Oh, the times; they are a’changing! Like every other type of business, automotive dealerships have been forced to adapt their old ways of doing things to the reality of the coronavirus pandemic. How do you seal a deal with a handshake when you’re social distancing? Does an elbow bump count? And how do you do a test drive with a salesman in the vehicle and maintain that 6-foot distance in a subcompact?
Obviously, you can’t. So, how are you going to adjust, adapt, and overcome the challenges of lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, and social distancing? How are you going to keep up your sales (and keep your dealership solvent) through the next months or years until a vaccine is released and masks are no longer critical fashion accessories?
As the country has adjusted to the “new normal” of isolating and working from home, internet usage has skyrocketed. Not surprisingly, online car sales have been part of that increase. In a May 7th interview on CNBC, Michia Rohrssen, CEO of Prodigy stated that sales through Prodigy had increased 92% in the preceding 4 weeks. While car sales overall have fallen dramatically, those dealerships that have embraced online methods are doing significantly better than those that haven’t.
Social media has been one obvious way dealerships have been able to quickly adapt to the coronavirus pandemic. Most dealerships already had a social presence, so ramping this up has been an obvious first step. Of course, for some, this hasn’t been much of a change at all. Many salespeople already routinely use social media heavily, so they’ve just added a mask.
Short Instagram videos like this one are easy to make (this one began as a static picture, then the “FOLLOW” Call To Action was added) and have the motion to catch the eye and draw attention to them. They also encourage the person in the video to share them, which is free advertising for both the dealership and salesman.
Another way to use social media video is to quickly show off special deals or incentives, like this 6-second gem:
Watch on Facebook: Free Delivery Up To 200 Miles!
This dealership is not only making people aware of their “free delivery within 200 miles” offer but by showing a smartphone scrolling through their inventory, they are encouraging people to shop their inventory from their phones without directly saying anything about it. Subtle, but effective.
Other dealerships have posted their “regular” commercials on their social media platforms, which was a good practice even before the lockdowns began. This particular dealership is getting extra exposure for their broadcast commercial touting their shift to online sales by posting it to Facebook:
Watch on Facebook: Shop us online at… JIMBURKE.COM
Many dealerships use social videos to post brief videos of new or featured inventory, like this smartphone-shot walkaround of a 2019 GMC DENALI 3500 4X4 with 20k miles:
Watch on Facebook: 2019 GMC DENALI 3500 4X4 with 20k miles
This video was obviously shot and posted in a couple of minutes, using nothing more than someone’s phone. No extra gear, no fancy editing, no nothing. It won’t win any Oscars, but it does show off the Denali to interested buyers.
Finally, there is another source of social videos that many dealerships are neglecting, and that is the cross-posting of local news stories that feature the dealership. Most stations are hungry for content, and if your dealership is doing something even slightly interesting or newsworthy it’s worth reaching out to them. This dealership was featured on the evening news in a segment talking about how they had adjusted to the pandemic:
Since many stations post these clips on their own social media and/or web pages, it’s an easy task to “Like—Follow—Share” them to your own page(s). Make sure everyone on your team knows to “Like—Follow—Share” these videos and don’t forget to tag your team members who appear. Their mothers will enjoy that. And, since this benefits both the station and the dealership, few if any news organizations will object to your sharing.
Regardless of how you use video on your social media platforms, CarDog’s ability to set up multiple forms of targeted messaging to your customers gives you more options than just hoping customers see your social feeds. By putting a link to the video into an SMS/MMS message or email, or sending the video directly, CarDog lets you get the maximum possible exposure from your social videos. Even during a pandemic, CarDog’s enterprise-level tools can help your dealership grow!