After spending all of February visiting and analyzing dealership websites, one thing stuck with me that has raised a large concern. In my understanding of being successful online driving traffic to the website is just the first step. The next and probably the most important step is making sure people drive deep into the website and ultimately convert to either a web form, chat conversation or a phone call. But, I have found an alarming number of dealerships placing their social media links like FaceBook, Twitter, Youtube, dealership blog, Digg and a host of additional social media connection points on their homepage, which is linking shoppers away from their websites. I know some people will say that all this is doing is launching another browser, which preserves the dealership website beneath but is it really? Let’s be honest and call a spade a spade. It drives people away from the website. If the dealership is lucky this will only be temporarily but it may be permanently.
Is this counterintuitive? The more thought I put into it I realized a couple of things. First, people who come to a dealership website are in most cases looking for a vehicle, trying to get directions or looking to schedule service. Placing social media icons on the homepage in the manner in which it is being done currently only potentially drives people away from the site at a critical time during the consumer click path. Second, is this the right time and place to try to socially connect with a shopper? They just landed on your front door and now you are potentially driving them away from your dealership.
With this entire buzz around social media I found myself questioning the merits of using such tactics to increase our fans or subscribers or whatever is the latest and greatest next generation gobbly gook. I know it’s so important to build a large social media following, but not at the cost of a potential sales or service opportunity. I really think there has to be a better and different way to engage shoppers, whether it is button location or something else to build the dealerships social networks without driving people off the dealerships website.
Then it hit me… stay tuned for what I show you on my next post.