Social media has been a hot topic of discussion for car dealers even before Facebook overtook MySpace. There are plenty of gurus, vendors, experts, and in-store personnel who have different opinions on the topic of posting inventory. To us, the answer is very clear.
Studies show that people do not go to social media to search for vehicles, which is the primary reason that many believe it's not a good idea to post inventory there. The reasoning is sound, but there's an important flaw in many of these studies. They will ask if people go to social media to search for vehicles. They don't, just as people don't go to television or turn on their radio to search for vehicles, either. That doesn't make it any less valid.
Here are three reasons that we believe dealers should post their vehicles on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Not everyone will agree, and that's the wonderful part of social media. Nobody has a definitive answer. They only know what has worked and what hasn't worked for them. For many of our clients, posting inventory to social media works for the following reasons. These are simply opinions and we respect everyone's stance on the issue.
It is still very popular for some dealers and vendors to post content that doesn't necessarily apply to a dealership's core business. The idea is that by posting content that has an opportunity to be appreciated by the masses, that they will become more popular and visible.
We have found that the decline of organic reach has put a damper on this strategy, particularly on Facebook. We position our dealers with content that is relevant to the dealership and the automotive industry. Inventory is very relevant and people expect to see car dealers posting their cars just as they expect to see the Sears Facebook page posting information about their merchandise.
This is the most controversial of the reasons. Depending on which SEO expert you ask, they will usually either dismiss social signals based upon information given by Google or they'll embrace social signals based upon their experiences or studies by other SEO experts.
We are not SEO experts, but we have discussed the idea of posting inventory on social media and the potential benefits. Even those who were skeptical of the practice said that it definitely wouldn't hurt. Those who believe in social signals for organic search rankings tell us that it's a great idea as long as it's not overdone.
The people who are seeing your social media pages and profiles often do so because posts appear in their feed. Others visit the pages directly from links of the dealership's website or from search engines since many social media sites rank well for the dealership's name.
Is posting inventory going to generate a tangible bump in traffic, leads, and sales? No. Will it have a chance of doing so? Yes. As with all of our tools, it all comes down to time spent and since we believe that social media is important without being something that demands a ton of time, we believe that inventory is a great way to make the pages productive without being a hassle.
They might not be going to social media sites to search for cars, but if they're in the market and they end up seeing it, there's a chance that they will click and inquire.
As we posted on our blog, we believe that there are strategies dealers can implement to do even more with social media, but doing so requires a greater investment of time and energy. By keeping it simple, relevant, and effective, we know that an alternative to the big investment is to keep your presence strong through good content and the occasional inventory post.