October 24, 2011
“If a user provides new information about a business they know — or if our system identifies information from another source on the web that may be more recent than the data the business owner provided via Google Places — the organic listing will automatically be updated and the business owner will be sent an email notification about the change.” READ MOREThis program has existed in the past at Google Places with a 60 day window, but now the frequency of updates will change. The question some dealers are asking is how much is Google going to trust in these third-party edits? The end-goal may be to keep their databases more accurate, but potential human error is much greater coming from outside sources than from the businesses placing themselves on Google Places to begin with. There is some benefit in the program, as it also encourages users to keep their own pages accurate, which can only be a good thing for dealerships when so many consumers look for information and reviews on Google first. These changes sparked some debate on the DrivingSales automotive community. One pro of Google’s changes is that dealers need to keep their pages more accurate, which they should be doing already, but the con comes from questioning just how accurate these outside updates are going to be. An indisputable point made in the discussion is that dealers should not be using Google Places exclusively for their reputation management. Google Places is useful for dealers, partially to send customers there to add reviews that will help elevate their reputation, but also in monitoring what is being said. This does not mean, however, that a dealership should consider Google Places the only location they can accomplish this, especially after Google dropped third-party integration from other review sites this past summer. Are you concerned about this and other changes with Google Places, or are you remaining calm in the interim as suggested by this recent article on DealerRefresh? Regardless, don’t put all of your reputation management eggs in the one Google basket. Keep an eye on as many review sites as you can to best monitor what consumers are saying about you. Image by: Chris Hamilton
September 12, 2011
“While offline forms of word-of-mouth remain critical for all automotive franchise brands, and certainly for small or locally based independent car dealers and businesses of all kinds, social media also plays a valuable role by giving customers a wider voice for their dealership experience reviews, product and dealer recommendations and helping to amplify that voice beyond their immediate circle of friends, family and colleagues.” READ MOREThe best way to leverage your paid media is to see where you can incorporate earned media into those dollars spent. Use services like PRWeb to spread important news about your brand with press releases. Maintain your usual advertizing and paid media practices. But also make sure you are a part of the conversation happening online, because ignoring this new word of mouth may cost you more of those paid media dollars than you might anticipate.
August 8, 2011
“The thing is this: we’re using these tools to enable new connections. We’re using them to make different kinds of business happen. We’re using these tools to help causes that matter, and so much more.” READ MORESo for dealers and automotive professionals already involved with or looking to get invited to Google+, keep in mind that this is not the same old social media site. Do something different this time around and find new innovations to make your brand stand out.
“Why wouldn’t you want to know what your customers think of you? You then have the opportunity to use positive reviews and build relationships and possibly overcome any negative reviews,” said Ney. READ MOREStaying ahead of your reputation management is key, and can also show you where you might improve and what your customers want and expect from you. Keeping track of what customers are saying also offers insight into your competition, because as easy as it is to find reviews for your dealership, the same is true for every one of your competitors.<?p> DrivingSales looked at how reviews can best be leveraged using examples from Prestige Volvo, rated the #1 Volvo dealer in the country. Prestige Volvo strives to ask 100% of their customers for a review after purchase or service, even for a possible video review, so that potential customers can see the videos and positive feedback about their dealership wherever they go. You can see the full video interview with Prestige Volvo here. Some new challenges have arisen lately for monitoring reviews and keeping ahead of brand perception. Google Places dropped third-party reviews the other week from the main page of Google Maps. Dealers that had some 100+ reviews now only list a few, since only reviews posted directly to Google are being displayed. DrivingSales and dealerELITE reported on the loss of this additional review aggregation. The important thing to remember in the fallout of the development is that Google Places is best used for its direct reviews anyway, and the loss of third-party reviews shouldn’t be discouraging so much as an incentive to ask satisfied customers to go to Google Places and review for themselves. That being said, don’t ignore reviews from third-party sites. Make sure you are on top of your reputation management, especially when it comes to social media sites where people tend to speak more freely. Embrace your reviews online, because that is where your brand is taking shape in the minds of consumers.
April 8, 2011
An Automotive Industry Game Changer
There has been some unrest since Google dropped support of QR Codes last week and seems to be leaning toward another technology, near-field communication (NFC) chips. Google has said that previous businesses with QR Codes linking to their Google Places pages will continue to work. The company is merely investigating alternative options.
Despite Google’s recent move, don’t underestimate the current viability of QR Codes. They are easy to produce and use, and have been appearing more and more to the average consumer, whereas NFC chips are not as widely known. Waiting on this technology to see what comes out ahead could be disastrous.
Paul Potratz and his “Think Tank Tuesday” for automotive industry tips has had two short videos on the use and tracking of QR Codes, with a huge emphasis on the importance of getting involved now to stay ahead of the industry curve:
“[Smartphones are] a game changer for automotive sales and for marketing and for the simple fact of how the QR Code comes into play.”
He seems certain that dealerships not using QR Codes for advertising are missing out on dynamically reaching tens of thousands of smartphone savvy customers, and he is not alone.
January 17, 2011
Cell phones were the first mobile revolution. Now smartphones are the only way to go. Calling and texting isn’t enough anymore for the savvy consumer. Internet access and countless apps are a small part of what are becoming expected features in even the basest models.
Looking to the automotive world, there are apps for everything from navigation to checking tire pressure and demand is increasing for options beyond personal smartphone use in the car since being on the phone is a potentially dangerous distraction for drivers.
The Car Tech Blog reported on ways the automotive industry is trying to keep up with the smartphone revolution:
“Finding and implementing a way to safely integrate social networking and other apps in the car is more feasible than fighting the trend.”
The applications and features available with most smartphones are translating across the automotive industry increasingly progressively. This goes beyond stereo systems, navigation, and Bluetooth. We now have full multimedia systems available in vehicles that are as sophisticated as the most high-tech smartphone.