This is a transcript of MM Podcast Episode 013: Using Pinterest To Effectively Market Your Cars with Amanda Ryan.
Ashley: Welcome to episode 13 of the Motorcar Marketing Podcast, in this episode’s main segment I’m going to be talking with Amanda Ryan from WikiMotive, she’s a social media marketing expert with years of experience helping car dealers to use social media. I recently read an article she wrote on Pinterest for car dealers, I don’t know very much about Pinterest, so I asked her to come on the podcast and try to help me understand how car dealers can use Pinterest in their overall social media marketing strategy, so stay tuned for that.
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A couple of quick notes, any websites or links that I mention in the podcast can be found on the website in the show notes. I also publish a transcript with every episode in case you’d rather read the show, or look at something later on. You can find all the podcast show notes at www.motorcarmarketing.com/podcasts. We recently put together a great free guide for car dealers, called the Quickstart Auto Dealer Marketing Guide, you can get it by going to www.motorcarmarketing.com/guide. It’s completely free, you just put in your email address, and the lessons will be emailed to you over the course of the next few days. We’ve tried to concentrate on the high leverage things you can do with each marketing channel, so you can get the maximum results in the shortest amount of time.
We’ll be adding more lessons to this guide in the future, but to start out we’ll show you how to increase your ROI and sell more cars on Craigslist, how to quickly setup a Google Paper Click campaign, how to begin generating leads from your local search engine optimization, and how to effectively use email marketing to generate leads and correspond with your past customers. Again, this guide is completely free just go to www.motorcarmarketing.com/guide.
So now let’s get into the main segment, today I’m talking with social media marketing expert Amanda Ryan. Here’s the interview.
Ashley: Welcome Amanda to the Motorcar Marketing Podcast, I really appreciate you coming on the show.
Amanda: Well thank you so much Ashley for asking me, I really appreciate it, and I’m glad to be here.
Ashley: Great, so to start out, I wondered if you can give us a quick overview of your career and how you got into automotive marketing, and then maybe specifically into social media.
Amanda: Absolutely, well it was back in about 2009, I actually started working for Hasai with JD Rutger and from there I grew and so did the company, and it turned into TK Carsites which was bought out by KPA and I worked there for four years. And we did social media, and for the automotive industry, and I was a social media representative. Earlier this year I joined into Wikimotive and now I am a social media manager for that company, again working in the automotive industry.
Ashley: So where did you kind of get into… I mean was it in your personal life? How did you get into sort of social media, just as a profession?
Amanda: What a great question. Well, I absolutely love social media, I’m on it personally, and I have several different accounts everywhere. I just enjoy engaging with people, and interacting, and being that you can do it with everybody across the world, personally it’s a passion of mine. But my sister did a podcast called Social Blade with JD Rutger and Ergo and many great other people, and they were in the automotive industry at the time, and so from there my sister was asked to be a part of automotive industry and social media, and of course she recommended me, and that’s basically how the beginning stated is that both my sister and I were founded by JD Rutger.
Ashley: Perfect, so as we talked about earlier we’re going to concentrate on Pinterest today, I’m curious to kind of hear how car dealers are using Pinterest, and I wonder if to start out you can kind of give us an overview of what Pinterest is, maybe not even specific to car dealers, just what it is. I’ve heard about it, I guess I’ve occasionally clicked over to it, but I’m not sure I really get it, or understand sort of how it works, so maybe just to start… I’m sure there’s other dealers out there that they really don’t understand really even what it is, I think Twitter had this when it first started, people just really didn’t get it, so maybe we can just kind of start there, just kind of understanding what exactly Pinterest is.
Amanda: Pinterest is similar to Instagram, and for those of you who aren’t familiar with Instagram or Pinterest, it’s all about images, so it’s about pinning images, so it’s just basically putting images onto Pinterest and doing that through what is called a Pinit. And from there a link is attached to wherever you pin from, so be it your article, or website, or just some fun thing that you found on Google Images, and you pin it to Pinterest, and you create boards, and put these pins inside these boards, and it’s almost like file folders. And people can search and basically repin which is kind of like a retweet, and it’s more about sharing images rather than words, where on Twitter and say Facebook you’re engaging in regards to something you talk about through using text with words or 140 characters, with Pinterest it’s more about sharing images, and repining images, and letting people know that you have similar interests in what you’re actually interested in. So you know, if we’re talking about outside of the automotive industry people like to put do-it-yourself, so like how to change for instance an oil change, how to do an oil change, how to paint a room a pretty color, it’s just different ways to share interests through images.
Ashley: Just to clarify, so you’re talking about these… You create like a board, so you have your account, you might have an account, Amanda Ryan would be sort of be your username, and then under Amanda Ryan you might have one that says getting my oil changed, and then you might pin like twelve pictures of you changing the oil in your car under that oil change board…
Amanda: Well you can do it that way, most of the time it’s more about like you would have a board called do-it-yourself, and then under that board it’s all different types of things that you would recommend doing yourself. It could be from gardening to changing the oil in your car to decorating a room, and then you can have several boards under the username. So, if it is a business, it could be 1 2 3 Auto, or 1 2 3 Restaurant, and then you can have several boards, you can have quite a few, I usually recommend between 7 and 10 because realistically you want to make sure you can upkeep those boards. You don’t want to have one board that has 150 and another board that only has 5 pins inside of them. And you can name each board differently, so you can have it about cars, you can have it about do-it-yourself, you can have it about classic cars, or if it’s for a restaurant for instance, you can have it about how to make different meals, best drinks to go with meals, how to make the best smoothies, things like that, and you’re basically pinning it into those boards almost like you would put a piece of paper or an image into a file folder, and people can access those boards aka file folders, I just did air quotes, and then they can repin it if they share that same interest and share it with whoever is following them almost similar to a retweet except it’s through images instead of a tweet.
Ashley: Okay, so how much text can you put with your image? Is most of like what you’re describing like how to create the greatest smoothie, I mean you’re going to have a picture of a very enticing, tasty looking smoothie, but then obviously there would be some text that you would need to go with that, would that be on the article that you pinned it from or would you put some text with the picture?
Amanda: You can certainly put some text with the picture, you can put you know the twelve best smoothies, and that can be the title of the article that you pinned that image from. Or you can say, doesn’t this smoothie look delicious? You can use hashtags within there just like you do on Twitter and Facebook, like hashtag smoothies, and there really is not, you really only want to put kind of like a title or how much you would do in the tweet, because people do have the option to tweet it out as well, so you want to make sure that it does fit in there. And you kind of want to have a little bit of what that image is about, or if it’s associated to an article what the image associated to the article is about as well.
Ashley: So let’s talk about the friend list, I mean that’s really the key component to something like Twitter or Facebook, is getting some followers, and is it similar on Pinterest? You pin stuff, maybe you follow other people, and then they follow you back?
Amanda: Yes, absolutely, you can also follow boards. So not only can you just follow people, you can follow boards, so if they enter something new into that board you will be… It will come up in your front feed type of thing, like almost on Facebook where you have like a newsfeed, well Pinterest lets you see all the new pins that have been put out on Pinterest through your followings, and basically what happens is that if you follow a board that image will now show up amongst the other various images within that feed, so it’s pretty interesting and I definitely suggest that you try it, even if you just want to try it out personally first before you do business, because it’s a lot of fun, it really is.
Ashley: Yeah, so maybe there’s just some quick tips, how do you build up your following on these different boards? How do you get people to follow the boards?
Amanda: Basically, what you would do is to go up into the Pinterest search bar and search people that have similar interests. So for instance, if you’re a Mustang dealership, you would want to search Ford Mustang, Ford Mustang 2015… You can do anything in regards to like classic Mustangs and three tabs will actually appear and under those three tabs you’ll have pins and boards, and what you’ll do is you’ll basically be able to follow the different boards, pinners the different people who are pinning that type of content, as well as the different pins that are relevant to that content which allows you then to repin, and you can also favorite it as well if you don’t want to repin which is similar to Instagram in the heart aspect which is kind of like a like on Facebook.
Ashley: Yeah, so but if you follow somebody like on Twitter one of the tactics is you follow a bunch of people and Twitter sends them an email, and says “Hey you have a new follower,” and then a certain percentage of those people will follow you back. Is that basically, it sounds like the way you just described it, it’s about really just creating high quality content so that people find you in the search box and hopefully follow your boards. But are there some sort of tips for actually building a following?
Amanda: Well if you search people that are of the same interest, and you follow them, there’s a high percentage of them following you back, right? So for instance, if you put in 2015 Ford Mustang those three tabs that appear are pinners, pins, and boards. So, not only do you have the option to follow boards and repin people of the same interest, but you’ll also be able to follow people who have the same interest of the 2015 Ford Mustang. So then there’s a higher chance because you’re putting out that content that they would want to repin you, and because you’re putting so much of that content out they’ll follow you back. So it’s that type of connection that you want to create within Pinterest, and because you’re sharing that same interest it’s easy to make a following and to build up followers that way.
Ashley: Perfect, okay so now let’s dig into sort of the actual process of what a car dealer can do with Pinterest, maybe you can just kind of tell us some of the specific steps you guys do for car dealers when you’re running their Pinterest account.
Amanda: Right, so there is Pinterest for business, so you would want to choose that option rather than a personal Pinterest account, it lets you put in a bio, your location, and a link to your website. You also want to put a profile picture, which it should be the same, because you want the same kind of brand message across with what you have on Twitter and Facebook, so the same profile picture you use there, and what you want to do is you want to create between 7 and 10 boards, and you want to make it relative to either your brand or to your local area, because those are the two types of people you want to attract. So you either want to attract people who like the same brand you sell, or people who can actually walk into the dealerships of your local area, and you can mix it up between those 7 and 10 boards, name them Cool Chevy Cars, and if you live in Miami, Florida…Miami Love, and then you can have those two boards as an example, and what you can do is then pin Chevy Cars into the Cool Chevy Cars board and then into Miami Love… And you can pin Miami Love into that board.
Ashley: And you’re saying like in a community, like maybe a small community, you might take pictures of the local county fair, pin them in that local board, and then hopefully local people will appreciate those pictures and start following that board, that’s the idea.
Amanda: Yes, what I would suggest though is I would write a blog post on your blog, so your dealership blog I would write a blog post about that event, and add the pictures to that blog post, and then pin from you blog post those pictures to Pinterest so whenever anybody clicks on those pins on Pinterest they’re taken to your dealership’s blog.
Ashley: Perfect, so and I think you kind of just answered this, but as I was preparing for the interview one of my hesitations with Pinterest is, the thing that everybody says about social media is add value to the community and the conversation, don’t just promote your products and I was always concerned with Pinterest that it seemed overly sales-y, if you just start pinning a bunch of pictures of your inventory that might come across as overly sales-y. So, what are some good angles to get away from that? It sounds like creating a community board is one example, but even in terms of just submitting your inventory pictures, how can you make those less sales-y and actually add value to the community with pictures of your cars?
Amanda: That’s perfect because what happens is that, what you want to do with Pinterest ultimately and have an ROI, is to increase your website traffic whether it be to your website where your inventory pieces are or to your blog or both, right? So again you don’t want that to look spammy, you don’t want to overwhelm people on Pinterest with that type of content, so that’s why repining and making sure that you’re pinning other types of content surrounding those types of website blog posts or website inventory pieces, so that you’re not just pinning those types of content, even though your ultimate goal is to have people click on those and go to your website or blog. Now with inventory pieces, obviously you want to choose the best picture that you have on your VDP, your Vehicle Description Page, and you want to choose the best image, and it doesn’t always have to be the full-length exterior of the vehicle, if you have a board for Awesome Ford Interiors, go onto your VDP and click on an image of the inside of the 2014 Ford Mustang and pin that to that board. And what happens is that if people like the interior of it, they’ll repin it, they’ll click on it, and they’ll go to your inventory or your VDP on your website and drive that traffic towards your website. You never, ever want to put the price in the description, and you don’t necessarily have to put a big long text, really all you have to do is put the name of the vehicle. That’s one sport where you just have to do that. So 2014 Ford Mustang, and you might want to hashtag Ford, Mustang or both. And get people interested, because everybody is kind of pulling from somewhere, so why not pull from your website and get your inventory pieces out there.
Ashley: And there really are people though, using your example of a 2014 Mustang, and I suppose there is people that are really into Mustangs, suppose you’re selling Toyota Camrys, are there people that are going to repin a picture of an interior of a Toyota Camry?
Amanda: Oh absolutely, I mean because there are people who are on Pinterest who absolutely love their Camry and they name their vehicle, they’re very interested in it, and what you might want to do is create a blog post at that point, and have pictures from your inventory pieces, and call the blog post how to properly clean the inside of your Camry. There’s so many ways that you can be creative or unique coming up with ways for people to click on your images, to bring them some sort of value to what it is that you’re offering, and it makes them interested in your brand and what you have to offer.
Ashley: For sure. Are there any automated tools that you use with Pinterest? I know there’s a lot of scheduling tools for things like Twitter, but are there any tools that you use at all for helping with the Pinterest activities?
Amanda: I would stay away from automation when it comes to Pinterest, the only tool that I would suggest is the Pin It button, which is something that is found under the “goodies” section on Pinterest, so pinterest.com and you go to the goodies section and when you scroll through you’ll find Pin It, and it’s a button that’s actually a tool that gets installed into your browser, so Firefox or Chrome, and then whatever site you’re on, because it’s in your browser you can literally click on Pin It and it will grab any of the images that are on that website, and you choose which image you wish to use, so obviously you want to choose the best one that will attract the most people. And from there, you can write a little description to go along with it, and then it will go into the board you choose, and as long as you have your Pinterest open and you’re logged in, and then you can have that article or wherever it is you are on the site, so obviously you want to do some from your website or your blog and it’ll upload it and get it on there for you. And it’s very simple and easy to do, so that’s the only tool, but it has no scheduling feature, it’s literally just being able to pin anywhere from the web, because Pinterest is more of a hands-on, need to be in there, you need to be taking a look at what’s going on and what’s most popular, because there are categories that you can look at, there’s an automotive category so you want to look in there and see what’s getting the most repins. Do I have something on my website or is there something I can talk about on my blog that would attract those types of people to then repin what it is I’m doing. You can do a lot of research on Pinterest, to give you ideas of what to write about and what to share.
Ashley: I wonder if you could kind of give us some sort of valuation, where do you see Pinterest in sort of the social media mix in terms of how valuable it is and how much time you should spend there?
Amanda: Well see Pinterest is…I would look at it more as an SEO type of tool because it provides social signals to your blog, and that’s what you want, right? You need those social signals, Google loves them, any other…Bing, any other search engine they love to have social signals, that’s a big thing right now, and so when you have your website and your blog associated with Pinterest through pinning onto there and having repins there, those are creating social signals and it helps you with ranking in the search engines. So it’s more of an SEO social type of tool that you should incorporate into your marketing, but it’s not necessarily one for building engagement or a community like Twitter or Facebook would be, because there’s more of a back and forth, where this is I’m sharing my interests through images rather than through text.
Ashley: So there’s kind of a maybe 3 levels, you have your actual car dealer website where you have the vehicles listed, then you might have a blog, and then you might have your Pinterest. And the Pinterest is really to drive traffic to your blog which provides value to potential customers; then your blog’s job is to drive traffic back to your actual car dealer website.
Amanda: Absolutely, you can have it setup that way and of course when you have it pinned onto Pinterest it creates social signals, so it’s alerting Google and letting it know that people are recommending your site because they’re repining it and through that they might be sharing from Pinterest to Twitter, so it’s just a really great place to create social signals for search engine optimization.
Ashley: Perfect, so I wonder, I kind of remember it has been a few years now when Pinterest came up, by the time I had heard about it, it was already pretty big and kind of well established. Are there any new social media channels that you see on the horizon that maybe car dealers should be paying attention to if they want to try and stay ahead of the curve?
Amanda: I would say Instagram, Instagram came up out of nowhere, it’s another kind of photo sharing site similar to Pinterest except it’s more of a liking feature than a repining feature. It’s very interesting, and I’m sure there’s a lot of things that are going to be coming up that is going to be really interesting to watch for in regards to dealerships using Pinterest. And a lot are already sharing images from their lot of cars, of their inventory to Instagram, and people get to like it, and you can build up a community that way as well. And so I would say Instagram has been around for a while, it has been bought by Facebook, so I would say start using Instagram and watch for things to come there, because I think there’s going to be good things on the horizon there.
Ashley: Perfect, so let’s talk a minute about Wikimotive and what you do there and how you guys can potentially help car dealers.
Amanda: Absoultely, so I am the social media manager at Wikimotive and what we do is we provide SEO, social media, we help with websites, and getting viewers out there on the web into internet marketing and handling it for them. So, basically we’re here to help you, and to make sure that your online presence is known, and we are in constant communication, we’re transparent, and we definitely love to help anybody in the automotive industry put their brand out there on the web and to make themselves a part of a community in their local area because that’s our strategy and people who have an interest in the brand that they sell.
Ashley: Great, so what’s the best way for people to maybe follow you, keep up with what you’re doing, and potentially contact you?
Amanda: Sure, so on Twitter I’m at AmandaShares, I can also be contacted by at Wikimotive on Twitter there’s also the Wikimotive LLC Facebook page, and they can find all about us at wikimotive.com that’s our website. Our blog is also the wikiblog.com, to find out all the articles and all of the interesting things we’re up to.
Ashley: Okay, perfect, and I’ll link to all of that in the show notes if someone is listening to this in their car or something and can’t remember all of that, just find the show notes and I’ll link directly to all of these different URLs. Well Amanda, you’ve been very generous with your time, I really appreciate this, I know I’ve learned a lot, and I’m sure there’s a lot of car dealers out there that have learned a tremendous amount about Pinterest.
Amanda: Well it’s my absolute pleasure, and again thank you so much for asking me to be a part of this, I appreciate it.
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On the next episode of the Motorcar Marketing Podcast, I’m going to be talking to the alpha dog himself, Mr. Jim Zigler. Jim has decades of experience in the car business, and he’s still out there every week closing deals, and helping real dealerships sell more cars. We’re going to be talking about how dealerships can get out of the loop where they constantly have to compete on price and constantly have to lower their prices. This is a huge problem in the industry, and Jim talks about some practical solutions. Jim also gives out some tips for curing some of the common problems he sees in dealerships around the country, so keep an eye out for that episode next week.
Just a quick thought on today’s interview with Amanda, I do think in some ways you’ve got to choose your marketing battles. After talking with Amanda, I definitely think Pinterest can play a part in your overall social media marketing strategy, but I would say it’s definitely a more advanced piece. Twitter and Facebook still seem like the more important pieces, so if you’re having some success with those, I would say definitely check out Pinterest, but if you’re having a hard time getting a handle on Twitter and Facebook and finding it hard to find time to manage these accounts, you’re probably better off not adding another piece to the mix and diluting your efforts, what I really think has a lot of Pinterest is what Amanda said, you can build your Pinterest followers and use it to bring attention to your blog and other SEO content and marketing pieces. Last week in episode 12 of the podcast, I had Mark Frost on, he also works for Wikimotive. He talked about SEO and content marketing, and I think Pinterest can be a nice piece to promote all of the stuff that Mark was talking about creating, so go back and have a listen to that episode if you haven’t already. I think Pinterest can really help support the content you create, exactly like what Amanda just talked about. Anyways, that’s our show, I hope you find some value out of it and it can help you grow your business. Thanks for listening!