What is the best social platform for selling auto parts?
Good question. The answer is: it depends.
Every business needs or expects something different from social media, based on their understanding or experiences with the various social media platforms.
Truly, which one is best depends completely upon your goals and systems. Let’s break them down based on our expertise and experience.
Facebook for Selling Auto Parts
Started in 2004, Facebook has become the most frequented social media platform in the U.S. According to Pew Research, Facebook is the third most trafficked website in the U.S. (coming in behind Google and YouTube). Other statistics of note include:
- Nearly 70% of U.S. adults use Facebook.
- Facebook is the most popular platform for individuals over 30.
- Facebook users between 30 and 64 tend to have more disposable income.
One of the drawbacks we see with some frequency among new clients is that they don’t know how to target their audience correctly, so they spend more money than they wanted or planned to spend. Those kinds of mistakes can be costly.
Automotive-Related Facebook Groups
There are numerous car groups on Facebook, but it can be tricky to use them to give your company a boost. One option is to start your own. Another is to be present in other groups, answering questions and being helpful.
The drawback here is that the larger groups tend to have a culture of group-think negativity, which can be quite difficult to overcome. They also attract hobbyists who don’t follow best practices or understand all of the factors that go into a build.
Another problem is that Facebook groups tend to be full of people who want to be helpful, but who don’t know what they don’t know, or worse, people who find validation in others doing what they’ve done (or would do). These people can cause problems for companies who don’t serve their perceptions well.
Say, for example, that you have a group dedicated to a particular model of car. There’s often no screening that members own that particular car, so the audience runs the gamut of everyone from looky-loos and fan boys to owners and professionals. If the group has 10,000 people in it, you can only count on roughly 3-5% of the group being owners. This hold true across the board–and the larger the group, the less likely you are to be able to target actual buyers. Unless it’s your own group, your best course of action is to use Facebook groups for limited education and introductions, not for sales. Facebook works best, we’ve found, for domestic performance parts or restoration parts.
Instagram for Selling Auto Parts
Instagram is second to Facebook when it comes to daily logins, but is actually more popular among automotive enthusiasts. The catch? Well, Instagram’s demographics are almost completely opposite from Facebook’s. More than half of Instagram users fall under the age of 34, which raises concerns about how much of their time and money can be used for hobbies.
Instagram has great features for automotive parts companies and shouldn’t be discounted entirely just because of its demographics. It’s perfect for automotive companies working in the import and European spaces—especially for those with active race programs.
#hashtags give users the ability to tag people and companies their posts, and are the primary search utility on Instagram. Enthusiasts love to tag the companies of any product on their car (sometimes repeatedly), which can be both a blessing and an irritation.
Hashtags, however, make Instagram is a constant competition for attention. There is a certain subset of people who think they’re going to build a car, put their Instagram name on said car, get a couple hundred followers and then get free parts from companies like yours. You’ll be solicited constantly for sponsorships, and navigating those requests—especially the denials—takes a certain level of finesse, or you risk ending up all over someone’s stories about how terribly you treated them.
Highest Demand, Highest Reward
One of the drawbacks is also a perk when it comes to Instagram: activity level. Instagram rewards those who are very active. Best practices include at least one daily post and multiple stories. Now, Instagram has rolled out “Reels,” which are short videos meant to be more engaging than the average post (and to compete with TikTok). Instagram also rewards engagement—comments and likes with your audience. It’s not enough to share other people’s shout-outs, and you should absolutely avoid lazy trends like posting memes. (For more, see our article on content creation).
YouTube for Selling Auto Parts
YouTube is not the first platform people think of when you ask about social media, but it is a social platform, and it’s one of the most active and popular. Unfortunately, the thing most people get wrong about YouTube is using it for sporadic, over-produced commercials. It takes much, much more than a great video to get traction on YouTube: it takes planning, consistency, and search engine optimization that is on point.
Getting It Right
If you are just starting out, you need to hear this: you absolutely must commit to posting high quality content at least weekly for at least a year. If you can’t, won’t or don’t want to do this, you’re not going to see the return on investment you want, and you’re better of not messing with YouTube at all.
When I do opposition research, I frequently find that even companies with excellent social media on other platforms have minimal followings and low view counts on YouTube. Why? Because those accounts and videos weren’t set up correctly from the start. (I have seen it over and over when onboarding new clients: they’ve paid media companies huge sums of money for videos that get almost no play and they’re left scratching their heads. If you take nothing else from this post, please heed my warnings and talk to someone who has had success on YouTube before you proceed forward with a YouTube campaign).
So, which social media platform is best?
The best one is the one you’ll use, and the one where your audience is hanging out. More importantly, however, you’ll want to think about how you can use them together cover more ground and build a sales plan with a solid foundation.
We’re ready to guide you through developing and implementing the right strategy for you. All it takes is one conversation. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.