Inventory shortages are a problem that dealers across the country are facing, with new models being sold before they even make their way on the lot. With little to no inventory, dealer’s are faced with the tough question of what to do with their digital marketing when there is no VIN specific advertising to be launched. Many dealers are making the WRONG decision by going dark on channels like Facebook and Instagram.

I am here to preach from the mountaintops to all dealers across the country that you should NEVER go dark on social media. When dealers turn off their social advertising, they are paving a clear road for their competition to get in front of what would have been their potential customers. Dealer’s have come too far and worked too hard to advance their digital advertising to turn it off due to an inventory shortage.

We need to circle back to what should always be the main focus of social media advertising – branding. When VIN specific retargeting strategies entered the social media advertising scene a few years ago, dealers implemented it and ran, forgetting that the foundation of social media advertising was and will always be the opportunity to brand themselves. Think about it – when you scroll through your social feeds, why are you there? To take a break from what’s going on around you. The last thing users want are car dealers shoving incentives down their throats (well, feeds).

This inventory shortage cultivates the perfect time for dealers to brand themselves to their communities. Here are some branding ideas with specific objective recommendations to get you started.

Video Explaining The Inventory Shortage

People want to know what’s happening and why there are no cars on the lot. Be the first one to address the elephant in the room to your community and make the stance as the community thought-leader for automotive. Potential customers, especially younger millennials and generation Z, appreciate this kind of outreach from brands (remember, this group of consumers don’t possess the brand loyalty their parents and grandparents have shown in the past).

Objective Recommendation - Video Views

Fixed Ops Incentive Carousels

Did we forget about your service center being the primary revenue driver for your dealership? Why is this taking a back seat on social? Use this opportunity to let your service center shine with service incentives people want and need. Just because there is no inventory doesn’t mean people don’t want to get their cars ready for the Winter months ahead. Drive this campaign to a service scheduler or service incentives landing page on your website.

Objective Recommendation - Traffic | Landing Page Views

Hiring Campaigns For Your Service Department

Did you know you can run employment ads on Facebook and Instagram? All you need to do is opt into the Employment policy and you are set! Any creative format will work for this type of ad, but video is always recommended. Optimizing for Facebook Messages will allow you to connect with potential job seekers in a personal way, allowing your dealership brand to shine through.

Objective Recommendation - Messages

Sell Us Your Car

You need inventory, right? A Sell Your Car campaign is the perfect social ad to run to get the word out to the right people that your dealership is willing to buy their car for top dollar. A custom landing page is necessary with this type of campaign so users click directly to a page filled with the information they need from you to get started.

Objective Recommendation - Messages

Custom Order / Factory Order Your Next Ride

Cars are being sold before they even get onto a dealers lot due to the outpour of custom and factory ordering. Don’t let this opportunity and uptick pass you by. Creating a video from your sales team explaining the process of factory ordering and then driving that video to a custom landing page for them to get started will guarantee engagement and interest. Potential customers will also appreciate your dealership taking the time to explain to them the process and their options (a branding win!).

Objective Recommendation - Video Views

With so many campaign options to choose from, going dark on social media should never be an option for your dealership. Don’t let the dealership down the road get in front of what should be YOUR potential customers. Use some of the campaign ideas above to get started, keep you in front of your customers, and continue to build that first-party data! If you have any questions about the campaigns discussed, the PCG Digital Team is here to assist with all your social media marketing needs.

Sarah Ciociola
Sarah Ciociola
Sarah is the Paid Media Director and the Audit Coordinator. What she loves most about her job is the creativity and collaboration that goes into her work every day. When Sarah isn’t working you can find her at the beach, trying out new restaurants, spending time with her friends and family, or going to find the best iced-coffee she can get her hands on.
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