It would never have occurred to me that I could sell my car using social media, but when I think about it, why the hell not? After all, the people now following me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn know me, at least a little. And they can trust me, really, just like they can any actual used car salesman.
So my next tweet, previewed here: 1967 Volvo 122S station wagon, no rust, four speed, Euro edition (Swiss mileage), $5k. Cream puff! Is that less than 140 characters?
Actually, I'm not selling that car unless you get really creative about the offer. But I've been reading about the new Kelley Blue Book "Seller's Toolkit," which is all about using social media to sell your car. It appears to be free, but maybe I'm missing something. Kelley, if you're not familiar with them, is the force behind the legendary blue, used-car price guide, once a newsstand item, but now largely online. The toolkit "catapaults traditional private-party sales methods into the 21st century."
It looks easy enough in the video tutorial pasted at the end of this post. You just plug your data into the template. You can even print out actual window stickers, so those must still work, too. There's even a Kelley Blue Book iPhone app now.
KBB says that there were 1.3 million offers for vehicles made via social networking sites (and 785,000 sales) in 2008. For 2009, that number jumped to 1.9 million offers, and 1.3 million sales. This year, there could be more than 2 million sales. Who knew? I still thought the local print trader (now looking kind of thin) was the best way to sell a car.
Face it, the newspaper classified ad is a thing of the past, though they used to provide something like 30 percent of total revenue. The paper shoppers are doomed, too. Most people sell cars on Craigslist.
The toolkit includes the window sticker, Facebook integration, an embeddable widget you can drop into a blog, dynamic images and a direct link that can be shared online. It's very high-tech: You can scan bar codes on the window sticker with a mobile phone, then get information sent to you on the car you're looking at.
Still, you have to think about whether you actually want to do this. It's a bit like selling Amway — they may end up sitting there with embarrassed smiles on their faces. Do your friends and family really want you to try to sell a car to them? (Hey, it's bad enough that if you follow me, you get links to my stories.)