Auto dealerships have long been steady advertisers for traditional media outlets. But these businesses have begun to shift some of their ad budgets and other resources to digital. As consumers pay more attention to automotive-focused social media sites, dealers are seeking the best way to boost their presence on these sites, too.
An auto purchase is one of the largest expenditures many consumers face on a regular basis. It should come as no surprise that consumers will look for information and recommendations from a wide range of sources. This includes social media sites. Last month, Digital Air Strike, which specializes in auto social media and reputation management, surveyed recent auto buyers. About 69% of consumers say social media sites offer helpful information on autos and dealerships. The top sites accessed by shoppers include:
- Edmunds 22%
- Cars.com 20%
- Yelp 19%
- Google Reviews 19%
As a result of their findings on these sites, one half of consumers say they stayed with the dealership they have originally selected while 18% either change or select a dealership after reading reviews.
Dealers are getting the message about the importance of social media management. While dealers are exploring this marketing channel, many are not effective with respect to strategy. As an example, Digital Air Strike analysts say that the vast majority of dealers who self-manage social media fail to respond to either positive or negative reviews. In addition, only about 27% employ crowd sourcing – a favorite technique of professional social media partners. This poor attention to detail means that dealers who handle social media in-house average far fewer ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ than the dealers who use social media partners. And, this situation may translate into lower sales.
Analysts at Digital Air Strike say this points to a need for dealers to hire professional partners. However, dealers could interpret these findings differently and decide that they will commit additional resources in-house to their social media efforts in order to connect with more potential auto buyers.[Source: Digital Air Strike Releases First Automotive Study. Digitalairstrike.com. 16 May 2012. Web. 31 May 2012]