Instagram is a fantastic way to reach your ideal customer simply by showcasing the inventory that you have on the lot through images. Get your online shoppers excited about making a trip into the dealership showroom by showing them the possibilities of their purchase before they ever set foot through the door.

Our Director of Dealer Strategy, Christine Plunkett, will give you the breakdown of how to set up your dealership’s Instagram account in 10 quick and painless steps. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Create an Instagram page for your dealership by downloading the Instagram app on your phone. Follow the prompts in the app to set up your page. If you have a Facebook account, you can use the same login info and link the accounts.

Step 2: By default, you start with a personal Instagram profile – to use Instagram for business you must follow the prompts to link your Instagram to your Facebook business page. Some of your business’s information will auto-populate on Instagram. Manually fill in any missing information about your dealership like address, phone numbers, email address, etc.

Step 3: Take the time to write a robust and compelling About Us description for your dealership. Talk about the unique benefits of doing business with your dealership. Use relevant hashtags in the description like “#toyota” and  “#toyotadealer”. Add a profile picture and a link to your dealership’s website.

Step 4: Invite your existing Facebook friends to “like” your Instagram page. In the settings menu select, “Invite Facebook friends.” Then ask your team to do the same.

Step 5: Add photos to your Instagram gallery. Unlike Facebook, Instagram is a primarily image-based network. This means the “meat” of your post should be the image, not the description. Keep your text short and focus on quality imagery to draw in users.

The last 5 Steps are 5 examples of excellent content for car dealers to post on Instagram!

Step 6: Action shots of your vehicles “in the wild” are an excellent way to help onlookers visualize ownership. Post images of a TRD Off-Road equipped 4-Runner scaling rocky terrain, or a Jeep Wrangler parked by a campground lake. For more pedestrian vehicles simple road trip images or lifestyle glimpses will accomplish the same goal.  “Here’s what your life would be like if you owned this car!”

Step 7: Attend car shows regularly and highlight the models on your Instagram business page.  This includes new models you would find at the New York International Auto Show as well as classic cars you might find during a weekend Cars and Coffee event in your town. Bonus points for engaging the cars’ owners and capturing a quote and picture with the driver. Feature them on your page and you’ll have a follower for life!

Step 8: Post photos and videos highlighting the performance and features of the new vehicles you sell. For lower funnel intenders, they will gravitate towards a page that helps them better understand the vehicles they are researching.  Got minivans? Show off the safety features.  Got hot rods? Demonstrate the powerful engine. Don’t be “sales-y”, just educational and informative.

Step 9: Give back to your local community by featuring other local businesses, charities, community events, etc. If the Dixie Classic Fair is in town, post about it and give away a few tickets. Highlight adoptable kittens at the local SPCA. Feature the dates and times of a Red Cross Blood Drive.  Whatever you do, make sure to use your platform to support your community. Use the hashtag #SupportLocal

Step 10: Speaking of hashtags… USE THEM.  Hashtags operate as the organic directory of Instagram, a way to categorize content for easier searchability. When you label your post with a hashtag, the content becomes easier to find for individuals interested in that specific theme or type of content. There are apps available to help you generate popular tags outside the ones you may have considered like #love #instagood #photooftheday #happy – using a few of these more generic tags will boost your posts’ reach. You can use up to 30 hashtags per post, just be sure they are all relevant to the image with which they are associated.