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Social media has always been an important part of DrivingSales.com. Not only because we’re a social platform built to connect dealers and their ideas to increase dealership profitability, but because we’ve always been certain of the impact that social media has on our lives in general and the enormous influence it has in the automotive industry in particular.
Just like car dealers don’t use marketing tools or strategies without meticulously quantifying their ROI, we now have the hard-crunched numbers indicating just how important social media really is. Finally, for the first time in the automotive industry, Dealer.com, in partnership with DriverSide and GfK Automotive, is providing us with the very data that supports our dedication. Announced today exclusively to DrivingSales and presented at the 2011 DrivingSales Executive Summit in Las Vegas, the results of the study show that information on social media networks - such as status updates, comments and "likes" - plays a significant and expanding role in car-buying experience. In fact, 38% of new vehicle shoppers said they used or will use social media to research their next vehicle purchase. Of those who used Facebook while shopping, 41% said they saw a post that caused them to add a brand or model to their consideration; similarly, 28% said they saw a posting that caused them to add a dealership to their consideration.
The study delves into the behaviors of car shoppers as they interact with others on social media platforms like Facebook. At the end of the day, people prefer information from people they trust – their friends. When someone on Facebook broadcasts that they like a specific car or dealership, their friends take that into consideration. And it’s likely that they’ll do that -- approximately 25% of buyers use social media post-purchase to broadcast their purchase and ownership experience, showing a high level of engagement after the purchase. This number jumps to 33% for those loyal to a particular brand, and 37% for those loyal to a dealership.
And with the average person on Facebook having 170 friends, that’s ton of people that they are sharing that information with. I know, I know. Most of you are concerned that people could be sharing negative information about your brand, right? Well, qualm your fears because the study also demonstrated that 82% of the time that people are posting about their car purchase, they are posting about a positive experience and only 5% of the time are they writing something negative. With all that advocacy potential, perhaps it’s more important to focus on your customers once they drive off the lot.
Fittingly titled The Rise of Loyalty, Advocacy and Influence: Social Media and the New Automotive Buying Cycle, the study results progress from people advocating for your brand, to becoming loyal to it to the point that they don’t even consider other brands, and finally moving forward to the inevitable influence they have over the people in their social networks to consider your brand as well. This new person-to-person marketing demonstrates how the advocacy of others is becoming more important than traditional marketing.
Thank you to Dealer.com for sharing this incredible research with the DrivingSales Community. The possibilities are endless and the study is a cornerstone piece that surely defines our future path in the automotive industry.