by Andrew Rohrlich

Have you ever wondered how to sell a car on Instagram? It might sound daunting, but it doesn't have to be. With the right strategy in place, you can easily turn your used car into a profitable private sale.

This article will cover top tips for private sellers to sell a used car on Instagram. From the advantages and disadvantages of using Instagram to best practices for creating an attractive post, you'll learn how to get the most out of your car sales.

Using Instagram To Sell a Car: The Good and the Bad

Instagram is a photo-sharing social media platform that allows you to follow accounts and hashtags as well as view and/or post photographs, video clips, and live stories.

You can use Instagram as a digital showroom to create automotive content that showcases your vehicle and its features. The platform offers several advantages and disadvantages for anyone looking to sell their car to a private party.


1. Vast Potential Audience

There are over 120 million active Instagram users in the United States today.

This means that your vehicle has the potential to reach millions of potential users, which greatly expands your reach beyond local advertisements.

2. Easy To Use

It's easy to sell on Instagram. You simply create a social media account by entering your desired username, password, phone number and/or email, and you're set!

Once you set up your Instagram profile, you're ready to start posting.

3. Easy Communication

The last advantage of Instagram is that it makes communicating with your audience easy. You can respond to comments directly from the post, and potential buyers can contact you through the direct messaging (DM) feature.

The search functions also make it easier for potential buyers to locate you through your hashtags.


Though Instagram offers many enticing advantages, it does have some disadvantages.

1. Harder To Build Buyer Trust

Social media is an excellent business tool for advertising your used car, but it does create a unique challenge. It is more difficult to build buyer trust through social media.

Buyers may not be able to visit you in person if they live too far away, which can cause apprehension.

2. Requires More Effort Than Other Online Methods

Most other methods of advertising your vehicle online require you to make a listing and post it with no further effort.

Instagram, on the other hand, requires consistent effort for success. You may have to post daily, twice a week, or weekly to build a niche in your hashtags and attract more potential buyers from your area.

You also have to craft captions for each post, find ways to make engaging videos, etc.

The 4-Step Process of Selling a Car on Instagram

So you've decided that you want to sell a car privately on Instagram. Now what? There are four steps to follow to get your car on the platform.

1. Take Clear Images of Every Aspect of the Car

Instagram is a photo and video-based platform, so the best way to sell on Instagram is to take clear images of every aspect of the car:

  • The interior, including extra appealing features such as sunroofs, keyless entry, heated seats, etc.
  • The exterior
  • Any cosmetic issues
  • Any damages
  • The engine
  • VIN

The more photos you have, the more posts you can create, and the more you can build buyer trust.

To boost engagement and interest, you can even create carousel posts — posts with up to 10 pictures the buyer can scroll through like a carousel.

2. Write a Detailed and Honest Caption

Captions are just as important as hashtags when it comes to selling on Instagram for several reasons:

  • They add context to your images and videos.
  • They offer a direct line of communication with potential buyers.
  • They boost engagement.

So it's best to spend some time fleshing out your caption and making it engaging. You should always be honest about your car's history, condition, and features in your captions to build trust with your audience.

There are a few ways you can make your captions stand out and draw potential buyers:

  1. Always capture attention by putting the most important information first, such as the vehicle's year, make, model, and location.
  2. Make the caption as detailed and information-packed as possible without being overly long.
  3. Encourage engagement by asking a question and inviting comments or questions.
  4. Tag other vehicle pages in your captions where appropriate.

3. Be Strategic With Your Choice of Hashtags

Hashtags are the primary way you drive traffic to your Instagram profile, and Instagram allows you to post up to 30 hashtags per post.  So you should be strategic with those that you choose.

Some best practices to follow for effective hashtags are:

  • Include the vehicle's make, model, and location (with surrounding cities and counties)
  • Research and use related auto hashtags
  • Include a mix of highly popular, popular, and barely-known hashtags

4. Post and Engage With Commenters

Once you've taken high-quality images, crafted a compelling caption, and chosen strategic hashtags, you're ready to post! You can add your post with a simple click of a button, exposing your vehicle to a wide pool of potential buyers.

It's important to engage with buyers who comment and like your posts by responding to them in a timely manner. Such engagement is one of the most critical aspects of social media because it creates a personalized experience for potential buyers, reassuring them that there's a real person behind the account. It also helps boost your post in the algorithm.

It's always best to avoid talking too much like a salesman. Just be friendly, helpful, and open. Potential buyers will feel much more comfortable considering your vehicle for purchase.

Best Practices When Using Instagram for Private Party Car Sales

There are some best practices you can follow when using Instagram for your private party car sale to enjoy the most success.

Post at the Right Times

Instagram's algorithm doesn't only rely on hashtags and posting frequency. When you post also affects how much reach it will have.

The best time to post depends on your area and particular target buyers. For example, you may consider posting right before lunchtime or later in the evening if your area has a lot of office workers who take lunch breaks and get off at 5-6 PM.

Different social media marketing agencies may also recommend different general times for the entire platform depending on the day. In the end, it's best to research several sources to get a general idea of when the best time is to post each day.

Make Use of Instagram's Promotional Tools

Another way to boost your results is to use Instagram's promotional tools. For example, you can turn your regular high-performing content into sponsored content, including:

  • Posts
  • Instagram Stories
  • Highlights
  • Stories Archives

If you decide the investment is worth it, you can also use Instagram Ads to create a small campaign targeting your local area.

Beware of Rare Car Buying Scams

Finally, it's best to be cautious when you sell a used car online.

Most buyers are genuinely interested and honest. However, there are rare occasions when someone may try to scam you through methods such as:

  • Fraudulent ACH transfers
  • Promising future payment
  • Fake mobile deposits
  • Intentional overpayment

To avoid these rare scams, you can try to meet with buyers in person or video call them if they live too far away. You can also use a car escrow service for receiving funds.

How Much Does It Cost To Sell on Instagram?

One of the biggest advantages of Instagram is that it doesn't cost anything at all to sell a car. You don't have to pay anything to make an account or post and can make your posts shoppable at no additional cost if you've also made listings on other websites.

You can choose how much you pay if you decide to sponsor a post or run an Instagram Ad, so how much it costs is completely up to you.

The Safest Way To Sell Privately

Instagram is an excellent way to increase your reach if you want to sell your car online. By following the best tips and practices, you can safely and successfully leverage the power of social media to sell your vehicle.

The safest way to sell your car on Instagram is to use a private party car sale checkout platform like Caramel. Such a platform securely handles all the steps of the car buying process for you, from identity verification to auto financing to paperwork.

Caramel even provides you with a link you can include in your car listing that buyers can use to finish the checkout process. When buyers click on this link, they will be directed to your car, and your asking price will be displayed. This ensures you can sell your car on social media platforms without stress or worry.

This article was written by Andrew Rohrlich. As a brand and product marketing expert, Andrew Rohrlich has crafted products, experiences and communications for household names like Gap and for multiple automotive technology businesses. For nearly a decade Andrew has studied automotive retail in depth from a customer point of view and aggregated the industry’s best research, thought leadership and know how to provide credible and important information to auto shoppers and sellers.

Start your transaction with Caramel, learn more about how the process works, or reach out to our Support team with any questions.