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When Instagram decided to block Twitter from being able to post the images directly onto the platform, we all knew it was a matter of time that Twitter would have its own variation. We didn't realize that it would only take a few days. We also didn't expect it to be such a useful portion of the app.
As it turned out, the app is very strong, possibly even better than Instagram in UI. Granted, it's not a true replacement for Instagram, but with a little manual effort it can actually be used to generate interesting content directly from the lot onto all of your social media pages and profiles.
If I have one complaint about what Twitter has done with their photo filtering tool, it's that it's only available through their mobile apps. It would have been nice and a great differentiator between the app and Instagram, but it will suffice.
When you take a picture of something at the dealership with your smartphone, you can then bring it into Twitter. There is a cropping tool, an auto-fix button, and the filters that many are familiar with if they've used Instagram. Adjust the image appropriately and it's ready to post.
Now, just come up with a clever Tweet to go with it and you're ready to go. If you're using a picture that you've already taken with your smartphone, no problem. Twitter allows you to either take an image at that point or insert an image already in a gallery on your phone.
Depending on your smartphone, you may face challenges if you're trying to import an image from your computer. You can always use syncing software, connect your phone directly to your computer, or just upload the picture to an image sharing site like Imgur and then download it to your phone.
Now that you have it on Twitter, it's time to upload the image to Facebook, Google+, and anywhere else you might have a strong social account such as Pinterest, Tumblr, and even Instagram itself.
When posting to Facebook and Google+, you'll want to add the image, THEN add the link to the Tweet itself. When you add an image, it prevents the link from expanding. This is important because links do not do as well on Facebook or Google+ as images. Still, you want the link to the original Twitter post for a couple of reasons, most importantly to get some exposure to your Twitter account for some cross-channel promotions.
There are easier ways to post to the various social media sites. This is a very manual effort and may discourage dealers from doing it like this. Everything listed above is done so for a reason.
Twitter is one of the most under-utilized tools for dealers. Utilizing the filters and linking to the Tweets from your other social networks allows you to highlight your Twitter account and draw in other followers. Used right, Twitter can be a tremendous marketing and communication tool, but that's for another blog post.
The other reason to do it like rather than posting directly to Facebook from Instagram is because of exposure. As cool as Instagram can be, it presents challenges in your Facebook timeline. If you're posting more than one image in a 24-hour period, Instagram photos get "batched" into an album. Neither this album nor the individual images can be liked, commented on, or shared directly from your news feed. People will have to click through to the image to be able to interact with it, and most won't. They'll just pass it right by.
Also, Instagram doesn't post directly to Google+ or Pinterest anyway, so you'll be adding them manually either way. Posting it like I detailed above to all of your social profiles takes about 2 minutes and expands the potential reach greatly.
Lastly, people recognize the filters from Instagram. It makes images look more real. It makes them look authentic. These are your images and people appreciate images that you took more than images you found on the internet. While the Twitter filters aren't exactly like the Instagram filters, they're still pretty darn cool.
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Social media is about authenticity. If you're making the effort to take images at your dealership, you should be taking the time to separate yourself from the competition by positioning the photos in the best possible light. This process, long (2 minutes) as it is, will give you an edge over your competitors and will let your customers know that there are real people behind the profiles.