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

  • Changes in Car Ownership Patterns: Navigating the New Landscape

    No doubt about it: the patterns of car buying and car ownership have changed. Six years after the Great Crash of 2008, the wobbly recovery still hasn’t found its way into most consumers’ wallets. The result? Older cars are spending a longer time on the road before being replaced. The reason? Changing consumer demographics. New car ownership, once the ultimate baby-boomer status symbol, has become insignificant among the younger generation, with the 18-to-34 crowd preferring to spend their $200 billion in annual purchasing power on high-tech gadgetry rather than a new set of wheels. Faced with an extended bout of unsettled economic times plus a generational shift in consumer habits, many auto dealers find themselves at a loss as to how to respond. In today’s blog, we’ll discuss how dealers can thrive and benefit from longer-term car ownership, by uncovering the trends and discovering what is truly fueling them and staying on top of what is in your control: satisfying customer need.Read post

  • Mike Martinez, CMO of DMEautomotive, to Present at the 2014 DrivingSales Executive Summit; and DMEa Selected as a Finalist for the 2014 Innovation Cup

    Mike Martinez’s presentation, “Smartphones and the Purchase Game,” was selected by a panel of auto dealers; joins an agenda that also includes keynotes from digital expert and best-selling author Brian Solis; SEO ‘Wizard’ Rand Fishkin; eMarketer’s lead digital auto analyst, Mike Hudson; Kellogg School of Management marketing professor Florian Zettelmeyer, and online marketing pioneer, Bryan Eisenberg     Daytona Beach, FL – September 30, 2014 – Mike Martinez, CMO of DMEautomotive, has been selected to present at the sixth annual DrivingSales Executive Summit (DSES), the most authoritative profit-building event for innovative dealers. Martinez’s presentation, Smartphones and the Purchase Game, joins an agenda that includes keynotes from digital expert and author Brian Solis, SEO “Wizard” Rand Fishkin, eMarketer’s Lead Digital Auto Analyst, Mike Hudson, Kellogg School of Management Marketing Professor Florian Zettelmeyer, and Managing Partner of Eisenberg Hol...Read post

  • 8 in 10 Dealers Agree the Ideal Sales/Finance Process Should Be Two Hours or Less

    New dealership survey from eLEND Solutions underscores pain points for dealers in Sales/F&I process; 80% report their Sales/Finance process takes two hours or longer   Mission Viejo, CA – September 30, 2014 – A new survey of dealerships* from eLEND Solutions underscores what most dealers know already, that the sales and finance process takes much longer than it should:  80% report their process goes on for two hours or longer and 40% report three hours or longer - while a whopping 82% of dealers say the ideal end-to-end process should take two hours or less.     Survey of dealers shows disconnect between what they think ideal length of the sale/F&I s process should be and what it currently is: How long do you estimate the start-to-finish (sales/financing) transaction takes for your dealership(s)? Ideally, how long would you want your sales & financing process (show to final close) to be? 80% 2-5 hours 82% ...Read post

  • Grass roots advertising

    This year we decided as a dealership to become more involved in events in the community. We came up with a budget for this and jumped in! We are sponsoring the local auto race track and participating in other events in the community. We have participated in 5k events as well as relay for life. we try to do one event per month. We feel that this grass roots adveertising is worth so much....not to mention that it is nice to be involved with events that are good for the community.  We also tie this in to our social media efforts as well. We always have some type of game that people can play and win different prizes.  I am looking to the driving sales community for more ideas for this type of marketing. ...Read post

  • Automotive Video Marketing - It's Easy and It's FREE!

    You see, video supercharges the senses and evokes emotion as the consumer watches. It’s captivating, interesting and something we feel compelled to share. If people enjoy it they will share it with friends, family and even on social media. It’s also very inexpensive to produce and free to broadcast to millions of YouTubers.   According to statistics, the estimated number of global internet users who visit YouTube is over 40 percent mobile users. Four out of every 10 human beings on the planet who log on to the Internet via their phone visits YouTube on a daily basis. YouTube exceeds 4 billion viewers a day, more than doubling the prime-time audience of all three major U.S. broadcast networks combined. Over 4 Billion Viewers Per Day. Think about that! Read post

  • Driving Sales Executive Summit - Some Words by a Vendor for Vendors (dealers too!)

    I would like to address my peers today from a vendor perspective. We often come to these events due to our sponsorships (that big booth!) and our relationships to the industry. Depending on the conference, you may find the majority of your time is spent at the booth trying to demo your product or service. I won't dispute that this is necessary; however, I encourage each and every one of you, including your sales people, and anyone wearing your Vendor badge, to take in as many breakout sessions and keynotes as you/they can. This is absolutely imperative Read post

  • Three Paid Methods to Drive Traffic to Your Inventory

    We've been very careful with how we approach inventory marketing on dealer websites. On one hand, we know that a dealer's inventory is the primary lead and sales driver for dealers. On the other hand, the concept of driving everyone directly to inventory is a flawed one. Sometimes, it's better to put people on an appropriate landing page rather than push them directly to the cars. With that said, we've found that there are three very ways to drive shoppers directly into inventory. They are... PPC This is the obvious one. The no-brainer. Pretty much every PPC vendor in the industry has ways to pull inventory from the website and create targeted ads to pull people directly into vehicle details pages. I'm not going to dwell on it, but I will say this: there are certain ads that should not go directly to VDPs. Lower funnel buyers should definitely be seeing inventory, but many ads that vendors run for dealers should be going to appropriate landing pages instead, especially for higher...Read post

  • Service Marketing - Red Yellow Green

    There are ways to use to the data collected during the inspection process to build automated marketing focused on the right message for the customer based on the inspection process.Read post