​Using social media to sell cars [Updated]

Using social media to sell cars can be as simple as photographing a car and putting it on Facebook for sale. But if you really want to succeed using social media you need to focus on building a brand and viewing sales as a byproduct of that process.

​Because of the smartphone, the internet and social media, it’s never been so easy to get your brand and products in front of a potential consumer. Anyone can produce content and distribute it on the internet in seconds.

As little as 10 years ago if you wanted to create a commercial or video advert to promote your brand or cars, you would need to spend thousands of pounds on media and a marketing campaign. Today you can use your smartphone, take a photo or video clip and run ads on Facebook. The cost of getting to market has never been cheaper.

Content

There is no excuse not to be creating content around your brand, services or your business. Whether that is posting to Facebook or Instagram, creating a podcast or starting a Youtube channel it all works. If you aren’t sure what to say then you can simply just document your day and let people follow your daily business activities. The strategy is to talk about the business and to gain a following online not to always be selling. 

Showing your day-to-day process or simply writing about the news in your industry or re-share other’s posts and new articles. Is all you have to do at the start. You can rotate these with photos of you latest stock, recent sale or previously sold car.

The key is to start thinking like a media or advertising company and not like a car salesman. When you do that you start prioritising brand and not direct sales. Don’t misunderstand me, no amount of marketing is going to sell a bad product. But brand is everything if you are trying to create a valuable business. Since the advent of modern marketing every business has been selling to us. The reason for that is because it used to cost a lot to produce a commercial or advert, then an even higher cost to run it in a newspapers or on the radio or TV. 

But now in the modern smartphones and social media, you can produce so much more content and share it cheaply and efficiently.  You can focus on branding and entertainment and not just on selling.

The content you produce doesn’t even need to be related to your products. You can repost articles saying “these are the articles you should read”. You could post about the driving conditions, car related news and trends. You just need to focused on bringing value to your consumers and followers. If you can do that you are going to build a larger following than you would simply trying to sell sell sell!

For example, speaking about last weekends motorsport in a Facebook post probably isn’t going to actually sell a car. But what it does is give a motorsport fan a reason to follow you and then potentially use you services in the future. Culturally relevant piece of content help build relationships and brand. So not every post should be about sales. Lastly it provides a real and simple way for anyone, anywhere to begin creating content easily for their business.

Distribution

My content strategy involves posting multiple times a day to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I also post once or twice a week to LinkedIn. 

The posts can take many different forms — for example, I mostly use photographs and txt, but I also make short or long form videos. If you are comfortable on video, you could make a long form video and then cut it into shorter clips and use this for multiple posts. You might even use the audio from the video to start a podcast or create audio content for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. 

As I spoke about above I mostly document my daily activities and this is where most of my content comes from. I take loads of photos of the cars I have in stock as well as cars I see on my travels. This has allowed me to collect an archive of stock photos I can use in my posts. So you don’t have to spend time thinking about and looking for things to post it just happens organically.

I generally use more formal promotional photos on Facebook and more arty shots for Instagram. Short videos work especially well when used in Instagram stories. You can then post the same video as a normal post a few days or weeks later if you’ve not sold the car to give it another boost. The video can also be sent to a perspective buyer to help seal the deal. 

You can also make a promotional video of a car at the same time as you photograph it. I normally make a short 10 second video of each car using an OSMO pocket. This is a great way to start making promotional videos wether your have experience making video or not. I’ve written an article about how I do it here –Making a car promotional video.

There are massive opportunities on LinkedIn right now.

LinkedIn started as a site for people looking to get a job or to fill a job. People used it for connecting with people they already knew, and for finding jobs through people they knew. But things have started to change. Now, LinkedIn is a content platform in a similar way to Facebook but with a business focus and much better organic reach. Meaning you don’t have to spend money promoting yourself or your business.

LinkedIn is a great place to share the motorsport content we spoke about above or business related trends or articles. But you can also talk about and list the services you offer. I also post the occasional car sales post or a photo and link to my latest stock.

LinkedIn posts have the advantage of lasting for weeks not hours so don’t overlook it as a social media platform. It currently represents a great opportunity.

​Twitter is still a great platform to build brand. You can add content video and photo content to twitter, promoting your latest stock and activities. You can also again share business related trends or articles. But the really advantage of twitter is the freedom to engage and jump into conversations with other users in your local area or business field. This conversation element can really be useful for building brand and establishing expertise in your local area.

​Just search twitter for posts you can engage with or have a relevant option on and leave a comment. But again don’t focus on sales or leave spammy comments, post useful engaging and thoughtful comments. Think branding and not sales.

Buying advertising

If you do a great job in your local area you can still run an effective social media strategy without spending money on boosting content. But if you really want to grow you need to start deploying money against your content on Facebook or Instagram. This will get you much more reach and grow your business much faster.

You can start by simply spending a few pounds or dollars a day until you start understanding which posts are working best for you. I personally only promote cars that I have for sale. Spending less money on the easy sellers and putting more money behind the traditionally slower moving stock. But on top of this I’m still adding another 4-5 posts per day that aren’t promoted. These are the culturally relative pieces and the previous sold post etc.

But even when you promote posts there’s no guarantee that people will follow you or buy from you but it’s guaranteed that someone will see it. You can target a specific audience by age, geography, likes, and more using Facebook targeting. You can literally target everybody in your local area and they will see it in their feed.

​So say you have a pink convertible BMW you can directly target the demographic you feel will be most likely to be interested in buying that type and colour of car. Making for the most efficient and targeted ad spend ever. It’s just that easy.

Conclusion

This simple strategy has allowed me to leapfrog my competition and ultimately sell more cars and build a stronger business. If you start thinking like a media company and focus on brand and quality content you will gain a large following on social media, and ultimately sell for cars and make more money. 

Remember to think branding not sales.

Good luck!