This is part 1 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.
Understanding the Three Stages of Your Dealership’s Social Media Presence
Arguably the most important lesson I’ve learned in the 9 months that I’ve been analyzing car dealers’ social media profiles and pages is that there’s no formula that can be applied to them universally. There’s a plan that can be applied, but every dealer has unique strengths and weaknesses within their presence that requires adjustments in direction to get them onto the right strategic track.
Some have a strong presence that allows them to integrate directly into an aggressive strategy starting immediately. Others have to work the EdgeRank algorithm for a little while before they can successfully post aggressive content like inventory items. There are those who were so butchered over the years that it’s better to start from scratch rather than try to fix their existing presence, particularly on Facebook. Thankfully, the majority of dealers are in a neutral state – not bad, not good, ready to get going.
Instagram VS Vine Video – and your dealership
This afternoon, Instagram rolled out a major update that supports the creation of 15 second video clips, which raises the obvious question — what does this mean for Vine, which everyone describes as “like Instagram, but with video?”
Interestingly, at around the exact time I saw Instagram’s announcement, our Vine account was followed by a string of transparently spammy accounts, the first burst of its kind I’ve seen on our Vine so far:
There’s something very “Instagrammy” about the way these spam accounts look. Could it be this was a coordinated effort to help convince people to shut down their Vines? Is there such a thing as a strategic Spambot onslaught? Surely not.
The new Instagram Video feature is pretty much like you’d expect. From the screen where you used to choose between uploading an existing photo and snapping a new one, you now have the option to select a video camera icon:
From there, you simply hold down the record button in small bursts until you have enough video to post.
What I like about Instagram Video: [Read more…]
The REAL details of using Instagram at the Dealership
I’ve read a lot about whether dealerships should use Instagram or not, so here’s my take on it.
Instagram is, in my opinion, an incredible tool to start new conversations with real people in your community in ways that the “Big 4” simply cannot touch right now.
Instagram users generally WANT their pictures to be seen, liked, and commented on.
A large part of the popularity of the app lies in the ease with which you can turn an ordinary photo into something beautiful. There is a sense among Instagrammers that they’re engaging in a creative act by adding content, and who doesn’t like their works of art to be admired?
What is your Klout score?
Are you obsessed with it?
Are you checking it each day, and when you find that is has dropped, are you devastated? Before I go further, let me share –
I feel like I bear some responsibility for this.
It was just last year that I spoke about Klout in my Digital Dealer 11 review. I even went so far as to share the current Klout scores of several folks in the automotive industry. As I look back today, it seems that Klout has developed a whole new group of automotive folks that are the “most influential” according to the Klout scoring system – but something seems wrong with this.
Great influencers? Or great gamers?
If I log into Klout and look at the list of the “top influencers” in my screen, I have to ask myself – “Are these folks really influencers to me?” – and the answer is that many of them are not. The brutal truth is I consider many of the folks on the list to be great “gamers” with the Klout scoring system, but not necessarily real influencers in the industry.
While they do a great job placing lots of posts, tweets, pics, check-ins, and more, they aren’t necessarily the experts that Klout might portray them to be.
Have you looked at your Google Analytics data lately?
Have you noticed the rise of visitors to your dealers website that are using mobile devices? When you look, you will see that 10-20% of website traffic is coming from consumers using mobile devices. It should come as no surprise that a majority of those users have Apple devices.
What are your MOBILE WEBSITE numbers? – Click here after reading this article to join the discussion.
Most dealers have been coached to engage consumers using social media. Dealers have active blogs, Facebook, and Twitter accounts but has anyone told them that they are disappointing the same consumers they seek to engage?
How are consumers being disappointed? Dealers share a link to a page on their website via Facebook, Twitter, Digg, or LinkedIn and mobile device users can’t always get to the page. The page is viewable from a desktop device but not a mobile device.
Technology Gaps Complicate Seamless Internet Shopping
This phenomena is caused by a current technology gap in most automotive website platforms. Most website vendors have created separate desktop websites and mobile websites for dealers. So, when a mobile user clicks on a link shared on Twitter or Facebook, it often will just dump the mobile user to the home page of the mobile site because the mobile site does not have page referenced in social media posts.
CarMax on Twitter
I have a confession, when I first jumped on Twitter I had no clue what I was doing. I would log-in from time to time and retweet an interesting article or add what I thought was a nugget of wisdom, but overall I had no clue what a hash tag was, much less a retweet.
After I had a bit more experience and actually threw myself into using it, I realized the golden rule of Twitter – the entire system is built on relationships. You can’t jump on and off, posting vehicle inventory or your newest YouTube ad and expect to build a following. You have to invest the time and energy to actually engage with people in your network.
Twitter has a language all its own and the more you tap into the power of receiving and sharing relevant news, the wider your network will grow. Below I want to share best practices from a dealership I’ve seen rocking their Twitter brand on a daily basis.
HomeNet Gives Dealers Command of Their In-Market Social Media Landscape With SOCIALDEALER
February 2, 2011 (West Chester, PA) – HomeNet announced it is now reselling SOCIALDEALER, the most complete social media management (SMM) platform available, and tying it back to the inventory of users of HomeNet’s Inventory Online (IOL) Vehicle Marketing Suite.
SOCIALDEALER gives automotive dealers the ability to leverage their current sales and service customers to connect and engage on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and other social networks to market their dealership’s brand and inventory to the online community, all from one location.
“By tying in with HomeNet’s inventory, SOCIALDEALER becomes an intelligent, inventory-specific prospecting tool that completely transforms how the dealership can finds new customers,” said Phil Penton, HomeNet’s VP of Business Development. “From the millions of social conversations on the web, it can distill identifiable, live, in-market prospects. It then allows the dealer to isolate those shoppers most likely to purchase from them and engage with them.”
“And, connecting to new buyers is just one part of the solution,” said Joe Castle, SOCIALDEALER’s CEO and founder. “SOCIALDEALER also allows dealers to market in real-time to the online community with highly relevant information to drive more sales and service leads to the dealership.”
For instance, SOCIALDEALER hosts inventory on Facebook, monitors brand reputation, observes the competition online, effectively markets every department within the dealership, and even finds relevant articles and other fresh content to post, ensuring the dealership is an ongoing resource to their online community.
“The social media landscape is rich with active car buyers, but they are so scattered, and the potential for engaging shoppers so fleeting, that social media can be overwhelming to penetrate,” added Castle. “Because SOCIALDEALER automates much of the process and provides such focus, it becomes efficient and cost-effective for the dealer to command that landscape with precision.”
About SOCIALDEALER: SOCIALDEALER was founded in 2008 by a group of automotive industry professionals who, in a challenging economy, realized the need for a change from traditional to revolutionary auto dealer marketing in order to evolve profitably. SOCIALDEALER launched its forward-thinking Automotive Social Media Management Platform into the hands of Revolutionary Digital Dealers. In 2010, SOCIALDEALER launched a social media management tool that gives dealers the ability to enter into the cluttered, fast-changing world of auto marketing through the use of social media to build their business, engage with customers, and drive dealership customer retention and loyalty.
About HomeNet Automotive, LLC: HomeNet Automotive helps the automobile industry save time and sell more vehicles. It is the leading provider of inventory merchandising, management, and marketing solutions, led by its flagship product, Inventory Online (IOL) Internet Marketing Suite. IOL is a web-based vehicle marketing solution relied upon by thousands of automotive dealers to engage buyers online and bring them into the showroom by streamlining the process of converting raw vehicle data into consumer-friendly and emotional online ads. With 120 employees, HomeNet has garnered numerous awards, including a spot on Inc. Magazine’s “Inc. 5000” for the third year in a row, its fourth recognition by the prestigious magazine in as many years. HomeNet, based in West Chester, PA, with offices across the U.S., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AutoTrader.com, a leading automotive marketplace and consumer information website . For more information, please email [email protected], visit www.homenetauto.com, or call (877) 738-3313.
Since Google began testing “Realtime Search,” we have seen several incarnations including a scrolling area on the main search page. With the announcement last week of the new “Realtime Search,” I found a renewed interest in the possibilities of another strong source of SEO. What I discovered left me scratching my head and consequently consumed a larger part of my morning than I had to spare. My SEO and content was being hijacked!
What I found on the “Realtime Search” updates page was a list of threads all from Twitter. Some I recognized, but some were a bit disturbing. We use a lot of video at our dealerships and I have known for a long time that our online video content was being scraped for use on other non-related sites. It never really bothered me because even though the sites using it had their own agenda, they were generally rogue video sites that appeared to be harmless. Besides, the video was there and the headline was the same, so it added to our SERP.
What I discovered after drilling down into the “Realtime Search” results was [Read more…]
The recent post on the DealerRefresh forums about Social Media Gurus and scams led to the idea that some information might be helpful to dealers in deciding who to hire and trust.
Here are some questions to consider:
How can you research a company or consultant when they claim to be social media gurus?
What’s considered authentic in terms of social media consulting for your dealership?
These are justifiable questions, that deserve to be answered with examples of work and real results. It’s difficult however, for a company who isn’t quite clear on the examples they’ve been provided to make a confident decision on whether they’re hiring a quality provider.
Lets dive in and discuss five ways you can do some due diligence when selecting a high quality social media provider. [Read more…]