How Auto Dealers Can Harness Vehicle Demand Via Social Media

By: Arnold Denah   |   25 Oct 2022
Colourful cars at a dealership

Even though people are worried about the rising costs of living, the demand for both new and used cars is still high - and it's expected to remain that way. While the auto industry is constantly evolving and dealers have many dynamics to consider, no one is ready to admit publicly that we're already in a recession, which has caused disruptions in numerous supply chains. Since we know that the demand for vehicles still exists, it's an ideal time for considering the fact that "it's more about harnessing the demand out there than worrying about the lack of it."

Many dealers are left asking themselves, "What do I do? How do I harness this demand? What's the right way to stand up and stand out during a time like this?" 

Want to learn more? Check out our quick video on the topic for more insights by clicking below!

 

Customer expectations are changing, but with every change comes the possibility of standing out. So right now, the timing is perfect for car dealerships to learn how to harness the power of their brand and stand out amongst everybody else trying to do the same thing - and make a difference for their customers in the process. What a win-win!

Due to ongoing inventory shortages, consumers are paying more for their vehicles, and spending weeks, if not months, looking or waiting for the car of their dreams. But those who don't want to wait weeks or months for preorders to arrive are choosing to purchase more readily available used vehicles. Dealers are making record profits from used inventory sales, which has led to greater overall profits for automakers and dealers, and even record-breaking sales of vehicles before they arrive at the dealership.

In the quest for dealers to learn how to harness the vehicle demand that is currently happening, they can do a few things to stay at an advantage. Here are some of the things dealers should take into account if they want to remain competitive with the current market!

Using Social Media to "Stand Out"

Social media has been an important part of any successful online presence and marketing strategy, whether you like it or not. Big brands now understand that a two-way communication model is the best way to humanize, legitimize, and increase their brand power in today's social media-driven culture. The best way to get customers to open up and invest more in a brand is to treat it like a person and interact with them. It's most effective and engaging to do so via social media platforms. Customers are human, and humans are naturally friendly. People also drive cars. I think you get the picture! 

Why Car Dealerships Should be on Social Media?

Perhaps a bigger question should be, "Who doesn't use social media these days?!" Recent statistics show that 4.48 billion people use social media, so if you haven't already realized it, you should be there too! Your potential car buyers are almost certainly there. Get out there and meet them!

62% of car buyers start their search for a vehicle online, and a significant amount of pre-purchase research is done from behind a computer screen. Additionally, 71% of consumer purchasing decisions are influenced by social media, so auto dealerships should have a presence on sites like Tiktok, Twitter, and Instagram.

Having a social media presence alone can:

  • Boost your credibility and trust factor 
  • Entice new clients
  • Promote customer loyalty
  • Boost sales and traffic
  • Boost your social proof
  • Amplify brand awareness
  • Communicate your brand values

Find Relatable Trends to Use

In a constantly shifting market, dealerships must adapt to survive. Maintaining a successful business over the long term calls for one thing from all dealers: to "stand out." TikTok has become a great way to try new things and find unique opportunities to stand out from the crowd. While getting people to watch your videos and gain followers through organic traffic is great, riding a trend can give your videos a much-needed boost.

Short on ideas? Don't overthink it! For example, are a lot of people doing a specific dance? Perform a dance number on top of or inside one of your cars with your staff! There is a number of many great ways to promote your services and increase the popularity of your videos, and with TikTok usage reaching an all-time high, implementing TikTok to increase sales at your car dealership is a very worthwhile idea.

Humanize Your Dealership

For automakers looking to reach today's consumers, doing so during this unprecedented disruption presents a new set of difficulties. Brands must maintain flexibility and invest in genuine connections to succeed in the automotive industry. The importance of being original and on the cutting edge of change cannot be overstated. To win the race for consumers' attention and wallets, brands must be present where their customers already are: on social media.

We know that customers still prefer to deal directly with car dealerships, so show the world that your car lot is staffed by... humans! Using social media, you and your dealership can demonstrate that you're more than just a place to buy cars. Exposing that you and your employees are real people with distinct personalities can help dispel any "dealership dread" your prospective customers may feel.

Create Good Customer Relationship

A new vehicle isn't exactly something people choose on a whim, so purchasing one is a significant decision. Before a buyer finally makes a decision, a lot of evaluating and research happens (and that's before the test drive even starts!). If car dealerships want to stand out, outperform the competition, and draw in customers, they must cultivate relationships with their customers and be available throughout the entire buying process.

Beyond the car, there are many other factors to consider when choosing which dealership to purchase from. Dealerships with distinguishing qualities, such as a convenient location, an extended car warranty, and insurance discounts should make a big deal out of them.

Consider what else makes your dealership unique: do you help with out-of-province/state delivery? Do you have an exceptional finance team? Free oil changes for a year when they purchase a car from you? Unique promos at your dealership? Above and beyond community involvement? Think about what you can offer and don't be afraid to share it with the people who are watching. 

Social Media Content Potential

Suppose you do everything correctly on Social Media (great content, optimal video length, trending sounds, and songs). In that case, you have a good chance of attracting much attention to your auto dealership. You can also increase your reach by specifying your location on the app/in your posts so that the algorithm can match you with nearby potential customers. Producing creative and entertaining content for your car dealership can be a great way to grow on social media.

And it need not start and end with selling cars; content can also be made for the dealership's parts and service departments, which are frequently the most significant contributors to your bottom line. Social media platforms like TikTok's potential reach can even outshine the efficiency and low cost of targeted advertising campaigns.

Remember, the goal of your social media efforts shouldn't be immediate monetary gain; instead, they should be focused on sowing the seed that will make your business the first one people think of when they need to buy or repair a car in the future. Social media is becoming more of a long game, but the benefits are worth the investment!

Conclusion

Social media can broaden the appeal of auto dealerships, assist in luring new clients, and strengthen brand loyalty so that clients recommend you to friends and family who are also looking for a new vehicle. Being active on social media gives car dealerships a human touch, demonstrates that business is booming, and entices people to follow you even if they don't need a car right now (but they might come in the future!).

While auto dealership challenges will always exist in the auto market, staying on top of trends and doing everything you can to (morally) stay afloat remains incredibly important. And on top of that, every car dealer should learn to be patient and consistent.

Our Director of Demand Gen, Whit, leaves us with this final thought: "If I could have one single wish as a marketer, it would be that everybody could have the patience to see the unsexy thing work. Because once you've seen the unsexy thing work, you're willing to do it again."

Every brilliant change starts with a tiny step, so let's bring experimentation into our daily work and take the first steps toward a long and exciting digitalization journey!