How car dealers are leveraging TikTok to drive sales [+8 tips for success]

How car dealers are leveraging TikTok to drive sales [+8 tips for success]

As social media platforms continue to evolve and gain popularity, businesses are constantly looking for new ways to engage with customers and build their brands. One platform that has emerged as a potential opportunity for car dealerships is TikTok, the short-form video app that has taken the world by storm.

While TikTok has traditionally been associated with younger audiences and more lighthearted content, some car dealerships are finding success by leveraging the platform to showcase their inventory, build their brand, and connect with potential customers.

One example of an automotive retail professional succeeding on TikTok is Jesse Cannon-Wallace, a salesperson at Mercedes Benz of Atlanta Northeast, who has garnered over 121,000 followers and almost 6.5 million likes under her handle @benzblogger.

Speaking to Digiday, Cannon-Wallace said, “I find TikTok is actually bringing me new sales faster than any of the other platforms. I immediately noticed as my platform grew, I was getting more appointments and getting more clients coming to buy cars.”

Cannon-Wallace has also leveraged her TikTok notoriety to create a popular blog, grow to over 50,000 Instagram followers, and amass over 8,000 Youtube subscribers.

Another dealership getting serious attention on TikTok is Bakersfield Hyundai in Bakersfield, California. Going by the handle @bakersfieldhyundai661, the dealership has gained a following of over 56,000 users and 3.7 million likes on the platform by creating fun and engaging videos that primarily showcase its staff discussing car culture and lifestyle trends.

Likewise, Audi Milwaukee (@audimilwaukee), Wisconsin’s number-one Audi dealer for five years in a row, keeps growing its audience on TikTok. The store now boasts over 87,000 followers and 2.8 million likes. When we last spoke to AJ Harb, Audi Milwaukee’s General Manager and social media manager Matt Abramczyk, one of the dealership’s videos had just gone viral, gaining over 8 million views in 2021. Abramczyk made a point to emphasize the low cost of marketing on TikTok and the potential for outrageous organic viewership. 

For car dealerships trying to engage with customers, TikTok might not be the first platform that comes to mind. Still, it has a number of distinct advantages over more traditional marketing platforms. A well-made video has the potential to go viral and reach a considerably larger audience than it would on other platforms. TikTok’s algorithm is designed to prioritize engaging and enjoyable content for viewers. 

Additionally, TikTok is ideal for visually compelling content like cars. By using TikTok to showcase their inventory and highlight the unique features of their vehicles, dealerships can create content that is entertaining and informative for potential customers.

Perhaps most importantly, TikTok offers a way for car dealerships to connect with younger customers who may not be reached through more traditional advertising channels. By creating content that resonates with younger audiences and reflects their values and interests, dealerships can build relationships with potential customers that may last for years to come.

Infographic by Anna del Villar for CBT News

Of course, like any marketing channel, success on TikTok is not guaranteed, and dealerships that want to succeed on the platform need to be thoughtful and strategic in their approach.

Here are some tips for success on TikTok:

  1. Find your audience and build an engaged community: Understand the interests and values of your target audience, and create content that speaks to them. The #CarTok community currently has over 44 billion views alone.
  2. Post consistently and as often as possible: TikTok videos should be short and to the point, with a maximum length of 60 seconds. Check out this free social media content calendar template from Hootsuite.
  3. Make your brand more discoverable: Incorporate trending sounds, hashtags, captions, effects, and topics into your videos to increase visibility and reach a wider audience. 
  4. Be genuineTikTok users value authenticity, so be sincere in your content and don’t be afraid to show your personality and quirks.
  5. Entertainment vs. selling: Content variety is essential for product promotion.
  6. Engage with your followers: Respond to comments and messages from your followers, and incorporate user-generated content into your videos to build community and engagement.
  7. Collaborate with other creators: Boost your brand awareness by partnering with other creators in your industry that can help you reach new audiences.
  8. Monitor your analytics: Keep track of your video views, engagement rates, and follower growth to understand what is working and adjust your strategy accordingly. (We love Sprout Social)