Instagram SEO works just like your website’s SEO

Dear Instagram, we just love you. There may still be naysayers in the automotive industry that may believe that Instagram will not make any impact on their dealership’s monthly numbers, but with over one billion users and rising, plus 59% of car buyers using the app stating that posts and ads on Instagram influence their car purchase, the data says otherwise. Not only is it important for your dealership’s profile to be active on the app, but SEO practices that are applied to your dealership’s website can also be applied to your dealership’s Instagram profile. As G2.com Editor, Lauren Pope once wrote, “Think of Instagram as its own search engine.” Her article, “8 Little Known Instagram SEO Techniques for Increasing Reach” on Hubspot inspired us to take this information and apply it to the automotive industry. By using these practices, your dealership’s Instagram profile to go from just ‘being there’ to be on the top of your customers’ feed.


PRO TIP: Did you know that 80% of automotive account followers are males between the ages of 18 and 34? If you have been shifting your focus to the millennial market and haven’t been advertising on Instagram, you are definitely missing out.


STEP 1: Set-up your Instagram Business Profile (or let us handle it for you).

It is important that you create your profile as a business profile, not a personal profile. Once you have done that, all the standard set-up tasks apply including:

  1. Selecting a user name that makes sense for your dealership. (DO: @smithtoyota DON’T: @awesomecarsforsale)
  2. Pick a profile picture that represents your brand. You want your branding to be easily recognizable to your customers.
  3. Set up a Linktree link, or similar application, in your profile bio so that you can promote links back to your dealership’s website. Yes! Instagram can lead new users to your website.

STEP 2: Make sure your focus keyword is part of your username and located somewhere within your profile bio.

Let’s use the above-mentioned example again. When customers are searching within Instagram, you want to make sure that your dealership is easy to find. If you are a Toyota dealer, having Toyota in your username is going to be essential. Take a look at the example to the left. I’ve typed in Toyota and of course, the OEM profiles are at the top of the list; however, that is immediately followed by dealerships that have “Toyota” in their username.

This also means that you will need to include your focus keyword in your description. There is a limited amount of characters allowed in your profile, so you want to make sure you get straight to the point when describing your business.

Example: Smith Toyota is a dealership in Dayton, OH that puts customer service and experience at the forefront of every new car and used car sales.

STEP 3: Make sure to include secondary keywords that are also in your profile set-up and in the content that you post.

Let’s go back to the description we just looked at:
Smith Toyota is a dealership in Dayton, OH that puts customer service and experience at the forefront of every new car & used car sales.

What are the secondary keywords here? They are a dealership, Dayton, OH, customer service, new car, and used car. Each of these terms signifies the type of business, the location of the business, and the goods that will be sold. This helps Instagram’s algorithm to understand the authority of your profile – just like when you apply E.A.T. tactics to your dealership’s website.

There is still more that you can do with your secondary keywords. Keeping with the Toyota example, specific models like Corolla, Highlander, and Tundra can fall into that secondary keyword strategy. Take these keywords and turn them into hashtags.

Check out the example to the left. In the copy, Toyota of Wallingford has listed the word “Highlanders” and has made sure to include that same keyword in the hashtags below.

STEP FOUR: Test out a minimal ad budget along with applying the above-mentioned SEO methods.

Business social media accounts are a pay-to-play space and we are all well aware of this. Even the most minimal budget can help your dealership get off the ground with a new Instagram account and also build up new followers and likes. The goal when creating dealership content on Instagram is to include informative information about your business but in a visually appealing way. 

Here is a little “pro-tip” from our social team: we love showcasing the inventory of our dealers on Instagram and then mixing in specialty vehicles from their respective OEMs. This shows the customer all the possibilities of where they could be driving their vehicle, helping them daydream of the trips and adventures they might go on in that vehicle, and then a car within your inventory that meets their specific needs.

To take a deeper dive into what Instagram has to offer for your dealership, head to “Instagram Best Practices for Car Dealers” to learn more.

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