6 Smart Social Media Lessons for Small Business from a Car Dealer

Do you want to learn some instantly actionable, smart social media lessons for small business?

In this post, I share some super simple strategies that a car dealer in Portland is using to drive engagement and traffic on social media.

You can use these strategies in your business too!

6 Smart Social Media Lessons for Small Business from a Car Dealer
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Image by Shutterstock


Last year, I received a thank you for following a Twitter account on Twitter.  I get many of these every day but this one really stuck out and caught my attention.

The reply was from one of the team members at a Lexus Dealership in Portland, Oregon, USA.

This was the reply from Nicole at Kuni Lexus of Portland:


A personalised video message on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram is pretty rare. Which is why I wanted to write this post.

I noticed Nicole and her message amongst a sea of tweets because it really stood out as a great example of engagement.

So with that, let's jump into the 3 Social Media Lessons for Small Business from this Lexus Dealership – things they are doing very well that you can implement in your own business.


5 Smart Social Media Lessons for Small Business from Kuni Lexus of Portland

1  Be Human and Be Yourself

The last thing I expected from a car dealer was a personalised video message that was authentic, friendly and warm.

Wouldn't you like to buy a car from Nicole?  And yes she may not be the actual car salesperson,  but she sure does give a great first impression of their team.

And of course I went surfing on their Twitter feed after receiving this to see that it was not only Nicole that did the shout outs – other team members did too!

Which brings me to No 2:


2  Develop a Culture of Being Social

Lexus of Portland obviously has a culture of being social in that they involve their entire team. Don't wait to “do” social. Involve your team from the outset.

It takes just a few minutes to grab a smartphone, film a short video and upload it.  A team that knows they can ALL do this, is a team that actually does it.

Here's another thankyou from one of the team members to a follower, Brian.   They even comment about Brian's article on Forbes about Content Marketing!



Even the General Manager takes the time out of his busy day to send a personal tweet to a local restaurant he loves!


Check out more of these at their hashtag #KuniShoutOut.  Yes, they have their own Shout Out Hashtag. That's a commitment to being social!

Get to know your team and what their strengths are – if someone loves video then encourage them to make short videos – either thank you's like this one or perhaps short training or tip videos, or even answering customer questions.

Maybe someone on your team is an Instagram ninja – encourage them to post on the Instagram account. Be creative with the talents you have!


3  Don't Just Tweet about Your Cars

If you look a little closer you will see that Lexus of Portland's Twitter account is about more than just cars.

Yes… there are cars, lots of Sexy Lexus-y cars. You can see them all right here.

But there are also loads of posts about life in Portland and in Oregon.  From food festivals to ways to relax and revive… to activities in the local area, this account is not just about cars.

It's about THE CUSTOMER.  Whether it's a recipe they might like


Or a little travelling in Oregon State:



Lexus of Portland hasn't just established themselves as a source of great cars. They are establishing themselves as a source for Portland and the State of Oregon.

And a team that is dedicated to learning and implementing content marketing in their business.

Take note of these tips for small business social media success – and apply them to your own business.

What can you post about that helps your ideal customer in some way (remember, it doesn't always have to be about your product or service).


4  Showcase Your Team

Another thing that you will notice is that their team features heavily on the Twitter feed too – whether it's an employee BBQ or some other “behind the scenes” activity:



Or introducing a car salesperson:


Wouldn't you rather buy from a company that you feel you “know”?  Kuni Lexus of Portland does this well!


5  Cross Promote with Class

There's one thing that drives me BONKERS on Twitter – Auto Direct Messages, and even worse, the idea of someone sending an Auto DM to me, and then telling me in the next breath that I should come and follow them over on Facebook or LinkedIn.  I just met them!

I love that these guys don't do that. The initial video message was sent as a tweet, and was obviously not automated, but instead very personalised.

The personal touch was what made it so special.

Then the conversation continued like this:

Kuni Lexus of Portland Twitter Post
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Note how they said they pride themselves on being socially relevant?  Boom!

… and then… and only then after some engagement happened, did they let me know they were on Instagram too!

Nice move:

Cross Promote Your Social Media Platforms: 5 Smart Social Media Lessons for Small Business from a Car Dealer
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Pick the right time to cross-promote your social media platforms

And if you check out their Instagram account you will notice that, again, it is not all about cars.

Their profile states that they post about community events, outdoor events and employee highlights!

Kuni Lexus of Portland on Instagram: 5 Smart Social Media Lessons for Small Business from a Car Dealer
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A car dealer on Instagram? You Betcha!



6  Start Blogging…

If you know my blog by now you will know I am a HUGE fan of blogging to grow your business.   In fact, it's one of my biggest social media lessons for small business:  post consistently on your website on a blog.

So I tentatively looked up their website hoping there would be a blog, but suspecting there wouldn't be – I don't see many small businesses do this at all, let alone a car dealership… but guess what?

There's a Blog!  You can check it out here.

They post about their cars, road trips, local designers and even Portland Beer!

Kuni Lexus of Portland Blog - 5 Smart Social Media Lessons for Small Business from a Car Dealer
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A small business blog will drive traffic to your site

A small business blog not only helps your ideal audience to know more about your products and services (yes, they blog about cars too) but can establish you as an expert authority in your local area.

And Google loves helpful, easy to read, useful content.  In fact, small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads!

The team at Kuni Lexus of Portland have struck a good balance between car related content and content that will come up in search about the Portland region in terms of lifestyle, tourism and luxury.  This is content marketing done well… all great social media lessons for small business.

And don't forget – they are not just doing this for traffic – they have a genuine desire to help!

6 Smart Social Media Lessons for Small Business from a Car Dealer
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Image by Shutterstock


Over to You

Do you know of a small business that has embraced social media for positive results, just like Kuni Lexus of Portland?  

I'd love to hear who they are – what social media lessons from small business can you share? Comment below!

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Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is a Visual Content Strategist and founder of Socially Sorted, listed by Forbes as a "Top 5 Social Media Blog You Need to Know About". Donna helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes, Inc. & Entrepreneur and she is a speaker and trainer on visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.
6 Smart Social Media Lessons for Small Business from a Car Dealer
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  1. Simcha Lazarus@WiseStamp

    Great post! This car dealership is amazing and these lessons can be applied to any other small business as well. Though I can’t imagine how much time it would take to send a personal thank you tweet to each new follower.

    • Donna Moritz

      yes they are pretty cool – don’t worry, they don’t tweet every new follower – just a selection but even a few is better than none at all, and I happened to be one of them. The nice thing is that they seem to actually check out the account and find something to make a specific comment about which is very classy. But yes, I think it is a great strategy to build relationships especially for local businesses!

  2. TiffanyTene'

    This is awesome! It really makes you want to engage with them and their company and also keeps them on your mind. I recently started making a point to DM followers with a thank you and a short comment (when relevant) as to what I like about their tweets or business- as I didn’t want to keep saying Thanks for following. Thank you for posting Donna!

    • Donna Moritz

      Cheers Tiffany – yes I think if you select and do personal DMs it can be very powerful and video even more so… it’s just the auto DMs that drive me nuts as you can tell they are automated and don’t add any value. I like your approach of saying what you like about their tweets!

      • TiffanyTene'

        Being fairly new to business via SM, I didn’t know the thank you was automated at first, but I did know that I wanted to be more personal. Lexus takes it to a whole new level that JUST might work for me in certain situations, and another reminder of how important it is to truly connect with our followers who should also be referred to more as our Supporters!

        • Donna Moritz

          Totally – I can count on two hands the number of genuine video messages I have had on Twitter and I remember all of them. So yes, you don’t have to do it for everyone but if there is someone you really want to connect with it can be a nice touch. Unfortunately with DMs I miss so many now as there are so many spammy ones but on my newsfeed I tend to spot them with notifications. I hate it when people spoil it for everyone else. DMs should be a useful function!

          • TiffanyTene'

            Yes I agree!

  3. Free Range Websites

    What a great post. Informative from start to finish. And yes, you can compare car dealership to any small business. Meaning that this post is full of valuable information for anyone and everyone

    • Donna Moritz

      Great – glad you found it useful and yes anyone can do this if they are committed to being a social business – it takes effort but worth it!

  4. John Martin

    What a great post, Donna! Really hits home, as I am trying to apply these things. I have a client that gets this, and another that really needs to – will share!
    Thanks so much for this!

    • Donna Moritz

      That’s awesome John – great to hear that you have clients who “click” when it comes to content marketing. I am sure the other one will come around!

  5. Dara Lin

    Great article. Information about the smart social media from a car dealer. Thanks ! Because there are things doing very well that you can implement in your own business.

  6. Aleksandra Parusova

    Great post! Thank you! Especially #5 made me remember the time i first signed-up on Twitter and started to follow people related to marketing. I have never got that many automatic messages which was super annoying and seemed like i was following robots.

    • Donna Moritz

      I’m so with you on that one. DMs and auto messages drive me BONKERS!


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