Promote Your Listing On Social Media

From the moment a boat owner decides to sell a boat, they need to put on their marketing hat. Selling a boat is not like selling a bike or a lawnmower. Boat sellers require a more strategic marketing approach to reach interested buyers and stand out from the crowd – especially in today’s market. Buyer’s these days are far more tech-savvy than in years past, and will look for deals online, on their mobile devices and across many different marketplaces and platforms. The result of marketing a boat well can be that you’re more likely to sell your boat quickly and for more money – walking away potentially thousands of dollars better off!

Here we will cover some creative ideas and boat selling tips to help you sell your Boat Trader listing faster using the power of social media.

Harnessing The Power Of Social Media To Get More Eyes On Your Listing

Boat For Sale On Instagram

Above: One of Boat Trader’s animated GIFs available on Instagram and Facebook for users to use in stories when they share their boat listing with their audiences on their social media account.

Over the last quarter, Boat Trader has created a range of shiny new bespoke graphics, “stickers” and GIFs (often called Giphys after the popular website for creating these nifty little graphics) for our sellers to use on Instagram, Facebook and other social media channels. These fun animated graphics are also powerful because they grab a viewers attention and provide boaters, boat sellers, yacht builders and manufacturers a new way of marketing online. Plus they make your photos, videos and “stories” more interactive.

America’s Largest Boating Marketplace Meets Facebook And Instagram

“We’re breathing new life into the boat buying and selling process,” says Ryan McVinney, Head of Content at Boat Trader. “We decided it was time to do things just a little bit differently and help our sellers add a bit of panache to their marketing tool belts. We’re in a more reactive market now and sellers need a sales strategy that reflects that. By integrating boat selling with social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and soon TikTok, we help sellers tap into a new customer markets and reach a whole new demographic that is interested in their product. These new tools and resources aren’t just available to dealers and brokers either – they are available for any private seller who is listing their own boat for sale as well.”

Boat for sale listed on Boat Trader

Above: An animated GIF that Instagram and Facebook users can use to indicate their vessel is listed for sale on Boat Trader’s online marketplace. If a user has enough followers, Instagram will allow the user to add a link to the story directly to the online listing.

Boat buyers and leads that have been referred to sellers directly from Instagram are revealing a whole new profile of boat buyer altogether. The types of people stumbling on these boats are often brand new to boating. They saw something they liked the look of and decided to roll with it. That in itself is fresh and exciting.

Improving Engagement By Embedding GIF’s, Giphy’s And Stickers Into Your Stories

A GIF is an animated image, while a sticker is a dynamic graphic element (somewhat like an emoji) that you can add to an image, story or video to make them more engaging. GIFs and stickers can be embedded into posts and messages on social media too, and are the perfect medium to:

  • Become more expressive and creative
  • Capture viewers attention quickly and get more clicks
  • Increase your reach and audience on social media
  • Increase the visibility of your boat listing
  • Target specific audiences through tagging

Using GIF’s Is A Great Way To Stand Out From The Crowd

We have seen a wave of social media influencers tuning in and checking out all kinds of boats. Some of the rarer boats are really gaining traction. For example, the pontoon boat with a slide went viral once we added the brand, and one of our new GIFs ‘Boat for sale’ embedding a link to the boat. It’s been a real game changer in terms of product marketing.

“I think what was really important for us is that we weren’t just a feed full of boat listings that are available to sell,” Ryan McVinney said. “We want to tell a story and we’re trying to find ways to incorporate our boat listings and boat builders into those stories while providing our followers with entertaining lifestyle-oriented content that reflects the boating experience. We’ve tried to make the selling and buying process more fun and interactive for everyone, which is core to Boat Trader’s values. And we plan to keep adding to these graphics with different types of boats and fun screenshots and images from our sea trial video boat reviews and our many varied boating documentary films and videos.”

Selling A Boat? Razzle Dazzle Them

Giphy’s are working so effectively that people surfing instagram who were not even looking for a boat ended up considering a boat purchase. “The attention that Giphy’s can garner across these social media platforms sparks interest from people who were not necessarily even looking for you or your boat listing, but end up finding you through related hashtags, or simply noticing your graphic in their feed. It can actually be a very powerful tool”, comments Ryan McVinney. “Instagram posts can spread like wildfire when they hit the right audience and GIFS and stickers, just like photos and videos, really can speak louder than words.”

Boat Trader announced the launch of branded stickers for boat sellers to use on their Instagram stories back in the early summer of 2021, helping launch the program with country music star Brian Kelley (of Florida Georgia Line), as part of the second episode of Stomping Grounds – a boating video series on YouTube. When the stickers were rolled out, they were featured in Instagram stories (an Instagram and Facebook feature that allows users to post photos and live and pre-recorded videos that disappear after 24 hours) on both Brian Kelley and Boat Trader’s accounts. Together they helped fans of Brian Kelley find his new solo album, and engage with the Boat Trader brand as well. Any user who was interested in using them could do so.

Boat Trader Brian Kelley GIF

Above: An animated GIF available on Instagram and Facebook for fans of Brian Kelley and Boat Trader to use on their own story posts. The graphic was part of a campaign to launch Brian Kelley’s new solo album Sunshine State of Mind, featuring a song about searching for a boat to buy on Boat Trader’s website.

Now, any user who is selling a boat or listing a boat for sale on Boat Trader can use the more generic stickers and GIFS and have their followers be redirected directly to their boat listing.

How To Use GIFs In Your Instagram Stories

  1. Open the Instagram app on your mobile device
  2. Click the + sign which can be found at the top right of your profile
  3. A pop-up window will appear and you will need to click on the word ‘story’
  4. Take a photo by clicking the large white button in the bottom middle of your screen or upload a photo from your photo library by clicking the little box in the bottom left hand corner. Read our guide how to sell your boat with photos and videos 
  5. Once you have your photo loaded into the story platform, click the smiley face sticker at the top right hand side of your screen.
  6. Once the pop-up window appears, click the ‘GIF’ button on the left side.
  7. Type into the search bar, “Boattrader”
  8. Select a GIF from our Boat Trader branded GIFs. We recommend using ‘Boats for sale’.
  9. If you want to make the GIF larger or smaller, you can adjust it using your thumb and fingers.

PRO TIP: We suggest using one or two GIFs per story slide and making them a medium size. You don’t want the GIF  to distract from the image of the boat. Use your best judgement and creativity!

When sharing your boat on an Instagram story, add the boat cost and  a call to action. Incorporate the words “Boat listing link in bio” in your Instagram story to let users know where to find you.

Our Top Selling Tips For Selling A Boat On Social

  1. Pick only the best shots to share on your Instagram story — 3 or 4 images is perfect.
  2. Use the best image for your “hero” image in your feed, and provide a brief description of the boat
  3. Use relevant category hashtags like #boats #boattrader #boatforsale
  4. Use relevant boat manufacturer brand names and boat models (both in hashtags and @ format) such as #bostonwhaler #searay #gradywhite #420outrage @boston_whaler @gradywhite_boats
  5. Direct the post or story to those who may be interested, such as marketplaces, fishing groups or niche interest audiences, examples: @boattrader (of course!) @centerconsolesonly (if you’re selling a center console) or @dailysportfish and more popular nautical social media accounts like @boatsgonewild
  6. Use words that communicate urgency in your posts like “limited” and “exclusive”
  7. Note any price drops so people know there is a special deal, i.e. “Price Drop!”

Boat Dealers Collaborate

Promoting boats through social media isn’t just for individual sellers. Boat dealers are looking for new ways to collaborate and capitalize on two way traffic. “We’re currently seeing a significant amount of messaging between buyers and sellers shift from traditional emails to messaging through social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook,” said Ryan McVinney. “Using social media, GIFS, stickers and Giphys is a great way for boat dealers, yacht brokers and private sellers to build a rapport with boat manufacturers.”

Written by: Emma Coady

Emma Coady is a freelance writer and marine journalist who creates content for many household names in the boating industry, including YachtWorld, Boat Trader and She also writes for several boat builders as well as charter and rental companies and regularly contributes to Greenline Hybrid yachts, TJB Super Yachts and Superyachts Monaco. Emma is the founder of Cloud Copy and enjoys traveling around Europe, spending as much of her spare time as possible in or on the water.