By now, it's no secret — social media is essential to your dealership's branding efforts. For those who are new to social media altogether, we’ve worked to explain how to utilize social media to promote your dealership.
We’ve also created guides to help you set up and operate your social media accounts, whether it's Facebook or Twitter.
In this Instagram for Dealerships How-To Guide, we'll talk about how to set up and use an Instagram account for your auto dealership.
There are two basic things that new users should understand about Instagram. The first is that it’s a photo app.
The second is that it’s a mobile-based app. This means that all content you post must have a photo or video attached (you can also post any commentary or hashtags you’d like, but we’ll get to those later). It also means that in order to fully use the app, you need to do so via a smartphone.
Getting Set Up
To get started with Instagram, you’ll need to download the app to your phone. Go to your phone provider’s app store to do so.
Once you have the app, tap “Sign up.” You can either enter the e-mail address that will be used for the account and start from scratch, or if your dealership has a Facebook account, the app will give you the option of signing up using that. If you use your Facebook account, Instagram will pull your profile photo from Facebook. If not, you’ll need to choose and upload a profile picture such as your dealership’s logo.
After you’re signed up and in the app, go to “Settings” and to “Switch to Business Account.” This will give you the ability to enter information such as your dealership’s hours, address, phone number, and web site.
What Should I Post?
In short, Instagram will give you the ability to post photos and short videos. Think about images and messaging that are relevant to your brand and customer demographic.
Post photos of exciting new vehicles that your manufacturer is introducing, as well as graphics for sales and specials your dealership is running.
Get customers in on the social media experience, and post photos of them posing with their new vehicles. In addition to this, use the platform as a way to introduce the public to the staff in the different departments of your dealership.
You can also post videos to Instagram, as long as they're not longer than 60 seconds. But as any dealership who's run a commercial or radio ad knows, 60 seconds is an eternity. Think of the possibilites — a quick tour or your dealership, a detailed look at the interior of a car, a virtual test ride that shows how a car handles on the road.
Get creative and get shooting!
Make sure you post a caption for each photo and video, too, and be sure to include a hashtag (or two, or three ...). For those who are unfamiliar with hashtags, they’re a way to categorize your posts so that customers with certain interests can easily find them.
Hashtag a photo of a 16-year-old customer next to her new Honda with #FirstCar. Hashtags can also be witty or funny — you can encourage customers to #GoTopless with a brand-new convertible, for instance.
How Do I Make the Most of My Photos?
Some users have taken Instagram to the level of art, using its filters to create photos that look like they could have been taken by professionals. In fact, it’s worth spending time working to perfect your photos so that they provide the best possible representation of your dealership and brand.
Instagram isn’t the only way to tweak your photos, however. There are many apps available that can help with photo editing, text overlays, and more. Instagram itself has a suite of apps that let you do unique things with your photos and videos.
Instagram-friendly apps will open up a whole new way for you to interact with current customers and bring in new ones.