CD 188 Richard Pygott iPhone_XCD 188 Richard Pygott iPhone_X

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Opinion: Let’s get social! Here’s how car dealers can build trust and engagement

Sponsored: First Response Finance digital marketer Richard Pygott gives some tips to make social media really work for new and used car dealers

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Time 7:26 am, October 29, 2023

In 2010, when I joined First Response Finance, social media advertising played a small role in most dealerships’ advertising.

However, in 2023 it’s clear that social media has evolved into one of the main ways for dealers to attract customers.

It’s not just about selling cars any more, though, it’s also about building relationships and trust, as well as engaging with potential customers.


When I first took on the role of managing First Response Finance’s Twitter (now X) and LinkedIn channels, it felt like I was navigating uncharted waters.

So I want to share some of the tips and tricks I’ve learnt over the past few years to help dealers avoid my mistakes.

A few hours into the job, I learnt that customers like it when you reply to their comments and messages as soon as possible. When I did, they were more engaged with what I was posting.


The same principle applies when a customer messages about buying a car: how fast you reply can be the deciding factor in whether they choose to buy from you or go elsewhere.

I also realised that posting regularly and in a steady manner is crucial, and it’s best to avoid posting everything at once or in quick succession, so I created a content calendar to help me plan more long term and mix up the types of content I was posting.

If anyone would like a copy of this content calendar, look me up on LinkedIn and I will be more than happy to share a copy.

Even though I had a calendar to plan what I was posting on what day, I still didn’t know what times of the day I should post.

I found research online that suggested social media users are more active during the early morning, particularly between 8am and 9am, as well as in the afternoon, from 1pm to 3pm.

I therefore scheduled my posts at the times of day that people were most active and I saw a big increase in engagement. Bear in mind, though, that some social platforms have different active times, so you’ll need to test each one.

Since First Response Finance sponsored the TCR-UK 2022 champion Chris Smiley, of Eden Car Sales, our brand awareness and engagement on our social media has improved.

I have spoken with quite a few dealerships that have had similar results by working with influencers and YouTube vloggers, most of which specialise in motor trade-related topics.

Chris Smiley of Eden Car Sales is sponsored by First Response Finance

TCR-UK 2022 champion Chris Smiley, of Eden Car Sales, is sponsored by First Response Finance

These partnerships are an excellent way of expanding your online reach and engaging with a wider audience.

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As many YouTube vloggers are eager for content, they may be open to collaboration at little or no cost, making it a budget-friendly approach, too.

I have learnt all this through experience, so if there are any areas that you would like to chat to me about, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

This column appears in the current edition of Car Dealer – issue 188 – along with news, views, reviews, features and much more! Read and download it for FREE here!

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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