Service Providers

Social Media 101: Dealerships and the power of Instagram

Amanda White BlogSince its inception in 2010, Instagram has flourished. It reached 100 million active users by 2012 and that same year was bought by Facebook for $1 billion in cash and stock. Its popularity is no doubt due to it being free, available on both iPhone and Android mobile devices and a visual interpretation of users’ everyday activities and passions.

So what is Instagram? It is snapping a photo or 3-15 second video clip, customizing your new picture/video via filters provided and adding a small caption. Locations, handle tags, hashtags and the ability to share the photo on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr are key factors to its functionality as well.

In order to use Instagram as an effective marketing and communication platform for the dealership, you should apply these tools and tips:

Captions, Comments & #Hashtags

You should always fill out the caption area with a statement, tags and/or hashtags. The caption should be a concise statement or question that relates to the picture. Always try to use up to seven hashtags in the caption. Hashtags are critical identifiers that are applied to increase niche exposure. See last month’s Social Media 101 blog to get the scoop on tagging. These tags will help niche markets find the picture, increasing likes, comments and shares among web users. If the post is already loaded with no or little caption, then add hashtags and critical information as comments.

Artsy & Creative

Instagram grants the ability to be creative without expensive equipment and a photography education. How? Instagram provides filters that customize the aesthetic of any photo taken. You can convey a tone through a photo. For example, use a dramatic filter like X Pro II, Sierra or Willow for a grand opening or new vehicle release to manipulate the way people will feel when looking at your photos. Third party, photo customizing tools, Pic Stich, Diptic and Pic Collage, are free apps that allow you to create collages. Create free memes with meme generator and use Pixlr, a free photo editing tool, for customizing pictures.

Organization and Measuring Results

How can your dealership track your Instagram picture of the new model you posted? How many followers have been added between now and October? There are free metric tools available that are specifically designed to measure and organize Instagram activity. Followgram and Iconosquare, are popular tools which both generate statistics, organize photos and create codes to embed and track popularity.


When your dealership creates Instagram content, please incorporate these central themes: events, customers, staff and product. These core concepts help a dealership’s story thrive and grow. Instagram is about connecting with niche markets, not blasting them with advertisements. For example, during demo days take a picture of a small child “riding” an ATV or a close up of a person’s hand feeling the leather of a seat of a motorcycle. Add the human element, and capture the essence of freedom, fun and adventure that your products can provide an individual, couple or family.

Instagram allows dealerships to say a thousand words in one post. Take advantage of this medium because of its user friendly platform, fun filters and effective way to connect with your target audience. You dealership has photo opportunities every day. Share snapshots of a day-in-a-life at a dealership: a happy new customer, showroom renovations or charity-sponsored event. Instagram is a phenomenal medium for telling your dealership’s stories.


Amanda White is account manager for PowerSports Network.


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