium trim for the Ford Fusion model. This sedan should have already had an owner by now.

Another vehicle I see at dealerships that remain in the new car inventory is the 2014 Hyundai Elantra GT. A hatchback that will meet the standards for a college student with decent sized cargo room, power seats and mirrors, good fuel economy (24 MPG in the city and 33 on the highway) and comes in at a fair price of $20,553, considering the amount of features the Elantra GT has.

It shouldn’t be difficult to move these cars off your inventory lot. Without giving consumers a reason to buy, they’ll overlook that model and search elsewhere, possibly at a rival dealership, and as a consequence, you miss out on a sale.

I believe that in the automotive industry, marketing and selling are two distinct divisions within an advertising department. Marketing through the use of social media takes on the role of attracting consumers, while your sales representatives push the customer into making a buying decision. Even in 2015 people are buying cars because they have to, but with Facebook and Instagram, a desire to purchase the vehicle, or at least test drive it, can be made possible.

Instagram photos are like commercials for Oreo cookies. A consumer doesn’t have a need to eat a cookie until they see it on their screen. Social media marketing creates an appetite, and one that might be strong enough to drive them to a purchase. Without Facebook, Instagram, and a blog, you’re not offering anything of value, and as a result, you’re still finding it challenging to get rid of 2014 and 2015 models off your lots.

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.

Theoretically, Could Tesla Survive Another Recession?

With fears of the US markets heading into correction territory, and possibly continuing a downward trend, the automotive industry will not be immune to any fluctuation or volatility in the stock market. One particular sector of the automotive industry, the luxury car market, could see some tough times in the United States, as China’s demand for luxury vehicles has waned, which could have an impact on the local economy should this downturn continue. Tesla is still a relatively young company, an automaker that is still losing money and is trying to raise another $500 million to open a factory that will manufacture the Model 3. Tesla’s fate, like many companies across all industries, is tied directly to our economy.

Should there be no delays, the Model 3 will be available by 2017. With a two year buffer from now until then, a lot can happen. Seeing as though Tesla does not have a car priced below $40,000, any blip in the stock market could have dire consequences for the electric car manufacturer. With the BMW i3, Mercedes Benz B Class, Chevy Spark, Chevy Volt, Ford Focus Electric, and Volkswagen e-Golf to name a few, other car companies are already in a position to survive any turbulence in the markets. Tesla on the other hand, is not.

While Tesla can boast that their cars get better range, they can’t be prideful of their price tags. Consumers will compromise and sacrifice range for price. That’s the way it is now, and in a rough economy, that’s the way it will be then. Tesla is selling cool, but not practicality. Their fan base consists of window shoppers who daydream about owning the electric car, but when push comes to shove, only a small minority will tighten the belt and purchase the Model S, and in a few months the Model X.

Oil prices have now hit a 7 year low, and currently the price is hovering around or below $40 a barrel. Not a good sign for any electric car brand or model, and it’s no coincidence that car manufacturers are now advertising performance over being energy efficient.

The future isn’t certain however, and any adversity our economy faces is always something to watch. The automotive industry will inevitably be part of the highs and lows, and it’s during the dark times that we learn which companies can and will survive , and the ones that we’ll look back on thinking about the what ifs. Tesla may be one of those companies that’s not strong enough to survive, especially if their Model 3 does not hit the market while the economy is still strong.

After the recession in 2008, the luxury brands learned from their mistakes. They added cheaper cars to their lineups to sustain themselves during adverse times. These powerhouse manufacturers are in a position to survive.The smaller car brands may be on life support for a while should we dip back into a recession, or face volatility for a period of 6-12 months.

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.