Social Media in the Automotive Industry Does Facebook sell cars?

Although poor reach and the few to a dozen or so reactions or no comments at all are still a problem, the times of not promoting posts are slowly coming to an end. Active Facebook and Instagram ads are now standard for most brands. This does not yet apply to dealers, which is probably just a matter of time. 

First impression – brands invest in social media

The industry’s appreciation for the potential of social media is first of all proven by graphic content, including with indications of the authors: 

Although simple carousels still dominate among ads (their clicks still work, so even luxury brands continue to use them), but view-based ads with videos or animations are becoming increasingly popular. Even dealers are keener to use the formats preferred by the FB algorithm, which are cheaper. Ads for impressions – they build great reach and allow you to establish positive brand associations at an incredibly low cost. This is worth it in a sector where the car purchase process can take many months. Short, 15 second videos are more often becoming very aesthetic animations that utilise a number of visual effects. Moving text, reflecting the tilt degree of a car in motion – why not? 

Brands are also beginning to appreciate another format preferred by the algorithm: stories. Videos in a vertical format are still a rarity in this sector, but when they do appear, they captivate with their modern simplicity of form: 

Deliberately – increasingly well thought-out actions

Unfortunately, while dealer profiles often lack consistent communication, brand accounts are characterised by an increasingly well-thought-out content layout – including the types, formats and natures of the posts.

Many brands use # to distinguish different post cycles. From very simple ideas like #whatisinmytoyota to emphasize the car’s personal aspects:

the #TurboThursdays at Renault to assemble racing fans: 

and the very original #ShapeofAdventure – a game referring to the spirit of adventure, based on creating a Land Rover shape using elements seemingly unrelated to the vehicle: 

Activation is not only about reactions and comments. Gaining users for the website and establishing a network of leaders among them allows you to improve the brand sentiment and build the trust necessary in the purchasing processes, which are usually long. It is also an effective tool for counteracting crisis (votes of support from actual users are often more effective than a response from the brand itself).

Another positive change is the fact that brands keep their finger on the pulse and are willing to refer to trends – such as the persistent “retro” trend: 

However, the opposite futuristic trend involving the promotion of electric cars is essential. Brands compete as far as arguments go, and use the language of revolutionary change, but unfortunately their advertising formats are typical: 

Toyota decided to deviate from the standard, especially regarding the language of advertising. The introduction of colloquial, even jargon phrases is an attempt to become closer to the user and make a subconscious suggestion that the car is affordable:

Especially in a topic as important as the promotion of electric cars and hybrids, we can see the untapped potential of FB and Instagram – mainly in the context of using new formats and placement of ads.

The impact of the pandemic on the actions of brands in social media

Will the coronavirus permanently affect car sales? It is too early for conclusions – but we can be sure that brands put a lot of effort into carrying out part of the purchasing process online to ensure customer safety. Social media is a great tool for communicating these changes.

From a simple photo in the background to inform about making purchases easier during the pandemic: 

to advertising safe, independent test drives: 

or a video consultation with brand representatives: or a video consultation with brand representatives:

There are now more traffic ads, which redirect to a website featuring a financial calculator or option configuration – so that part of decision-making can be done comfortably and safely, from your couch: 

The pandemic has noticeably forced improvements in dream car configuration apps, which increasingly often use 360 technology to present custom versions of cars: 

Brand profiles emphasise sales, while dealers usually encourage inspections, tyre changes and other door-to-door services. This message is often promoted on FB. Maintenance services in the era of the pandemic is full of car sterilisation, often involving the application of film protection to the steering wheel, driver’s seat, gear lever and keys, as well as ozonation of the interior:

Will the trend of remote contact in matters related to the purchase and maintenance of a car continue? We will find out. We can already see that brands are placing a lot of effort on utilising the potential of social media as an important, and often first, contact in this model.

Do you need a social media marketing strategy?

22nd October 2020
4 min. read

Aleksandra Mazur

Copywriter/Social Media Specialist


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