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Instagram Marketing for Auto Dealerships
The Definitive Guide (2021)

Everything Dealerships need
to drive sales using Instagram

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How to Market a Car Dealership on Instagram

In this complete guide to automotive marketing on Instagram in 2021, you will get a full understanding of why your dealership needs to be on Instagram and how to use it (step by step!). Specifically, we explore how to leverage the native features of Instagram including; the post feed, Instagram Stories, Reels, IGTV, paid advertising and more, to grow your auto dealership following and increase sales.

Contents

To help you navigate our comprehensive Instagram guide for car dealerships, we've divided the post into easy-to-follow chapters. Each chapter includes an explanation of the Instagram feature, how to use it and examples of how auto dealerships inspire customer action utilising the feature. To jump to a section simply click on the chapter link above.


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Why Instagram?

Why your car dealership business
should be on Instagram



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Australian Instagram Statistics Car Dealers Can't Ignore

The numbers don't lie.
Australia's engagement with Instagram is booming.

May 2019

9,037,000 
users
March 2020

9,709,000 
users
October 2020

10,620,000
users

 Australian people are flocking to Instagram. Since May 2019 the number of Australians using Instagram has increased by a staggering 1.6 million people. 

instagram for dealership stats graph australia(2)

According to the latest statistics as of October 2020, there were 10,620,000 Instagram users in Australia. This number accounts for approximately 41% of our nation's population.

  • The majority of them were women – 56.5%.
  • People aged 25 to 34 were the largest user group (3,200,000).
  • The highest difference between men and women occurs within people aged 45 to 54, where women lead by 320,000.

 Instagram is a visual channel and with its focus on images and more recently video, Instagram has become the go-to platform for car enthusiasts, automotive advertisers and OEM car manufacturers to showcase their vehicles.  From 4x4 enthusiasts to lovers of luxury vehicles, the visual nature of Instagram allows Australian car lovers and dealers to share their passion for cars. Social savvy dealers are using Instagram to  build relationships with car shoppers in fresh and inspiring ways. But how?

According to Facebook business there are many ways to engage with prospective car buyers on Instagram.

"Through feed, live or stories, auto brands on Instagram can now reach the right people in more relevant and immersive ways—whether they're following their favourite vehicle manufacturers, sharing videos from a recent road trip or looking to purchase a new car at their local dealership. No matter the demographic or road is taken, Instagram offers automotive sellers the perfect way to target and reach people from all drives of life."

There's plenty of opportunity for auto dealerships on Instagram and with the right strategies driving brand engagement and generating sales leads is actually easier on Instagram than on Facebook. In the following chapters we're going to show you exactly what those strategies are and how to start using them to sell more vehicles, but before we dive in, here's a snapshot of some of the key reasons your dealership needs to make the move to Instagram. 

instagram marketing for dealerships 2

 

Instagram Posts

  • The anatomy of a top performing Instagram post 
  • 6 tips to optimise your Instagram post
    - Image
    - Location tag 
    - Hashtags
    - Captions
    - Call to actions
    - Answers & comments
  • Instagram Carousel; why and how to use it

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Instagram Posts

Everything your auto dealership needs
to know to share content

The Anatomy Of A Top Performing Instagram Post

Your Feed is your brand Instagram profile page where your followers can find all your photos, videos and graphic content. It is the face of your brand on Instagram, hence it worth taking good care of it.

The content you post stays on your Feed forever –unless you decide to delete it or hide it. Curating your dealership Instagram Feed can help you make it look cohesive thus more attractive to your audience.

Before we explain step by step how to make your first post and publish it on your Instagram Feed, it is essential you know the elements will maximise your Instagram post impact.

6 Tips to Optimise Your Instagram Post

Instagram marketing for dealership - infographic (1) 

1. Visually appealing image 

Visuals on Instagram are everything, so if you want to stand out it is essential your image-based content has enough quality to attract people to your profile. 

Instagram post size

One of the most important things in order to achieve the desired image quality is to use the right size. There are three sizes you can use to post, depending on the type of content.

- Square: 1080 x 1080 pixels with a ratio of 1:1
- Landscape: 1080x608 with a ratio of 1.91:1
- Portrait: 1080x1350 with a ratio of 4:5

Instagram for dealerships post sizes 1

 

Rule of Thirds 

The Rule of Thirds is a type of composition where important elements of a photograph or video are placed along a 3x3 grid. The image is divided evenly into thirds, and the subject is located along these lines or their intersections. It is generally agreed that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension than simply centring it.

Instagram dealership - Rule of thirds

 

2. Location Tag

Adding the location to your post is useful to let your audience know where are you located.

The GPS of mobile devices identifies locations and acts as a content library showcasing all media geotagged in a specific place, giving your content more exposure and helping you create brand awareness.

You can either tag a geographical area like a city or your specific dealership location. Below we show you how to add your dealership location on an Instagram post.

Adding a location tag to your Instagram post

Once you have decided the content of your post, follow the steps below to add a location tag. 

Instagram marketing for dealerships 25

Instagram marketing for dealerships 26

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Hashtags | Using # On Your Car Dealership Instagram Posts

What is an Instagram hashtag?

An Instagram hashtag is a word or a series of words with a pound sign (#) placed at the front of the word. Including Hashtags in your post is the fastest way to reach your audience, even if you don't have a large Instagram following. How you ask? 

Hashtags make your keyword a searchable link and have the power to help your posts gain more visibility, likes and shares. When using hashtags on Instagram your post will not only appear on your Instagram feed but also in hashtag searches. Hashtag search on Instagram is a little like a keyword search on Google and when Instagrammers are interested in a certain topic , the easiest way to find images related to that topic is by searching a related hashtag. 

Currently, Instagram posts incorporating at least one hashtag get over 12 per cent more engagement than posts that don’t utilise them. Straight away, this uptick shouts at you just how important this amazingly simple, marketing tool is.

If you are managing your car dealership Instagram account, the use of hashtags in your posts will supply you with an advantage over those who either don’t use them or those who don’t use them as well as your car dealership does.

Hashtags when used in Instagram posts, especially when using them on selling based accounts like car dealership Instagram accounts, certainly assist in  amplifying the visibility of your content and the ability for people to discover your car dealership Instagram account

#Hashtageverysinglepost

 

How many hashtags should you apply to each post?

Hashtags are certainly an effective tactic, but you don’t want to go overboard in their use. 
Instagram currently allows you to add up to thirty hashtags to each of your posts, but is this amount too great?

We recommend eight or nine relevant hashtags on each of your car dealerships Instagram posts. Many studies show that eight or nine hashtags actually result in greater engagement, attraction and sharing of your car dealerships Instagram posts. than those with 20 or 30 hashtags. 

One of the reasons you shouldn’t use too many hashtags is to keep them relevant to your car dealership content. If you are displaying a photo of a Porsche for sale, a relevant hashtag would be #carsale, #911, #Cayman, #953, for example.

Hashtags are an excellent way for people to find what they are looking for. Look at apps like Hashtagify to see if your hashtag helps people find your post when using Instagram to search for cars.

See the examples below from Hashtagify, of popular car sales hashtags on Instagram and their percentages.

#carsales 34%
#cars 14%
#carsforsale 9%
#cardealership 6%
#usedcars 6%
#autosales 5%
#carsofinstagram 5%
#car 5%
#cardealer 5%

As you can see from the hashtags above, the most popular is #carsales. It is recommended that you use a combination of the most popular automotive hashtags and some vehicle specific hashtags. This way your posts can target both car shoppers in general and car shoppers conducting research on a particular type of vehicle.

4. Captions 

Instagram captions refer to the text that goes along with your image or video content. It can have a maximum of 2,200 characters, including emojis, and 30 hashtags.

A compelling Instagram caption can generate more attraction and engagement by adding context and reflecting your car dealership brand personality. This way, your posts can get more likes and comments, one of the main components the Instagram algorithm considers, allowing your audience to see your content more often and helping you increase your number of followers.

Be creative, don't be afraid to use emojis, mention other relevant accounts using @ and for example, to ask questions to your audience. 

5. Call-To-Action

Adding a Call-To-Action to your Instagram post will help you drive more engagement, therefore every post of your dealership account should invite the viewer to take an action, whether that be to answer a question, enter into some kind of discussion.  

An excellent idea is to create a Call-To-Action that directs people to the link in your Bio. This way, you can move people to the place where business is happening; you website!

6. Respond to Answers & Comments

Creating a community of car lovers is an excellent idea for building an auto business people can trust and generate permanent, ongoing engagement.

To do this, it is essential to check the comments on your posts and respond to them. This way, you encourage conversations and discussions, which is pure gold for Instagram algorithms, and would put you at the beginning of your target audience feed.

Instagram Carousel | What is it and how your car dealership can use it 

Instagram Carousel allow you to publish a mix of 10 photos and videos in a single post. This is a great way of sharing a complete experience instead of one only snapshot and is ideal for car dealers wanting to show multiple features of a vehicle,

You can share 10 pictures and videos of a car you're offering, so people can get a full idea of the car and its features. 

auto instagram marketing - carrousel

 

 

Instagram Stories 

  • What are Instagram Stories
  • Why use Instagram Stories
  • How to make an Instagram Story
  • When should you post Instagram Stories
  • What kind of content should be posted as Stories
  • Can I use hashtags on Instagram Stories
  • How to check Instagram Stories views

 

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Instagram Stories

Why your automotive business should be on the top of it.

What Are Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories allow users to create sequential content in the form of photo or video. Like Snapchat, it disappears within 24 hours of being posted, so your audience can access them during that period. They are published separately from the content on your Instagram feed and have the power to drive high engagement, which makes them particularly efficacious for brands accounts.

 
 

How do you find Stories on Instagram?

To watch the Instagram Stories of a particular profile, press on the profile picture (as indicated). When this one has a red circle around is because you haven't seen the latest Stories of that profile. 
Instagram stories for car dealerships 1.1.1
 
 
 

Create video content to increase engagement

Do you know that videos on Instagram are a key driver to generate higher engagement on the platform (twice as much compared to image and carousel posts)?

 

 

Why Your Dealership Should Use Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories are an increasingly important channel for brands. According to Instagram, 500 million people worldwide use Instagram Stories every day, which has made Instagram Direct –private one to one messaging between users– one of the biggest messaging apps in the world. 

Additionally, 58% of people declared becoming more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories, whereas 50% say they have visited a brand website with the intention to make a purchase after seeing a product or service in an Instagram story. 

instagram stories for car dealerships 2

Stories can maximise your dealership marketing efforts on Instagram, reaching more consumer and allowing you to easily interact with your audience, by getting a particular message across in a more fun and engaging way.

How To Make An Instagram Story | Step By Step

Instagram story for auto dealership 3
 
 
 

1. Tap at the top or swipe right anywhere in Feed

 
 
2. Scroll to Story at the bottom
Instagram stories for car dealerships 4

3. Tap the rec button at the bottom of the screen to take a photo or tap and hold to record a video. To choose a photo or video from your phone's library or gallery, swipe up anywhere on the screen.

Instagram stories for car dealership (5)

4. Tap the buttons on the right top to draw, add text or a sticker to your photo or video. To remove text or a sticker, drag and drop it on  at the bottom of the screen.

Instagram stories for car dealerships (6)

5. When you're ready to share, tap Your Story in the bottom left.

Instagram stories for car dealerships (8)

When Should You Post Instagram Stories?

Stories can be posted at any time and are visible for 24 hours. Hence, it does not matter the time you post them. Remember that Stories are different from Instagram posts, prioritised by the latest algorithms and therefore, better to publish when most people are active.

What Kind Of Content Should Your Car Dealership Post On Its Stories?

Instagram Stories are an attractive feature for a wide range of content. To create attractive Stories, one of the main tools you can use is Instagram Stickers.

What are Instagram Stickers?

Instagram Stickers are dynamic graphic elements you can add to your video or photo stories. As many of them allow  users to interact with your Story, they are a great tool to create attractive and engaging content. To access Instagram Stickers just swipe up after taking or importing a picture or video.

Instagram stories for car dealerships 15

Although the options are infinite, here are some examples of what type of content you can create to maximise your car dealership's reach and engagement. 

1. Showcase New Posts of Your Feed

You can give the new posts on your feed a promotion platform by sharing them on your Instagram Stories. This way, more users can see what you posted. The pictures below show you how to do it.

 

instagram for car dealerships 13

2. Promote a Contest

Giveaways are an easy and effective way to catch your audience attention and encourage people to interact with your brand. You can create a contest that gives away; car discounts, free maintenance packages, car technology accessories and installation, car cleanings, and more. 

Additionally, organising a contest and promoting it through Instagram Stories can leverage user-generated content, ending in higher exposure for your brand. Remember that you should always include a CTA directing your viewers to the actual contest post on your Instagram feed or your website. It is always a good idea to ask people to follow you on social media and tag friends to be eligible to participate.

Instagram for dealerships 10.1
Story 1: Car wash giveaway announcement
instagram for dealerships 18
Story 2: Instructions to participate

3. Ask a Question

Asking a question through Instagram Stories is an excellent way to start a conversation with your audience. Try to ask questions that create interest and encourage their participation. Once people have answered, you can share their replies and generate more content. Instagram Stories have a specific sticker that you can use to ask a question.

Instagram for dealerships 16

 

4. Create Quizzes and Polls

Interactive stories with quizzes and polls are naturally very engaging kind of content. To create them, you can use Instagram Stories Stickers. When your followers "vote" on your quiz or poll, they'll be able to see whether they got it right and how many votes each option received. To check out your quiz/poll results, swipe up to open the viewers' list. Additionally, you can use polls to generate customer feedback, do market research or just for fun.

 
                    Quiz                                                             Instagram stories for car dealerships 14 PollInstagram stories for dealership 17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Reaction Slider 

Inserting a Reaction Slider is an excellent idea when you want to generate content interactions and therefore feed Instagram algorithm that determines how good content is and how engaged users are with it. A good alternative is to ask your audience how much they like one of your new cars in stock.

Instagram for dealerships 18

6. Countdown

Adding a Countdown Sticker to your auto dealership Stories is a way to promote competitions, sales, and announcements. When you post a countdown on IG Stories, users can set up a reminder and you as a brand can receive this data, so you know who are those most engaged users.

instagram for dalerships 18

 

7. Add Links 

You can add clickable external links to your Instagram Stories only if your account has more than 10k followers. If that is your case, we recommend you to add clear calls to action like; shop now, book a test drive, apply for finance, see more, etc.

instagram for dalerships 19instagram for dalerships 20

 

 

 

 

 

8. Try Instagram Live

Instagram Live is a feature of Instagram Stories that allows users to broadcast live videos. Lives are shown first in the Stories section, and users can get a notification when you are posting one.

Additionally, your audience can interact with you by commenting or submitting questions—a powerful way to generate reach and engagement and build relationships with your customers.

Auto instagram marketing (12)

 

How do I start a live video on Instagram?

To start your first Instagram Live select the Story option.

Auto instagram 2Auto instagram marketing (13)

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How do I start a Live Video on Instagram?

1. Select live at the bottom of the screen.

2. Choose a title your audience will see while you broadcast. 

3. Start broadcasting. 

Can I Use Hashtags On Instagram Stories?

When you create and post on Instagram Stories, the best is to get the most views you can. To add a hashtag to your Story, you can place the hashtag in a sticker and stylise it just like all text. Remember you can add up to 10 hashtags in a Story.instagram for dalerships 21

How To Check Your Instagram Stories Views

To look at how many users and who exactly saw your Instagram Story, you have to open your Story and swipe up on the screen. You will see the number and usernames of the people who had viewed it.

 

Instagram Reels

  • What is Instagram Reels
  • Why your Auto Dealership should post IG Reels
  • How to create Instagram Reels | Step by step
  • Instagram Reel example

 

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Instagram Reels for Car Dealerships

Learn how your auto business can leverage Instagram Reels

What is Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels is a new way to create entertaining videos. You can record and edit 15 to 30 second videos to share them on your Stories, the Reels tab and the Explore Feed.

On the Reels tab indicated on the left  picture below, you will see Instagram Reels that autoplay from popular and trending accounts on Instagram. 

 

instagram for auto business 3 instagram for auto business 4

 

Why your Auto Dealership Should Post Instagram Reels? 

Instagram Reels was created after the success of TikTok, which according to Adweek "generated the most downloads for every app ever in a quarter" during the three first months of 2020.

Reels, like TikTok, give users more video content creation opportunities. Users can add effects, stickers, transitions, change their videos' speed, insert music and more, which make it a great tool to create brand awareness by promoting your automotive business and cars more entertainingly.

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, since Instagram launched Reels in Brazil in November 2019, Instagram users in the country increased from 1% per month to 4,34%. Additionally, most of the NBA franchises are using Reels since it was launched in the United States, reporting 22% higher engagement than Instagram posts or Instagram Stories. In contrast, other brands like Louis Vuitton have reported more than 7 million viewers across their Reels. 

In conclusion, it might be too soon to say Reels work better than Stories or Posts. However, we recommend you to try Reels as a new way of creating exciting and compelling marketing content for your auto business.

How to create Instagram Reels? Step by Step

1. Open Reels

Start creating a Reel by opening the feature as the arrows below indicate. 

auto business marketing

2. Choose the settings

Before shooting a video, choose the settings of your Reel. You can decide if your Reel is 15 or 30 seconds, add a song from the Instagram music library and select what part of the song you want to feature. Additionally, you can speed up or slow down your video, add effects available in the Instagram effects gallery  and set up a timer for auto recording. 

auto business instagram marketing 2

3. Record your Reel

Now is time to record or add videos to your Reel. To complete this step you have two options:

 

1.A Record your
Reel video

If you decide to record a video, this works exactly as Instagram Stories, by pressing and holding the recording button.

Auto instagram marketing 3
1.B. Select footage from your phone library

If you prefer to add previous footage from your phone media library, click the little image on the left lower corner of your phone. 

Auto instagram marketing 4
2. Add your footage to your Reel

Click Add to include you footage to your Reel. Additionally you can trim your video as you wish. 

Auto instagram marketing (5)
3. Continue editing

If you click the button indicated with the green arrow you can continue editing the length of you Reel's videos. If you follow the yellow arrow you can add text and other elements. 

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3. Finish editing by adding text, GIFs or stickers

Once you finish recording or selecting the footage, you can add text, GIF or stickers (left picture below). If you want the text to appear at one specific part of your Reel, you need to set the slider to cover the part of your Reel you want the text to appear (right picture below). When your content is ready click Share To.  

 

Auto instagram marketing 5

Auto instagram marketing 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Share your post 

By clicking "Share To", you will get to the screen we show you below. Write a caption, add relevant hashtags and choose a cover. If you wish, you can enable sharing it on your feed, this way, anyone visiting your Instagram profile will quickly find you Reel along with your other content.

Auto instagram marketing (2)

 

Instagram Reel Example

Do you want to see how Reels look like? Put the sound on and click play!

Auto instagram marketing - video

 

 

Chapter  5
IGTV

  • What is IGTV
  • Why your Auto Dealership needs an IGTV series
  • How to create an IGTV channel

 

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IGTV

How your car dealership can use and leverage Instagram TV 

What is IGTV? 

IGTV –Instagram TV– is a feature of Instagram for sharing long-form videos of up to 60 minutes when you upload from the web and 15 minutes when you upload from a mobile device. You can either post vertical or horizontal footage and create an IGTV series to exhibit different topics related to your dealership brand.

Why your auto dealership needs an IGTV series?

Video content is growing as a powerful tool to attract people to your business. Users find videos more engaging and easy to recall, especially when you sell cars.  Car videos are a powerful sales medium and  can call great attention to the vehicles you have on offer, influencing buyer decisions.  The truth is, the  car buying journey today is mainly digital, with consumers making most of their purchase decisions online. By the time Aussies visit a dealership, their minds are likely made up and IGTV can help your dealership sway consumer choice. 

 

Screen Shot 2021-02-03 at 2.53.58 pm

instagram video content for dealerships

 

According to Google Insights compelling video content can effectively drive consumers to dealerships. Data shows "75% of consumers who watched an online video during their research followed up by visiting a dealer site, locating a dealer, or requesting a quote".

 

instagram dealership 2

 

The shift on the car's consumer journey makes IGTV a fantastic marketing tool. You can use IGTV to, for example, share the cars you have available for sale or create car-related content that talks to automotive lovers.

If you're creating appealing content that generates value for car enthusiasts, it will likely attract interest, resulting in higher engagement, increasing your brand exposure and awareness.

How to create an IGTV channel?

1. Select IGTV option 

To start your IGTV channel, you can simply follow the steps below; from your account profile click + on your screen's upper right side and then choose IGTV video option.

Auto instagram 2Auto instagram marketing (6)

2. Choose a cover and add a caption 

After selecting a video from your media library, choose a cover photo. You can either select a specific frame from your video or import an image from your photo library as the left image shows.

By pressing next, you will get to the screen shown on the right image. Here you can write a title and a description for your IGTV video. Be clear about what is it about. Remember that by adding a title and description you're making a promise to your audience, and the last thing you want to do is to disappoint them after they press play. 

 

Auto instagram marketing (8)Auto instagram marketing (7)

 

3. Add your video to an IGTV series

Adding your video to an IGTV series will help you organise your content in different topics. This way you can create a video series with several chapters attracting your audience to specific topics and tracking their interest. The images below show you how to create your first IGTV series. 

Auto instagram marketing 43Auto instagram marketing 44

 

Once you click on Create Your First Series it is time to name and add a description to it. Once you are ready click Create and then Post to IGTV. 

Auto instagram marketing 45Auto instagram marketing (10)

 

 

Chapter  6

Instagram Paid Ads

COMING SOON

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