Audrey Maxson
| 18 May 2018

Four Reasons Your Dealership Should Embrace Instagram

From OEM's to everyday car enthusiasts, everyone is heading to Instagram to show off their cars and indulge in all things auto. Instagram's recent report, Driven by Instagram, highlights the importance of the app for auto makers, dealers and consumers. For decades, advertising in the auto industry has been primarily focused on visual content, making Instagram's photo-centric platform the ideal place for automotive. Not quite convinced about the power of Instagram? Here are a few reasons to make the jump.

It's the New Facebook

There's a clear reason Instagram has more than 500 million active users each day, and greater than 800 million every month.Millennials and Gen Z are leaving Facebook and heading to Instagram for the sleek design and user experience. Businesses are also heading to Instagram for the cheap and effective advertising options, like targeted promotions, which are run through Facebook, and video ads that can be run through Instagram stories. Advertisers can choose the location, target demographic, and how long they want to run the ad.

The visual nature of Instagram also allows you to fight through the noise that can be Facebook and focus on what you and your customers really care about the cars. According to the recent Instagram report, [Instagram] is a digital showroom where people and brands can showcase their cars. Video is also a key player in the Instagram scene, and gives you the opportunity to share your products in a captivating way. Facebook isn't going anywhere anytime soon, but Instagram's unique experience provides a way for dealerships to connect with their customers in a meaningful, and ultimately profitable, way.

It's Natural for Customers

You might be wary about taking your business to Instagram, but your customers aren't. Eighty percent of Instagram followers follow businesses. They're already sharing their experiences of buying a car to their accounts. In fact, 41 percent will post a photo of their new car.1 It's also a key factor in the decision making process for shoppers "59 percent of shoppers said Instagram is a key influencer in an auto purchase." 1. Most Instagram users who are in the process of buying a car are also using their phones in-store during the purchase process  either to find the car they saw online, in an ad, or to share photos on their personal stories. Finally, 60 percent of customers are heading to the platform to learn about products and services. 2 Try featuring current promotions or deals on Instagram to reach those customers and entice them to come into your dealership.

It's a Chance to Tell Your Story

Like many other social channels, Instagram allows you to tell your story through their platform. But unlike other channels, it allows you to create a more personal connection through the "Stories" feature. Instagram Stories mimic Snapchat's short, ephemeral content and allow marketers to provide a more intimate, behind-the-scenes look into life at a dealership. Stories are a quick, authentic way to showcase your dealership, the people who work there, and the cars on your lot. They don't need to be high-quality productions; they disappear in 24 hours unless you save them as a highlight on your account page. This type of content makes your dealership relatable and creates almost daily touchpoints with your customers, keeping you top-of-mind when they're looking for their next car or service.

It's a Chance for Others to Tell Your Story

If you've ever scrolled through an Instagram feed, you'll notice that it's a place for people to share their experiences. Instagram already has features built in that allow users to signal to others where they are or who's involved in their experience. For dealerships, this creates an opportunity for customers to tag the dealership when they're sharing their experiences, both positive and negative. Creating an Instagram account and encouraging customers to tag you means you're reaching their entire network without spending a dime. You can also add links so that others that come to your profile from someone else's post can navigate to your website.

This is also a great chance to leverage influencers. There are a lot of car enthusiasts with large Instagram followings that would be willing to promote your brand or your dealership with a little incentive. Many of the OEMs are already taking advantage of Instagram influencers, but your dealership could use micro-influencers in your area to promote your specific dealership.

Instagram has become a platform where even the average user curates their content and thinks strategically about how to market themselves. If they understand the value and are willing to put the time in to create a successful profile, how much more can brands, particularly automotive brands, benefit from the visual nature of the platform? For more tips on how to get started with your strategy, read the full report.

1. Path to Purchase 2016 - by Kantar 2. Print and Pixels Study - by Kantar Millward Brown 3Instagram data, Sep 2017

Audrey Maxson
Audrey Maxson

<p><strong>Audrey</strong> works in the marketing department at CDK Global as the Social Media Coordinator. She attended New York University, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Media, Culture and Communications and Broadcast Journalism. She grew up in Westlake Village, California, but she currently resides in Illinois.</p>

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