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I recently had a demonstration of Dealer.com’s Social Relationship Manager (SRM), and I was so impressed that I decided to write a formal review of the product.
The raw potential of SRM should advance the widespread adoption of two software categories in the automotive sector. Social Relationship Manager is both a content syndication platform as well as a reputation management platform.
Dealer.com has fired the warning shot over the bow for stand-alone products that offer car dealers software dashboards to manage their online reputation or social media engagement. Customers of Dealer.com will find it hard to justify paying for third party reputation management, and social media publishing tools, since SRM integrates tightly with other powerful features of the Dealer.com platform for only $399 a month.
Content Publishing For Car Dealers
I’ve long been an advocate for content publishing strategies for online branding and marketing. In 2008 I stated at an automotive conference, “the most important hire next year for a car dealer will be a content writer”. That statement was true then and more urgent today; however, I was a few years ahead of the market.
Content syndication tools make it easier and more affordable for dealers to start their own content publishing strategy. In fact, at the NADA Convention in San Francisco, Digital Compass Marketing announced the release of Dealer Syndicator (DS), web-based software for members of the Automotive Advertising Network (AAN). Dealer Syndicator leverages content syndication technology over the thousands of websites in the AAN network. Dealer.com and the AAN are leading the way in this exciting new product category.
In 2011, content syndication software will be a fast growing segment for progressive dealers who have a strong digital marketing strategy.
What is content syndication? Content syndication tools take exclusive and/or modified content and publish it across social media websites, microsites, or a private network of automotive sites.
Content syndicator tools simplify managing multiple logins across blogs, microsites, and social media sites. With a single login dealers can view, monitor, and post to dozens of websites.
In benchmarking tests conducted by PCG Digital Marketing, content syndication tools will increase the productivity of the internal or outsourced content writers 100-300%, depending on the task. This increase in productivity easily justifies the investment in syndication software for dealers with an active digital marketing strategy.
Content syndication tools use a single-login to allow car dealers to craft original content about dealership news, sales, promotions, incentives and post that content on multiple website platforms. Content syndication tools integrate and directly publish content into all popular blogging and social media websites that include Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, LinkedIn, Blogger, TypePad, Slideshare, Posterous, and dealer customized microsites using these blogging platforms.
SRM Is Platform Independent
Social Reputation Manager (SRM) is the first time Dealer.com has created a software platform that can be used by any dealer regardless of whether the dealer is a Dealer.com customer or not.
According to Dealer.com, “Social Relationship Manager is designed to Listen, Talk, and Connect with today’s social customers”. Platform independence is one of the reasons I was very excited about SRM because any dealer that wanted to double the productivity for their content writers could purchase SRM and amplify their investments.
Dealers who have not started to leverage content writing and social media now have another reason to get in the pool: SRM makes it easy and cost effective! The price/performance of SRM also makes it a strong product consideration for any dealer that may be using tools by Xteres.com or GoSo.com.
Social Relationship Manager in a Nutshell
Social Relationship Manager is a multi-function dashboard that summarizes the most important elements of a dealer’s online presence. From one login, dealership staff can review changes in online reviews, leverage OEM news on blogs and social media platforms, and amplify their brand across the Internet in a fraction of the time!
Looking At The Social Relationship Manager Dashboard
In the photo above, you can see how the SRM dashboard would appear to dealership employees. The initial dashboard screen is divided into six regions, which summarize the current snapshot of time for the dealership. The top navigation menu provides fast access to the core features of SRM:
I found the product navigation menus and overall user interface intuitive. After a few minutes it was clear how to navigate the product, which should be encouraging to dealers. This is a sophisticated product that anyone can use with ease.
Content Syndication Strategies
Let’s start with one of my favorite topics; content syndication.
I’m a proponent of content and inventory syndication and the SRM allows dealers to monitor ANY RSS news feed and syndicate custom versions of that news across blogs, Facebook, and microsites. So if you are a Porsche dealer, you can monitor the news feed from the OEM and when you see an article that interests you, you can copy the content, customize it for your market, and post it to MULTIPLE consumer facing websites minutes.
In the example above, it will post the article to the dealer’s blog, Facebook, and Twitter. You can connect SRM to all your third party blogs, micro-blogs, and social media sites and track how much “content” is being published to these sites.
I don’t know about you, but dealers I speak with are OVERWHELMED with how many websites, logins, and reports they have to use to INSPECT their online content publishing strategy. SRM simplifies all that with a single activity based dashboard.
If you have custom WordPress, Blogger, or TypePad microsites, they all can be managed from this central SRM dashboard.
This is a significant time saver and the consolidated reporting makes it easy for a manager or dealership executive to inspect the productivity of internal or third party content writers.
The dashboard application for content syndication will provide dealers with a way to inspect the amount of work that is being done to promote their brand online.
If SRM is leveraging all the best content publishing platforms, then this will prove to be a winning productivity application for car dealers.
What's the Holy Grail for SRM?
Integration to publish content to other third party automotive content networks, like the AAN, to expand the reach and power that SRM offers to dealers.
Monitor Your Online Reputation With Ease
There are a handful of automotive specific software tools that have assisted dealers monitor their online reputation. Companies like Xteres.com and GoSo.com were first to market.
Good ideas never go unchallenged and leading automotive platform providers like Dealer.com, Cobalt, Dominion, and TK Carsites have measured the market and are broadcasting a clear message; Reputation Management and Social Media will be an integrated part of their software strategy.
SRM will result in significant marketing consolidation for stand-alone reputation management tools.
Why? SRM makes it easy for existing dealers to monitor their online reputation and it comes with additional functionality.
In the photos above, you can see that dealers will be presented with a live scrolling feed of news alerts, blog posts, and reviews pertaining to their dealership, or any other set of keywords they decide to follow.
Manual IRM Resources
Dealers who are using free manual monitoring tools like “Google Alerts” should know that Google Alerts does not accurately track commentary that is going on inside popular websites, reviews sites, and industry communities.
The data mining tools that are leveraged by Social Reputation Manager are innovative and very thorough. It was designed with the content writer from a car dealership in mind. Each piece of content found by SRM on the Internet is pre-marked based on logic to determine whether it is a positive or negative post.
Of course, these predicative grades can be overwritten and marked for follow-up or deletion. Why deletion? For some dealers they share a name like “Classic Chevrolet” with dealers in many different states. So posts brought into the review window can be deleted if they do not pertain to them.
By monitoring, reviewing, and scoring all activity properly, dealer principals can develop a very accurate picture of the online reputation scores. In fact, SRM provides scoring for both Reputation and Social Media engagement.
Facebook Fan Pricing
SRM offers a new spin; encourage consumers to get your special Facebook pricing but it requires them to become a Fan.
Cool idea and I’ll be looking forward to seeing how much this helps to increase fans.
The design and layout of the Facebook tab is attractive and compelling but once a consumer becomes a fan, they may not have a need to visit the dealer’s Fan Page.
Energizing Digital Marketing Strategies
Any dealer that wants to increase the productivity of their existing content writers and social media team should get a demonstration of Social Reputation Manager. The product is well designed, easy to use, and can assist dealers in better engaging with consumers on the socialized Internet.
Dealers who have held off investing in content writing and social media have a compelling reason to get started. SRM simplifies the management of multiple websites and tracks all activity to measure the ROI of your investments.
Content Syndication takes traditional blogging and social media engagement to the next level. SRM is one of those groundbreaking products that energizes the automotive community and provides the momentum to build innovative, time saving, products in the years ahead.
For more information on Social Relationship Manager, visit: www.dealer.com or call 888.894.8989