Social Media Can (and should) Be a Business Driver


Gears The Three Stages of Social Media

This is part 2 in a 4 part series about automotive social media strategies that are emerging to help car dealers get true benefit. It’s not just about branding. It’s not about auto-feeding marketing content. With the right strategies in a place, dealers can drive foot traffic and website visitors in a way that can help them sell more vehicles and drive more service customers.

Your Social Media is Rocking. Now What?

By now, you’ve completed stage 1 and 2, localizing your fan base and getting the algorithms to like you. If you haven’t done that yet, refer back to part 1 of this series, The Three Stages of Social Media. Social media is a tool that can drive business to your dealership, but you have to get your presence in order before taking the next steps.

Once you have your presence rocking, it’s time to put your social media to work. You’re getting interactions with your posts, People are liking, commenting on, and sharing what you’re putting up on your Facebook page. You’re getting some good play on Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest. You’re doing everything well except you are only hearing of anecdotal instances when actual buyers mention that they follow you on social media. This is where Stage 3 comes into play.

What Percentage Of Your Dealers Business Comes From The Internet?

Latest HOT Discussion in the Forum

Doug Davis member profile image1

What percentage of your business comes from the internet?

At my previous stores, we only counted an internet deal, if it was a confirmed appointment or if the customer asked for an ISM by name. Our ISMs worked cradle to grave and I was fortunate to have a dozen very talented ISMs.

A vendor, on another forum, said that dealerships should obtain 30% of their sales/business from the internet. He stated that any more than this would be the internet department converting floor ups to the internet.

This particular site is predominately vendors and they are eager to defend one another. DealerRefresh is mostly dealership personnel and I am convinced represent the brightest of the dealer community.

My previous stores did better that twice the 30% and I am sure that we were not alone.

I would like to see some of the percentages from this community. Please share…

Click here to comment in the forum

Which Car Shopper Wants Their Ass in Leather?

Every month, millions of potential customers search the web for used vehicles. Contained within those searches is extraordinarily powerful data that can transform the way we sell cars.

leather seats

When a customer filters by specific features, they are telling us their hot buttons. When they submit a lead they are making an even stronger statement about their preferences and what they are willing to pay for. Customers are telling us exactly what we need to know to find the right car for them. It’s time we started listening.

Let’s take seats as an example. Using online search data from last quarter, we took a look at customer preferences for used Chevrolet Silverado 1500s, Ford Escapes and Honda Accords. These models are among the most sought after used vehicles in their respective classes: pickup, SUV and sedan. Using all of this information, data scientists were able to identify the seat options customers were willing to pay for across these three make/models.

Let’s take a look at the results:

Why We Said No to Yelp Ads Twice: In Response to Yelp’s Dylan Swift


Yelp Snarl

Dylan Swift, Yelp’s Director of National Marketing, spoke this morning at the Driving Sales Executive Summit to a predictably tepid audience. The presentation included a lot of the same old statistics we’ve seen about the rise of mobile trends, and then abruptly ended.

Charlie Vogelheim, looking dashing in his velvet tuxedo jacket, asked a few questions and then invited the audience to submit questions on pieces of paper for Mr. Swift to answer. My question was the last one read, but due to time constraints, Charlie had to paraphrase, and Mr. Swift didn’t address any of the points satisfactorily. So, I’ll try here on DealerRefresh.

I’ll begin with a story…

Authenticity for Car Dealers: Engaging Generation C

In response to Jordan Hyatt’s Presentation at Digital Summit at Mountain View

YouTube Generation C

At the Digital Summit at Mountain View, Jordan Hyatt, Google’s Senior Product and Solutions Specialist of Automotive, gave a presentation called “The Power of YouTube: Video for Dealers,” in which he discussed the concerns of Generation C: the YouTube Generation.

Mr. Hyatt called attention to the fact that our living rooms are fragmenting. A family’s main TV might still be on in the evening, while everyone seated before it divides their attention between it and their own personal devices. This example sums up the crossroads our society finds itself at, with the flagging consumption of passive media and the rising consumption of user-generated active media all mixed up into one flashy mess of distraction.

For business-generated content, this democratization of reach potential creates new opportunities as well as a different set of obstacles to audience acceptance. Four key ideas, Mr. Hyatt went on, should be kept in mind when creating content for Generation C:

  1. Authenticity is everything.
  2. Sharing is the social currency.
  3. People want to watch moments that matter.
  4. Talent is valued over fame.

Arguably, the last three items on the list could be rolled up into the first – Authenticity. People won’t share your content unless it’s real. Moments don’t matter unless they’re real. Celebrity can be artificially manufactured, but talent cannot. Google, through its tireless commitment to improving user experience, has authenticity to spare, but how can a dealership go about developing authenticity through their internet video content?

Cobalt Delivers A Personalized Consumer Experience Online


Car dealers have been promised that Big Data will be enhance their businesses yet for the most part, there have been few products delivered at the automotive retail level. Dataium was one of the first companies to offer car dealers insights based on the millions of data points collected by Dataium from Internet car shoppers.

Today, we are starting to see the other retail products emerge that leverage Big Data. This weekend, I was very excited to see in action an enhancement to Cobalt’s Flex Websites for GM dealers, which creates a Personalized Consumer Experience powered by Cobalt’s Intent Engine.

If you are a regular user of you know when you visit their homepage, it suggests products for you to purchase. It does this by using a data warehouse to analyze your previous clicks, views, actions, and purchases on Amazon so that you are presented a personalized experience. Amazon’s customization is based on actions on their website, but what if the data set could be enriched with offsite data?

The Pros and Cons of Using YouTube at Your Dealership

Video is hot these days, and is a great way to engage your potential customers. When it comes to online video, YouTube is probably the first site that pops into most people’s minds, so I thought it might be a good idea to discuss some of the Pros and Cons of putting your dealership videos on YouTube.

YouTube at Automotive Dealership

The Pros of using YouTube:


When I talk to car dealers about YouTube, invariable one of the first benefits mentioned is search engine optimization (VSEO). Videos hosted on YouTube are indexed well and generally show up highly in search results (after all, YouTube is owned by Google).


Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world? More than 1 Billion unique users visit YouTube each month. Even though 70% of this traffic comes from outside the United States, YouTube still gets over 120 million viewers in the US a month. That’s a lot of eyeballs!

Social Network Integration

Google+, Facebook, Twitter, GMail, and others integrate YouTube embeds into their platform frameworks. That means that when one of your dealership’s YouTube videos is posted to or shared on a social network, a prospect can watch that video directly from his feed or timeline without having to click a link and go to another page

Low Cost

You don’t have to pay YouTube a dime to host your videos. It’s free! You get access to all of those viewers without paying for it. Of course, as one of my former colleagues would say, “YouTube is free if your time isn’t worth anything.” To take full advantage of YouTube, you’ve still got to put the time in to make sure you’re producing compelling content, uploading your videos with good titles, and optimizing the video descriptions with important keywords.

The Cons of using YouTube: