Social media has become an economic powerhouse in its own right. Aside from having a website, it is becoming an expectation for successful businesses to have some sort of social media presence. While this might seem like a peculiar consumer expectation, social media can boost your business in a variety of ways, from attracting new customers to generating its own revenue through creating content and fostering beneficial collaborative partnerships with other businesses and influencers.

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms out there and boasts a variety of tools and plugins for businesses to make the most of it. Here are a few quick tips on how you can use this platform to give your dealership the extra boost it needs to compete in the 21st century.

Show Off Your Business

This one is the most obvious but sometimes it needs to be spelled out in case it is too obvious. Instagram as a platform is focused on images and videos so it is the perfect place to show off your business. But slapping up some random photos of your lot and the inside of the dealership is not enough to grab attention. These pictures and videos should be high quality, from great angles to attractive subject matter.

For instance, instead of just taking a picture of your lot, try to get good angles of the lines of vehicles with sun glinting off the clean windshields. This could also encourage you to organize your lot in attractive ways, either organizing your vehicles by color or manufacturer. If you have a drone, taking aerial photos with cars in interesting positions or with time lapses across the seasons or times of day could also be interesting. Get artistic — or hire someone who is. While it might seem silly, take a few minutes and search for different car or vehicle photos and videos on Instagram and you will find plenty of car enthusiasts showing off. There is no shortage of aesthetic photography nor any demand for it drying up.

People love looking at shiny, attractive, or delicious things that speak to their interests. Keep that in mind and the followers will start cropping up.

Interact With Potential Customers

One of the great things about social media is its ability to connect people and businesses on a large scale. Moreover, with a great social media strategy and someone to manage your accounts, it gives businesses opportunities to meaningfully engage with potential customers. Beyond responses to reviews, your business can use Instagram to connect with popular influencers in your sphere. For example, if your dealership sells boats, finding and interacting with boating enthusiasts, marinas, and luxury influencers can help you spread your own reach.

Commenting on other pages and liking posts while engaging in meaningful conversations will also attract attention while encouraging curious observers to check out your own profile. In turn, they might also engage your own content, asking questions or sharing it among their friends if it is particularly funny, entertaining, or insightful.

Answer Questions and Provide Useful Content

In that same vein as the point above, you can use your content to answer questions and explain to your followers what your business does, what your mission is, and what you are passionate about. If you own a car dealership, you can provide tips about how to maintain and clean vehicles or teach basic skills like changing oil or tires. If your dealership also takes care of detailing, you can talk about the history of the specific car make and model with a voiceover on top of footage cleaning the car. This is especially interesting if your dealership specializes in antique or collector cars.

You can get inspiration by checking competitor pages or your own customer service department. Wherever there are plenty of customer questions that are either repeated or answered poorly, these are all opportunities to flex your knowledge and build your legitimacy as a brand worth listening to and following. 

Create Collaborative Partnerships with Other Businesses

As you build your content’s value and attract more people to your page, the profile itself gains more value to those who want to work with you. There are plenty of individuals who become influencers in a given niche because they have attracted a large following of people in a specific market. Businesses then turn around and ask influencers to talk about their product in exchange for an affiliate marketing deal, hoping to convert their followers into customers. While you could partner with influencers to boost your brand, by creating your own lucrative following, other brands that complement yours might begin offering affiliate marketing with your page.

If you are a car dealership, for example, and you have instructionals on car washing, companies that sell car washing supplies might be interested in reaching out and having you review or mention their products in exchange for some sort of marketing fee. You could also come up with collaborative content with other influencers, letting popular local ones in a niche you are trying to target try to test drive your vehicles. This is especially interesting if your vehicles are unique, either top-of-the-line luxury cars or collector vehicles.

Beyond direct money-making opportunities, these kinds of collaborative partnerships let you share audiences with other profiles and provide everyone with something they want: you and your partners with more traffic and sales, your customers with your products, and your followers (who might not be customers themselves) with interesting content.

Create Sales Funnels to Your Website or Phone Numbers

Instagram’s business accounts can also become direct sales funnels to your business. Instead of creating value through your content, this content can be used as advertisement that directs traffic to your websites or some sort of contact form — either email or phone numbers. This is also great if you have a local following and want to broadcast deals and sales or any updates on inventory. Of course, this remains true if you can sell online as well (in case the case of home appliance or furniture retailers).

Even if a post’s intention is to function as an advertisement, it is still important to make those ads attention-grabbing, aesthetically pleasing, and with a clear, concise value proposition. Because of Instagram’s sheer size and scope, there is plenty of “sponsored content” that is little more than spam; you do not want your ads to be written off as low quality that, in turn, repel potential buyers.

Collect Traffic Analytics to Better Target Your Marketing Campaigns

One of the best tools Instagram and other social media platforms has to offer is its traffic analytics. While all these numbers might seem daunting to the untrained eye, the biggest factors to consider are engagement in the form of views (attraction) and follows (retention). What hashtags seem to perform the best among your followers? What about the kinds of content — from videos to photos or the subject matter in them? While you do not have access to competitor analytics, likes and views are sometimes public to anyone; make note of what seems to be working for them too.

Once you have this raw data, try to find patterns. Are there repeat questions in the comments to something you have not answered? Was this question answered but just not as visible as it should be? Was there a certain post that drastically outperformed others — and why?

Even if Instagram might not be your main platform or focus, you can still apply these analytics to other areas of your business that serve the same market segment. For instance, you could create a blog to better answer customer questions in written form as opposed to short blurbs served in images. These blog posts could then help boost your website through search engine optimization across the Internet, not just through Instagram, all while still attracting the same kinds of people.

At the end of the day, social media is an increasingly important part of commerce and communication. From education to entertainment, it provides plenty of opportunities for businesses to build their brand following while maximizing their sales. All that is left is just putting yourself out there and get started. Even if you decide not to, nothing is stopping your competition for making use of this valuable tool. So what are you waiting for?