What are some great ways to market a car dealership on Instagram?

‘What are some great ways to market a car dealership on Instagram?’ was a question I was asked to answer on Quora, possibly by an owner of a car dealership who’d like to explore other avenues of capturing mind space. This question also came with a description ‘Wanting to use social media to give the brand a visible presence, less about directly selling to the social media audience.’

Image by Arvind Ramanathan

The goal mentioned in the description is vital. As Instagram isn’t really the place for sales, but for purely creating an intangible sense of attraction or desirability.

I’m not a digital marketing specialist, but I thought I should share what I’ve understood about posting on Instagram as an online auto dealership.

Sharing my answer on Quora here -

“Interesting question! And it’s great that you gave some insight about the result you expect/ your goal with the Instagram exercise.

For CarPal’s Instagram — we get a lot of engagement on Instagram. I believe it’s purely because we are more visual there, more realistic and importantly — more human.

From my understanding — if you want to make your dealership more desirable for a person to buy from, never try and sell the car. Do not communicate direct offers like “Rs 15,000 off if you book by today evening” — this way, you’re prompting the buyer to negotiate even further and also, lose a lot of respect in the process. Also, do not communicate features of the products that you sell — however cool.

Here’s the sort of content that I would take up.

1. A picture of a model you sell every morning

This picture shouldn’t be that of a display vehicle inside the showroom, but something that’s in natural light. It could be just a certain thing — like a headlamp, for instance.

Example — “Our Mars Red #Ford #EcoSport shows the best of it’s shade today! Have a great day, everyone!”

2. A picture of the display vehicle of the new model that’s just launched

Use this picture to invite people to visit your showroom. Offer incentives like free coffee and a test drive.

Example — “Look at what just arrived :). Step in for a test drive experience. And of course, some great coffee.”

3. A picture of customers test driving a vehicle

Train your sales consultants to take good pictures of your customers who walk-in/ you give test drives to. No shakes, nothing. Has to be perfect with a pleasing background.

Use this picture and share it captioning that you hope they had a great time at your showroom and with the test drive.

Example — “Mr. and Mrs. Dev just completed their test drive of our #Honda #Jazz and look happy! Hope they had a great test drive experience with us :)”

4. A picture of customers taking delivery of their new cars

Please note — your delivery area should be very, very clean. Do not double your washing area as the delivery area. If needed, invest on creating a small raised platform just for deliveries. Strictly no cleaning on that platform.

Take pictures of your customers taking delivery of their new car. Do not mention the price they bought it for, but you can mention the services you did for them — test drives, ‘good finance deal’, support with used cars, how soon you got the car, etc.

Request them to pose with a thumbs up.

Example — “Mr Ravi and his family drive out their brand new #Volkswagen #Polo bought through us. We had a lovely time working with him for his car and value his association with us!”

5. Testimonials to go with the picture of your customer, again

Request your customers to give you a testimonial. Use the text and publish it with their pictures on your Instagram account. Makes a big difference.

Example — “We feel so privileged to have the best customers! This is what Mr. Singhal wrote about us. ‘……testimonial….’”

6. Celebrations at your showroom

Have a small celebration for various days at your showroom — this would also improve the overall mood of your employees too. Take a few pictures and push them to your Instagram to be able to connect with your audience a lot better as a human personality.

Example — “Pongal celebrations at your showroom! If you’re around, do stop by for some great light eats and of course, check out our cars :)”

7. A picture at the end of the work day

This could be just a picture you take from outside as you wind up for the day — but have the lights on inside to show case the models on display.

OR this could also be a picture of another model that you sell, with headlamps ON this time.

Example — “A view of our Pearl White #Toyota #Innova as we close for the day. It’s been a great day, indeed! How was yours? :)”

8. Other things to make you seem more human

A picture of your best employee of the month / a picture of your employee on their birthday/ a picture of some of your vehicles with rain drops (after a rain) with relevant captions.

PS — Do not expect to be flooded with leads immediately. Instagram is slow, but certainly a sustainable option that would increase the desirability to buy from your dealership. And I’m sure your OEM would appreciate your efforts too. This is a brand building exercise / experience — this is not for sales building

Feel free to let me know what you think :)