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How do car dealers decide what time and effort to invest in social media? And is it worth it?

Time 11 months ago

Working out what time an effort to invest in social media when you’re running a busy car dealership is often hard.

Is it worth tweeting and posting pictures or comments on the likes of Facebook and Instagram, or will it all come to nothing?

In the second part of our Car Dealer Problem Solver series, we chat about some good examples of dealers using social media to their advantage to sell more cars.


Ali May-Khalil, boss of automotive consultants Sentience Automotive Solutions, chats about some prime examples of dealers using social media properly in our exclusive video above.

He says that lots of car dealers don’t invest in social media because time and resources are a challenge.

‘Dealers should care about social media because it has to form part of a sales and marketing strategy now,’ he said.

‘Advertising on classified websites shouldn’t be the only way they pull leads into the business, because there’s a challenge there on margin. 


‘The cars are going up against all the others and it is a price orientated aimed at those looking at buying a car. Social media can talk to passive customers.’

Increase stock

Dealers can use social media to target stock – and May-Khalil explains how one dealer had huge success with a promotional campaign on Facebook to buy cars.

‘A client of ours in Norfolk ran a we want your car campaign and spent £300 on paid ads,’ explains May-Khalil.

‘They outsourced this and boosted the campaigns and bought 13 cars – they sold nine of those in October at an average gross profit of £1,123!

‘The campaign they created was targeted specifically at the post codes where the cars they wanted to buy were likely to be using SMMT data.

‘They created content that spoke to the person. They said they wanted under four years old, under 70,000 miles and listed the cars – they said they’d then pay over market value for them and same day clearance of funds.’

A strategy like that clearly works.

Change your view

May-Khalil says that dealers need to change the way they view social media as it’s not simply about selling cars.

He explains if dealers are expecting to ‘tweet a few pictures of cars and start selling, they’re looking at it all wrong’.

Which platforms they choose to use are also important, he says. Twitter and LinkedIn don’t get the same results as Facebook and Instagram, so he advises you to ‘pick your channels carefully’.

‘Around 70 per cent of the content dealers produce for social media should be about branding and letting customers get to know your business,’ he said.

‘People will learn to trust you this way. The other 30 per cent should be salesy – offers for your workshop, finance deals and things like that.’

Who does it?

Deciding whether to outsource social media can be a big decision, but can pay off, he says.

The Sentience boss explains that clients he works with saw an average cost of £13 per lead generated by social media for a test drive or showroom visit last month.

He says that is great value and can make it very worthwhile investing in someone to do it for you – either in house or giving it to someone in the business.

In our exclusive video he gives his top tips for dealers using social media which include:

Understand you have two showrooms

Your physical showroom is closed for two thirds of the day and your digital showroom is always open – is your digital one open and able to sell your cars while you are asleep? Use social media to drive traffic to that digital showroom and make sure you’re posting on those channels a minimum of five times a week. 


Be authentic and real

Social media posts should not be all about sales – ‘no one cares’, says May-Khalil. Mixing up your content to show the people behind the business and give you some personality online is vital. Split your content 70/30 – 70 per cent should be content that doesn’t sell anything.

Manage your enquiries

Think about who is going to handle your enquiries when you get them on social media. If you outsource it, those companies will make sure your customers get responded to when they message even if that is at 10pm. ‘People want that now,’ added May-Khalil. 

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You can watch the full episode of Car Dealer Problem Solvers by clicking on the video at the top of this page.

If you have a topic you’d like us to cover, click here and use the contact us form to get in touch.

For more information on Sentience Automotive Solutions click here or call 0800 118 2810.

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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