Want to Use Stories to Sell More? Start Here.

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In a recent study performed by Cox Automotive, it was determined that the average car buyer spends 13 hours and 55 minutes researching a vehicle purchase. And that 61% of that average time (equivalent to about 8.5 hours) is spent online.

Today, that time is split between time spent on dealer sites like yours, OEM sites and 3rd party consumer review sites. No surprise there, but an increasing amount of time spent is now being attributed to the review of social media content, especially among the millennial and emerging Gen-Z markets.

Yes, your Google My Business is the cornerstone of any automotive SEO strategy and it needs to be optimized for search. And, of course your website is important, and needs to be populated with fresh content, properly configured to deliver a superior user experience. But a savvy social media strategy is required to connect with your growth markets — after all, that’s where those consumers are. Fortunately, your dealership’s social media profiles provide an ideal opportunity for you to make immeasurable impact with minimal resources.

Let’s talk Stories.

Instagram. Facebook. Snapchat. And now LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter. They all offer Stories features that allow users to create timely engaging content, that disappears within 24 hours, allowing you to replace it with more timely and engaging content. It’s more than a trend, and with Stories overtaking traditional Posts in popularity, they are now considered a critical content format for any business. But what are the primary goals of Stories? How effective are they? What makes one Story more effective than another? How often should you post? And how can you gauge the effectiveness of your dealership’s Stories?

Let’s answer those questions – but first…
When we talk about a Stories post, we’re talking about a single-frame post. Time limits for these posts differ based on the platform. Facebook gives you up to 20 seconds. On Instagram, you get 15 seconds. Snapchat cuts you off at 10. Then, LinkedIn gives you 20 seconds, Pinterest offers a whole minute, and Twitter maxes out at 2 minutes 20 seconds.

1. Link Clicks
The primary goal of the Stories feature is two-fold. Yes, the content should be designed to create natural, organic engagement but – in a marketing capacity – it’s all about those link clicks. Driving traffic to your site, a specific landing page or piece of content can be a valuable means of driving new traffic your way.

2. Choose Video
While there’s nothing wrong with static images, the simple truth is that video outperforms photos when it comes to Stories. It’s a pretty even split between the two, with videos making up about 52% of posts, but a recent study of over 661K Stories and 64K Stories Ads determined that Video content have a much higher click through rate and drives significantly higher engagement, in terms of comments.

3. 5x Rule
While stories range from single-frame to multi-frame, the general rule of thumb for any business is to publish 5 stories per day, minimum. Following the 5x Rule has been shown to increase retention rate by 70%, ensuring a greater likelihood will flip through your stories all the way until the end. Which brings us to…

4. Retention
On average, how many stories do you think a visitor will click through before deciding to exit? Well, on average, you have up to 3 chances to capture their attention, and it’s not all about the content itself. It’s all the reason you need to explore some of the retention aids built into the Stories feature. The ability to include music, Q&A’s, Polls and a variety of other engaging components only serve to aid in visitor retention. In other words, if your visitors are cutting out, it’s time to up your game. And if they’re sticking5777 around for your 4th or 5th story, or beyond, pay attention to what you’re doing to create that interest. You might be on to something.

5. Consistency & Quality
Remember, the size of your audience will impact your viewership and retention. Not every dealership if going to break the 10,000 follower mark and, if you have a relatively small following, it make take more work to build and maintain and audience. The key is consistency of posting, and a commitment to quality content with engagement being your ultimate goal.

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