Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Filed in: Marketing

How Google Social Search Has Changed the Way Dealers Do Social

By JD Rucker on Feb 17, 2011

Every few months, we see a dip in sentiment regarding social media. It's been going on consistently since early 2009 and we know that it will continue. Dealers try social, see little reason to continue, and set things on autopilot or abandon it altogether. Then, something changes that makes social media more important and the searches for "Automotive Social Media" spike again.

Get ready to do the search. Social just got more important again. A LOT more important.

During the Digital Marketing Strategies Conference in Napa last earlier this month, I gave a keynote that highlighted Google's commitment to social media (as soon as Jared, Bart, and Arnold send me the video, I'll be happy to post it here... hint, hint). Google reaffirmed that commitment in a big way earlier today that will change the way savvy dealers do social media.

Google Social Search

Google Social Search is a game changer - even SearchEngineLand, a blog that is often conservative about the impact of Google changes, agrees. It will insert links into the natural search stream based upon social connections that share and produce those links. While social search itself has been around for nearly 2 years, it has always been a side-note buried at the bottom and likely unnoticed by most. Now, it has the potential to change the search results important to us with a single Tweet, review, or blog post.

With access to Beta, I did 2 searches for "Washington DC Chevrolet." The first, I did while not logged into Google, personalized search off and cookies cleared:

Washington DC Honda Organic Search

Then, I did the exact same search while logged into Google:

Washington DC Chevrolet Social Search

As you can see, a post by good friend Paul Rushing popped up at the top.

What does this mean for search and social? It means that social sentiment, which many dealers are paying attention to more regularly, just got that much more important. It means that dealers who are unprepared have the potential to see their search traffic drop, particularly if a competing dealer in the market is able to take advantage of this.

It means that YOU can beat them all to the punch and start getting prepared today before it rolls out fully.

I am in the middle of exhaustive research on the subject right now, but here are some key points to think about while you wait for our next version of the Automotive Social Media strategy guide:

  • - Tweets Matter. A Lot. - Imagine a potential customer doing a search for one of your makes in your metro area (the most common new car search; "Denver Ford," for example). They under one of the results close to the top your dealership's listing. It's not at the top, but something catches their eye... Co-worker Debbie tweeted your dealership URL. They click through and see that 14 months ago, Debbie bought a car there and tweeted about how good her experience was. Bingo.
  • - If You Thought Reviews Were Important Before... - As Google always does when they roll out new search features, we can expect expansion. While Facebook is almost completely out of the question for integration, reviews are definitely part of the equation. Same scenario as above, except replace "Tweet" with "RatePoint." Bingo again.
  • - That Pesky Blogger... - Remember the guy who thought he'd wreck your business by posting on his blog about how you low-balled him on his trade? You were smart and covered your Google page one results to keep his post off, but now it's showing up again for hundreds, even thousands of people who are either connected to him or connected to someone who shared his post on social media.
  • - Your Connections. - Now more than ever, having a strong and well-maintained Twitter account is important. Do you still have an RSS feed handling your Tweets, driving potential customers to unfollow you, or are you growing your account and being interesting? If the subtle, intrinsic benefits of Twitter didn't get your attention before, how about moving your website up to the top of hundreds of searches? Still want to automate?

I'm not going to sit here and say "I told you so." Not here. Not on Driving Sales. The dealers here represent the top echelon of automotive social media knowledge so you're probably taking advantage of social media in one way or another. Don't let up. Stay aggressive. Keep up with the changes.

And don't forget to bug Jared about getting me that video. It has some information that may further change the way you do your social media.

Comments

Great article JD, your keynote in NAPA was top shelf plus it turned me onto Klout which I've been investigating every night before I go home. Thanks for sharing.

Feb 18, 2011

My big question is how Google knows who I am friends with?

Feb 18, 2011

Klout is signing a big deal with a big company soon. Not Google yet, but pretty darn significant...

Feb 18, 2011

Your Google account can be attached to social accounts, blogs, websites, etc. One of the features of the new rollout is that when they discover something (such as a Twitter account) that they believe may belong to you, they'll prompt you to connect it to Google.

As people continue to integrate social media into different aspects of their daily lives, it makes sense that a good portion will connect. Many will avoid it like the plague, but others will embrace it like a cute little puppy.

Feb 18, 2011

My question: how many consumers actively have google accounts? Do many just have google as a shortcut and then search away?

No google account means social search doesn't show up, right? I think this CAN be a game changer where dealerships are concerned and I will continue to blog and tweet away to keep my competition at bay :) but not sure this is going to change things overnight...

just sayin'

Feb 18, 2011

JD
Your presentation at the 2011 Digital Marketing Strategies Conference was an eye opener for me as well. Thank you for sharing and giving us another thing to consider for our digital marketing and social media strategy.

I've been thinking more since your presentation about how dealers can leverage social signals to increase their local relevance. I have also started some tests and as soon as I have some data, I'll be sharing it here on DrivingSales.com.

The goods news is that know you will be sharing some of your updated research at the 2011 Automotive Marketing Boot Camp on April 16-18th in Orlando. I hope to see many DrivingSales.com members at the event.

Details can be found at http://www.automotivemarketingbootcamp.com.

Feb 18, 2011

Definitely won't change things overnight, but as Google has declared "100% focus on social and mobile" we can expect much more people to integrate. Android has big benefits associated with connecting accounts and it's the fastest-growing email carrier.

They are pushing everything they can to be integrated. They extended the free GTalk phone service, superior to Skype, Google Voice, and literally hundreds of other services to encourage as many people as possible to create accounts and stay signed on.

Moving Marissa Mayer, the executive in charge of the $20 billion revenue hog at adwords, to mobile and social.

Google's only real competition Google acknowledges is Facebook. All of their efforts will be geared around keeping them down. Will they succeed at pushing their social agenda? Probably not, unfortunately. Either way, it will still be a game-changer, even if it only adjusts 30% of US searches. They're shooting for 50%.

Feb 18, 2011

Definitely!

Feb 18, 2011

JD - Is your NAPA presentation on Slideshare?

Nice post. This helps validate the efforts behind creating strong social profiles over the last few years.

As Google changes the way they measure relevancy & social influence, these tools will be part of the mix.

Speaking of of Google "products" to leverage - be sure to fill up your Google bookmarks using the new Delicious bookmark import tool: https://www.google.com/bookmarks

Feb 19, 2011

Jared and Bart are the only ones apparently who have any remnant of the presentation. Tell them to send me a copy of the video, please! I've got tons of people who want (need) to see it.

Feb 19, 2011

Comments 1 - 10 of 0

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

JD Rucker's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • Should Dealers Target Everybody or a Selection of Buyers with their Advertising?

    At first glance, it's an easy question with an instant answer. Car dealers want to target everyone within driving distance with their message. As Ripley said in Aliens, "It's the only way to be sure." Upon closer examination, problems start to pop up. Even if we assume that "everybody" is actually a large portion of the audience (since you can't reach everybody from a literal sense), there are still holes in the strategy. Those who have extremely large marketing budgets could do it, but even then they really shouldn't. Here's why: At any given moment at most 3% of the adult driving population is in or near the market for buying one of your vehicles and that's if you have a very popular brand. For many brands it's under 1%. Reaching all of them requires large mass-media buys and a shotgun approach. Based upon diminishing returns, the second $10,000 can be less effective than the first, the third $10,000 will be less effective than the second... etc. Targeting is getting much, much...Read post

  • Yelp! WTF

    I’m not complaining about this at all. We could use more of these 5 star reviews to actually stick. But, it does make me wonder… Read post

  • Celebrate Summer with All-Star Baseball

    Every year, thousands of Major League Baseball games are played with millions in attendance. These same baseball fans are gearing up for the long awaited All-Star Game coming up July 14th.  Believe it or not, your dealership can leverage these enthusiasts’ excitement to drive sales and service business. How, you ask? With creative, relevant marketing. Check out these three ideas to celebrate summer with All-Star baseball. Get Active Here in Cincinnati, if the Reds combine 11 strikeouts during a home game, LaRosa’s (a local pizzeria) allows every fan with a ticket from that game to redeem it for a free pizza. This is an example of how a local business can get involved with the sport of baseball to promote their brand. Similarly, your dealership could offer discounts for events that transpire during the All-Star Game, such as offering $10 oil changes if a local player hits a home run or a similar promotion that may fit your particular business model.  Create a Contest Everybody l...Read post

  • 5 Simple Link Building Strategies for Small Businesses

    When someone new to digital marketing reads about link building strategies, it’s likely a confusing and stressful experience. The reason is, most people try to complicate the process to sell services by convincing you there’s something proprietary about their methods. Now, most businesses should consider SEO or link building services if they want to get results, but the cost is something many small businesses simply can’t afford. But instead of just forgoing link building altogether, you need solutions that fit your business, right? That’s why I’ve put together a list of five simple link building strategies that small businesses can start immediately. So take notes and start building links!   Sponsor Something Locally or Create Your Own Event Local businesses are often asked to sponsor events, children’s sports teams, and school functions. And while many see some of these are charitable or simply promotional, most of the organizations looking for sponsorship wou...Read post

  • Managed vs Self-Serve Chat

    The automotive industry is really starting to come around to the idea that they must have chat on their websites. It has moved from being a luxury to becoming a requirement due to the increased use of mobile and the trend towards real-time communication. Now, the debate has been shifting to an old question: manged or self-serve? There are advantages and disadvantages to each that we've discovered and we'd love to hear from the DrivingSales community about their opiinon. As we covered on a recent blog post, the reasons for managed are plentiful: 24/7 Coverage Professional, Consistent Responses Experience of Managing Chat Constantly Proven Scripts Over Off-The-Cuff Replies For every argument, there's a counter-argument. Self-serve chat software has its own advantages: Live Answers to Inventory Questions Direct Appointments Instead of Inquiries Dealership Personality Again, we offer both so we have all of the horses in this race. We simply want to know what you guys think. What...Read post

  • Who's Down The Street? How to Differentiate Yourself In A Busy World

    Look around, who’s your biggest (local) competition. If you’re like most of us, you know who they are, you constantly see their sales numbers and wonder  how can you beat them this month? What do they have that you don’t? You have the same cars, right? You have the same (more or less) finance programs? You have the same style dealership? If these answers are “yes,” it’s time you do something to differentiate yourself from the dealership down the street.  When the OEM’s consistently make every dealership “look” the same, what does it take to stand out in a sea of non descript buildings (& colored cars for the most part.)?   Do you have a mission statement? Is that mission statement displayed in your dealership? What about in your “virtual dealership?” What’s your virtual dealership? Your website! How many visits does your website get a week or a mont h? I bet it’s more visitors than people who walk into your showroom. There’s really no need to ad...Read post

  • Internet data.....what is the most important metric?

    I am in a nada internet 20 group. We share lots aof ideas and lots of data at each meeeting. Most of our meetings center around our internet composite. It is much like the financial commposite that nada uses for other 20 group meetings. It has everyones internet data in it and rates and ranks each member under different measurements. It is a great accountabilty tool that we use as a group. One section is dedicated to analytics off of our website. the other two sections are for cars.com and autotrader data.  While there are a ton of measurements in our composite I am trying to figure oout which are the most important. Originally we ranked evry page by bounce rate. We have found that a higher bounce rate is not always a problem. If you market properly and get the person to the page that they want to be on it could result in a bounce. Pages per visit fall in to this category as well. So does time on site.  Some of the othe measurements in our composite are thigs such as Number of v...Read post

  • Enough With the Windsocks. It's 2015.

    I am tired of people talking about how digital media is becoming a presence and how it needs to incorporated it into automotive marketing. Truly--how many dealerships are NOT using some form of social media, digital advertising, or marketing to drive people online and on-lot? We are past the point of why and moving into the thick of how. How to do it well. How to do it right.  It is 2015--how are you reaching out to your customers? If you are relying on a giant, flapping windsock, you may want to rethink your dealership marketing strategy. You know what I am talking about--the one that flaps in the wind and steals your attention from the road as you are driving down the street. That windsock has taken on a new digital life--one that is just as distracting and may not drive as many customers to your site and lot as you would think. Here Are The Digital Equivalents of the Giant Windsock: The Loud/Messy/Distracting Website Have you visited your dealership page lately? Not as a...Read post