Don’t Ignore Your Online Reputation

Social media best practices for 2016

In 2002, shoppers visited approximately five automotive dealerships prior to purchasing a vehicle. In 2012, that number was cut down to 1.4, which means that the consumers that visit your lot have probably already defined their consideration set and are ready to buy. Shoppers no longer need to physically be at your dealership to view pricing, inventory, or financing options, so 90% of automotive shoppers are starting their journeys online and not in the physical showroom.

Although you may have your website covered, don’t forget that social media and review sites are a huge part of a shopper’s decision-making process. In fact, 76.3% of shoppers will be influenced by online reviews in order to determine not only what to buy, but where to buy it—and location is no longer as important a factor, with 31% of shoppers willing to drive up to 100 miles to have the right purchase experience.

If you’re ignoring your online reputation, you may be eliminating yourself from shopper consideration without knowing it. Don’t rely on in-store traffic to make your sales quotas heading into 2016.

Craft meaningful review responses

Responding to comments on social and review sites requires the same discipline as following up with leads or escalating complaints. Replying with a copied-and-pasted response five days after a consumer leaves you a nasty message online doesn’t help you repair your tarnished reputation, and it shows other shoppers that you don’t care enough to take the time to write a real response.

Set yourself up for success by understanding how best to react to consumer complaints online.

Manage a crisis with care

If the worst happens and your social media manager has accidentally posted something that was meant for private eyes, don’t panic—but do move quickly. You’re not alone; some of the biggest brands in the world have made mistakes on public social pages. There are three main steps that can help you deal with the situation:

  • Delete your mistake
  • Acknowledge what happened
  • Apologize for the error

Generate quality content

Always make sure your social media content is of high quality by:

  • Planning out your content in advance
  • Speaking with your brand’s voice
  • Remembering your content doesn’t always have to be about you
  • Posting as consistently as you’re able to support content
  • Understanding what your customers are interested in
  • Keeping your content focused

With so many customers willing to drive up to 100 miles to a dealership with a great online reputation, making sure that you’re responding to reviews or social engagements can keep you in consideration. Now you can be assured that the three-quarters of consumers influenced by your reviews are influenced in a positive way—and you’ve made a strong case to be the one dealership out of the 1.4 the shopper is going to visit.

Katherine Lyman is director of product marketing for Outsell, a Minneapolis-based digital marketing software firm. She can be reached at (612) 236-1500,, or

Katherine Lyman


  1. Avatar
    WedigTech December 21, 2015

    It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.
    ORM for any business owner or organization is a major issue. If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.
    That’s so great to hear, Very well presented the facts
    Great article and a good read.


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