Social media, including review sites, is a space that changes daily. Many dealers don’t have the time or team to stay on top of all the ways you can use social media sites to your advantage. Fortunately, the agents at Digital Air Strike are experts at uncovering new ways to leverage the power of these sites to drive more traffic to your dealership. Here is our top five list for October. More tips are available at: www.digitalairstrike.com/blog/.
#1—Google Places Reviews
Recently Google pulled the plug on integrating reviews from other review sites into Google Places scores. Your star rating on Google Places now only averages reviews from Google users and the links to the other review sites on the Places page have been moved to bottom of your Places page. Why the change? Speculation is that Google used the other review sites early on when they didn’t have their own reviews, but now that they have their own volume of reviews they don’t need the other sites anymore.
Tip—Make sureyou have claimed your Places page so you can complete your profile and respond to reviews. Consistently send happycustomers a link to make it easy for them to leave positive reviews on Google (they no longer have to have Gmail to leave a review). Customers can also “+1” your main website and add you to their personal Google+ page; business +1 pages are not yet released, but once they are be sure you are ready and able to maximize your page and exposure.
#2—Google Maps and Reviews
Google search results are now include “phrases” which are most frequently used to describe your business. These phrases come from sources all across the web including reviews, web pages, and other online references. Google says they have added this feature to “help people quickly identify the characteristics that make a particular place unique.” This could either hurt or help you; it all depends on the words selected by Google. You can’t select your own words/phrases.
Tip—Respond to positive reviews. We’ve seen that the more engagement that a review gets, the more likely it is that Google will pull key phrases from that review. By responding to positive reviews and creating engagement as well as more words/phrases linked to a positive review, this may help Google pull in more positive words than negative. You should still respond to negative reviews, but keep your response brief and avoid repeating any negative words in your response.
Facebook has yet to fully promote its “Marketplace,” but we are seeing use increase rapidly. It is somewhat similar to craigslist.org, as consumers and businesses can post items for sale, but it has a dynamic presentation with more photos and many unique features. Consumers download the app and use it to shop for items while they are on their personal Facebook page and, yes, they send specific vehicle leads which result in car sales! Consumers can even comment on vehicles and link/share them to help your inventory go viral.
Tip—Don’t just integrate your inventory on your Facebook business page. Make sure you get the most exposure by having both new and used inventory on Marketplace. Our dealers are seeing a rapid increase in the number of qualified leads from Facebook and nearly all are from Marketplace, not the inventory listings on their business page.
#4—Social Media Toolbar
Maximize the exposure of your Facebook and Twitter posts by incorporating a social media toolbar on your main dealership website. This allows your content, including posts, videos, offers, and more, will be seen by everyone that visits your website instead of just showing it to a couple hundred followers and “likers.” A toolbar will reduce bounce rates and keep prospects on your main website instead of sending them off to a social site.
Tip—The best toolbars have advanced features including the new Google +1 link, share/send feature, translate functionality, review integration, and full reporting. The best website providers are be able to easily integrate the toolbar and allow you to send them code for any toolbar provider, not just the one they may offer. Don’t take no for an answer if your website provider says a toolbar won’t work; we’ve seen our toolbars work on nearly every type of dealer website.
# 5—Claim Listings and Protect your Online Image
The “www” seems to now stand for “wild, wild west” and you need to have a plan to corral your online image. Are you are aware of all the relevant social media and review sites? Most dealers have active reviews appearing regularly on twelve to fifteen different review sites…and some are on as many as twenty sites. Yet many dealers have not fully completed their profiles or claimed their listings so they may not be getting all the marketing exposure and leads that they should. Make sure you have a designated person or trusted vendor that will set up the sites in your dealership’s name (not their own account) and ensure that the logins and passwords are accessible and protected at all times.
Tip—Have a formal social media policy and training for designated internal staff while requiring that any social media vendors also agree to set up sites in your name and release full access to you as needed and if you no longer work with them. Start a list of all sites and carefully track how you look on each site as well as learn how you can improve your profile. Regularly check the sites to compare how you look versus your competition including the number of total reviews and your star rating compared to theirs.
Alexi Venneri is cofounder and COO of Digital Air Strike, one of the leading social media and online reputation management companies in the nation. Contact Alexi at [email protected] and visit www.digitalairstrike.com/spy for a free surveillance report to uncover new opportunities for your dealership.
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