TikTok Can Work for Your Dealership, But There’s a Catch…

by | Jul 26, 2022

TikTok now has over 1 billion monthly active users. Not to mention, they have the highest engagement rate per post over any other social platform. This has opened many doors for businesses to tap into a new market and build their brand. 

Dealerships like Stingray Chevrolet, Loudon Ford, and more have amassed thousands of followers, millions of views, and a new market of consumers for their stores. You may be wondering: “How can I get in on this?”

TikTok can work for your dealership, but there’s a catch. There are 3 must-haves for succeeding on the app, and we’ll lay them out for you! 

1. Must-Have: An In-House Person To Create The Content

The content you make needs to be 100% filmed and edited on a smartphone to give the native, organic feel of the app. In addition, you need to be consistent to succeed, so posting once a month will get you nowhere. It would be best to have someone on-site who can post a few times a week. Sales staff can be good candidates for this responsibility, as many younger employees have social media presence and may already know how to use the app. If you don’t have someone that meets these criteria, there are many resources from TikTok For Business that can teach you the basics. 

You don’t want to use things like TV spots on this platform. This is another reason it’s imperative to have a person on-site who can make fresh content on a consistent basis for you. TikTok is about showing your human side and WHO you are as a brand, which means straying away from making things feel like an advertisement or having a widescreen commercial. On this platform, all videos should be vertical. Again, you can learn more about this through the TikTok For Business site. 

 2. Must-Have: A Personality Or Branded Character To Act As The Face

Your content should consistently show a familiar face. It’s perfectly fine to feature other people now and then, but having one consistent person in all of your video thumbnails helps with brand recall and establishing your persona. However, you need to be wise about how you portray this character.

As we mentioned, TV spots don’t work for this app. Not only because it isn’t native to the platform, but because it feels too much like an ad. So this means when you are using your branded character, use them for funny trends, talking about a cool car in a casual manner, etc. You don’t want them to use the same aggressive selling tactic TV spots typically have. For example, instead of discussing MSRP discounts, have them sit in a car and use some features, like jamming out to a song with Apple CarPlay or opening the sunroof and joyriding. It’s less aggressive but still creates interest in the inventory you have. 

When picking a dedicated person, we recommend someone with a fun personality, and even better, someone who has been around the dealership for a long time and will continue to be. This minimizes the risk of having to start over if the person you pick happens to leave the company. 

An alternative route is using a mascot, if your dealership has one, or creating a costume that anyone can wear to keep up the brand image. Take, for example, the Duo Lingo bird. Their entire page is built around a person wearing a bird suit. Or, for a dealership example, Kyle Chapman Motors and their camel mascot could work perfectly. 

3. Must-Have: A Strategy For Your Brand

TikTok has a wide range of trends, like dances, singing, etc., and many businesses try to go in and do them all in hopes of going viral. This is where many fall on their faces. I cannot stress this enough: YOU NEED TO HAVE A PLAN for what you want your brand’s voice to be. Being fun and different is good, but you must understand where to draw the line at what fits your brand. For example, doing a dance trend as a dealership can come off as weird and a bit TOO random. The best way to understand what’s appropriate and what isn’t is to search other dealerships on the app and see which ones are the most popular. Look at what they’re doing and get inspired. 

Another excellent resource for building your strategy is utilizing the TikTok Creator Portal. Here, you can learn the community guidelines, view examples of content strategy from other pages, and stay up to date on product feature updates. After understanding these things, you’ll be well-equipped to pick up the camera and start recording! 

These are the core building blocks of making your dealership work on TikTok. 

Ready to take it to the next level or just want some free advice on how to get your TikTok account off the ground? Click here.