Instagram is a social media platform known for eye-catching photos and videos that generate likes, comments, and reposts. The platform is simple and straightforward for users — often used for promoting events, products, sales, and culture. Your dealership’s goal on Instagram is to ultimately make sales. So today, we’ll cover three strategies for auto dealers to sell new and used cars on Instagram: promoting sales events, posting during hours of high engagement, and nurturing leads with Instagram ads.

So, how do those figures pertain to automotive dealerships? Instagram has very close ties with Facebook Advertising, as well as the upcoming generation of vehicle purchasers. The average interaction rate for each post for companies in the automotive industry has been higher than other categories at 1.52% per post. This surpassed the average interaction rate for several industries, including Drinks, Retail, Sportswear, Fashion, Watches and Jewelry, Travel, Consumer Electronics, and Beauty.

#1 Promote sales events

If you are running specials or giveaways, definitely post them on Instagram. Also, consider running an Instagram-only promotion to show your followers some extra attention. Post pictures and videos of inventory, and gain recognition with hashtags. For example, if you have an overstock of new or used inventory, you could use hashtags like:

  • #VehicleMake
  • #VehicleModel
  • #LowMileage
  • #NewEngine
  • #ForSale
  • #UsedCarIn[NameOfYourCity]

By mentioning the name of your city in a hashtag, you’re able to engage with your community and pick up on local leads searching for a vehicle in the area. It can be tough to track conversions from Instagram since you can’t include a hyperlink to your content in an Instagram post (unless you have enough followers to use swipe-up links), but that does not mean you should shy away from promoting sales.

Customers will appreciate vehicle details in the post’s description without having to click. Be transparent and list the make, model, price, year, mileage, etc. Those who are truly interested will follow up by visiting your website, stopping by your store, or simply commenting on the Instagram post. If you’re using Instagram to sell new or used cars, be sure to include a link to your website in your bio, as we do at 9 Clouds.

How to Sell New and Used Cars on Instagram

#2 Post during peak traffic hours

Besides what you post, think of when you post.Consider peak times throughout the day to post your content. To do this, identify who your ideal target audience is for individual posts. Think of when they’re likely to check Instagram throughout the day.

For example, individuals who work during the day may check their phone in the early morning, mid-afternoon, and evening. College students may be slightly more active during late evening hours. Start by experimenting with a few time slots. Track the number of likes and comments you receive for particular time slots to find a posting strategy that works best for your dealership.

Make note of hours with the most engagement, and then build on that success for your future posts. The biggest factor in your success on Instagram can be summed up in one word: activity. You must be active on Instagram in order for leads to wanting to follow your brand and interact with your content.

Here’s a general list of when to post on Instagram:

  • Mornings from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
  • Midday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Evenings from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

On Instagram, especially with brands, it is not necessary to post photos that are just taken, as you would with an individual’s Instagram page. For automotive dealerships, they can use stock photos of their brand, vehicles, or even their showroom and staff. By using a mix of photo sources, you will have more photos to post. Subsequently, the more photos you post, the higher your visibility.

#3 Nurture leads with Instagram ads

And then there are Instagram ads. While running a successful Instagram account is a great way to build an audience of loyal enthusiasts for your brand, Instagram ads are focused on converting leads.

Integrate Instagram ads with Facebook ads to cross-promote your content on two major social networks. You can do this with the help of Facebook Business Manager. Here’s how to claim your Instagram account in Business Manager. Use Power Editor to set up your Instagram ads. Choose between photo ads, video ads, and carousel ads by considering the ultimate goal of your campaign.

Here are some examples of common objectives of Instagram ads:

  • Clicks to website
  • Website conversions
  • Mobile app installs
  • Mobile app engagement
  • Video views
  • Reach and frequency
  • Page post engagement
  • Mass awareness.

How to Sell New and Used Cars on Instagram

#4 Maintain Credibility

On the Internet, along with all the social networks, credibility is key. Users do not want to constantly see advertisements on their home feeds or explore pages. So, listening to your followers’ comments can help automotive dealerships to learn more about their target audience. A great way for automotive dealerships to maintain their credibility is to post photos that feature something other than cars.

#5 Use Hashtags

Though hashtags began on Twitter, users of Instagram made great use of them. Automotive dealerships can use photo specific hashtags to gain a higher level of probability of being visible. The current top hashtags on Instagram are: #love, #instagood, #photooftheday, #fashion, #beautiful, #happy, #tbt, #cute, #like4like, #followme. Just of these top ten hashtags, automotive dealerships can use at least eight out of the ten, depending on the style of the picture they post.

How to Sell New and Used Cars on Instagram


#6 Post Instagram Videos and Stories

What started as a 15-second video on Instagram, can now be a 60-second video. On top of that, with the release of Instagram Stories, dealerships can be even more ‘real’ with their followers. They can post videos of current special events or deals that are happening, as well as posting their advertisements on there as well. These are only a few of the tips that are sure to advance your Instagram strategy to the next level. The biggest tip that we can give you is to be present online while also show that you are real people. Users like to see relatable posts, so if you’re only posting car photos, there’s less interaction between you and your followers.