The Impact of Social Media on the Way Cars Are Bought and Sold

The internet has changed our world perhaps more profoundly than any other innovation in history. Other major inventions such as electricity, the steam engine and flight have certainly made a profound and lasting impact. But these were slow, steady progressions, with a transformation that happened over the course of decades. The internet changed things completely in a few short years, especially with its most powerful tool, the social networks. Can you even remember a world without social media? Ten years ago barely anyone was on Facebook and Twitter didn’t even exist. Now they are the first destination people head to when sharing personal milestones, looking for the latest on a major news story, or even collaborating with others to launch an art happening or cause a political revolution. The impact of this new world order can be felt in pretty much every industry, and automobiles are certainly included. Here’s a quick look at the impact of social media on the way cars are bought and sold.

First and foremost, social media may now be the first place a new make or model catches your attention. Millions of Americans are giving up their traditional television services for online content. In the past, TV commercials are where you would most likely see a car being advertised. Sales were posted, and the new lines were previewed. Social media allows the manufacturer to move much more quickly, and at a far lower cost. Say you’re a fan of Ford and you’re in the market for a new vehicle. Instead of waiting for commercials you’ll follow their Twitter feed. You’ll know the instant information is available about a new vehicle, and sales will often be promoted here first.

The other social media websites are also always involved. Every major manufacturer has a Facebook page, and most of them now spend money to place featured ads on your timeline or in the sidebar. Just as with TV, users come across this information whether they like it or not. But the social networks actually provide these companies a larger audience than basic cable. Facebook claims enough users to make up the population of an entire country, and Twitter spans the globe. As an information source it’s immediate and massively impactful.

The traditional commercials the car manufacturers make are all also used online. When people watch videos on YouTube or Hulu, both of which are integrated seamlessly with social media, these ads play. But instead of hoping the viewer gets off their couch and heads to the dealership, the manufacturer can embed smart links in the video that take the viewer directly to their website. And the website is a more powerful sales tool than anyone on the floor at the dealership. These sites allow people to design their own cars and request a price. If the dealership takes trade-ins, the user can submit their information and wait for an offer here as well. And all of those details can be shared with the click of a button on social media.

These sites have also changed how private citizens buy and sell their vehicles. Why go to the dealer when you can put out a message within your own network? People would much rather buy and sell to friends or regular folks, and thanks to Twitter, Facebook and Craigslist you can connect with potential buyers and sellers almost immediately. When the transaction is complete, you can then seek out inexpensive auto insurance the same way. It’s easy and stress free, and the whole thing can be done without setting foot outside your door. It may not be bringing people closer together physically, but social media is certainly revolutionizing the automotive industry. And the changes should only continue in the coming years.

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