As an automotive business of the digital age, you’ve probably realized just how important content marketing is when it comes to engaging your audience. Showcasing your products and services online is one thing, but becoming a recognizable and trusted brand can take your impact to another level. One of the best and most easily accessible channels for content marketing is social media. And, if there was a social media platform that had seemingly been designed to serve the automotive industry, it’s Instagram. Instagram is an image and video-based channel that boasts over a billion users every month. Think of all those potential leads, already actively searching and scrolling through content and products just like yours.
Instagram is a channel you can’t afford to not be seen on, it’s that simple! So, with that in mind, we’ve compiled our best Instagram tips for car dealers. Let’s get started.
One of the simplest tools you can use to boost your presence on Instagram is by using hashtags (#). In fact, there probably isn’t a platform that utilizes hashtags quite so well or naturally. Not only do posts with hashtags see over 12%* more engagement on average, but they are also a free and easy to use marketing tool that boosts optimization and content discovery.
Think of hashtags as keywords and phrases that Instagrammers use to find content that they enjoy and want to see. They can do this by either searching for a particular hashtag, or by following it so that it automatically appears in their feed.
When it comes to hashtag use, there are a few ways that you can add them to your posts. The first is to directly add them into the content, either as part of the text, or as a separate list at the end of the description. However, you can also add hashtags as a separate comment beneath a post. This is favored by many content marketers, as it can help your posts and content look cleaner and uncluttered, without undermining the effectiveness of the hashtags.
Overall, we would recommend using between five and nine hashtags per post, and they need to be relevant to your content and the specific post. It also helps to use popular hashtags. #CarSales for instance accounts for over 34%* of vehicle-related searches, and is by far the best performing when it comes to automotive marketing on Instagram.
Make sure your audience gets the message
The second of our Instagram tips for car dealers is to use another free tool available on the platform, direct messaging. For most Instagram accounts, you won’t have the function of sharing or posting clickable hyperlinks other than in your profile or bio. Therefore, you need to be a little inventive when it comes to how you push your audience towards the right content.
Direct messaging enables you to answer queries, say thank you, follow up and much more. Look for opportunities to connect with your audience directly by following relevant stories, accounts, and post shares.
Share reel stories
Another free and built-in tool of the Instagram platform is Reels. Hot on the heels of a potential ban in the U.S. of TikTok, Instagram launched ‘Reels’ – a new, Instagram branded way of creating and discovering short, entertaining videos on the platform. Reels enables you to record and edit 15-second, multi-clip videos with audio, effects, and a host of creative tools unique to Instagram. You can add music from the library, or use the effects gallery to enhance your content. You can also speed up or slow down parts of your video, and line up objects from previous clips using the editing tools. With Reels, you can share with your followers and be discovered by the huge, diverse Instagram community.
Similarly, you can use many of these features and tools to also create and share to your Instagram story. Even simply adding a ‘new post’ GIF and sharing the latest content from your Instagram grid is a really effective way of ensuring your posts are seen by more people.
Another aspect of the features available for Reels and stories is the ability to go ‘live’. When you stream live content on Instagram, all of your followers are instantly notified. What’s more, you can also use live video chat with anyone following you or joining your stream. Both Nissan and Hyundai used Instagram to live stream from the New York Auto Show in 2019 to showcase new model launches, capturing the excitement of both the event and their followers in real-time.
Built for automotive specialists by automotive specialists, one of the easiest and most intuitive ways of building up a great library of video content ready to be used on your Reels and stories is SnapCell. Our simple and reliable automotive video tools enable on-the-go editing and professional-looking content that can be streamed or uploaded with ease. And just like Instagram, it’s a handy app available on any smartphone.
It’s social media, not promotional media
The next of our Instagram tips for car dealers is to remember not to use it to market directly. After all, that’s what adverts are for. Social media is about engaging with your audience and building your brand and community. As a rough guide, only one in four posts should be a direct plug or sell.
One way of sharing content your followers are guaranteed to like is by using the content they’ve created! By linking user-generated content, you are automatically extending your reach to that user’s unique followers. You are putting them in the spotlight, and hopefully benefiting from their endorsement of your brand at the same time through shares and likes.
Use what you have
When we said Instagram could have been designed for car dealer content, we mean it! Think about it, you have some of the most aesthetically pleasing content on the planet conveniently polished and sitting pretty in great lighting all around you – cars!
From manufacturers to enthusiasts, some of the greatest automotive content is being shared, built and talked about on Instagram. As an image-based platform, you have all that you need to build desire, make dreams come true, and create absolute killer content.
But remember, Instagram users are constantly scrolling. They’ll only stop if they see something cool, exciting, or interesting. That means your pictures and videos need to be stunning. Keep your messages short and sweet, and let the images do the talking. One of the best ways of optimizing your content is to use the suite of intuitive editing tools available on SnapCell. We can help you craft professional-looking content with just a few clicks.
Optimize your profile
First impressions matter, and your Instagram profile and grid will probably be the first interaction a user has with your brand. In order to optimize your profile and to come across as an established brand, make sure all of your business information is correctly populated within your profile.
That means ensuring your business name, address, contact details, and above all, your website (after all, it’s the only place you can) are all added to your profile. You also need to use a recognizable profile picture. Your followers and anyone visiting your profile should be able to instantly tell who you are and what you offer at a glance. Or, at the very least, it should create enough intrigue to encourage them to find out more.
And, by marking your Instagram profile as a business account, you’ll be able to utilize further tools such as advertising and promotions.
Plan your content
Freeling posting off-the-cuff pictures of vehicles is not a strategy, and you’ll quickly run out of options – or risk making your content feel and look repetitive. Your Instagram content strategy should be part of a wider social media plan. And above all, your content needs to be relevant and useful for your audience.
A great way of finding out what content performs for you, or otherwise, is using the built-in Instagram analytics tools. This can help you gain insight into your content success, your audience and community, and even when your followers are most active.
Content ideas that you may want to incorporate into your strategy include:
- Car service and maintenance tips
- Your latest inventory arrivals
- New promotions
- Staff bios
- ‘How to’ content
- Vehicle troubleshooting tips
Remember, people buy from people, so encourage your sales and service teams to embrace Instagram as a channel. Their natural enthusiasm and excitement for your events, products and services will do a greater job of selling to your audience than any direct plug ever will!
And remember, help is always on hand
If any aspect of using a platform like Instagram seems daunting, our final Instagram tip for car dealers is to remember that there are some great third-party tools and services available to make things easier for you. Not sure what hashtags to use? Check out Hashtagify. Forgetting to post things? Use a content scheduler like Buffer or Later.
Or, if you’re looking for a way to engage your followers, improve the customer experience you deliver, and create professional-looking video content, then you’ll find everything you need within the SnapCell app.
If you’d like to know more about how SnapCell can enhance your presence and increase leads via Instagram and other social media channels, get in touch with a member of the team today.