New Case Study Shows Auto Dealers Embracing DrivingSales' Social Media Platform to Collaborate, Survive and Thrive in the Recession
SALT LAKE CITY, Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- DrivingSales (www.drivingsales.com
), the auto industry's leading social media platform and largest online community, today announced that it has grown its member base an average of 30% a month since launching nationally in June 2008. Until just over a year ago, the auto and dealer industries lacked a true B2B social media platform and user-generated vendor/technology rating system, but DrivingSales.com has quickly established itself as the most read, fully-collaborative and participatory automotive trade media property - now boasting thousands of members and hundreds of vendor ratings. And a just-released case study (available at www.drivingsales.com/casestudy
) reveals how this neutral, open social platform has been critical in helping dealers, vendors, technology providers and automakers survive one of the worst years in the industry's history - including the recent challenges of Cash for Clunkers.
"While the largely negative media attention on the automotive crisis gives the impression that our industry is too stuck in its old ways to innovate and evolve, the rapid adoption of DrivingSales proves that stereotype to be absolutely wrong," said DrivingSales Founder and CEO Jared Hamilton. "Dealers by the thousands are using the most progressive media technologies to band together, collaborate to solve problems and find success despite the tremendous uphill climb they are facing. The growth of DrivingSales speaks volumes about the resilience of our industry and the unique power of social technologies."
Created as a private automotive business community in 2003 by Hamilton to network his NADA Dealer Academy class, DrivingSales.com opened nationally in 2008 in response to the industry's need for an open, objective collaborative forum to help the leading edge of the industry navigate through the current crisis -- and into the future.
What DrivingSales Provides the Auto & Dealer Industries:
Users create profiles and manage industry connections using the online hub to receive automatic updates on their network, to find opportunities, recruit, and stay in the 'best practice' loop, etc.
* Vendor Ratings:
Bombarded with vendor calls each week, dealers struggle to make smart spending decisions. The industry's first neutral, comprehensive vendor rating forum features real-time peer reviews and honest competitor comparisons - searchable by category, company or rating. Vendors also have the opportunity to provide review feedback and showcase products and services.
A rich library and blog community, providing access to community-rated strategies, best practices, videos, interviews, newsletters, problem-solving groups and forums.
*Social News Feed:
A news and information 'waterfall' that helps users connect with, and rank, the latest and most useful news in an industry in critical flux, while at the same time driving traffic back to those news sources.
Users can drill down to find the precise knowledge they're seeking. For instance, a user can now select a category like 'Fixed Ops,' 'New Cars,' or 'Marketing,' then select an action like 'Grow Sales' or 'Cut Costs' and the technology isolates, categorizes and presents all the site's rich information on that topic.
Case Studies Reveal Real-World Impact On Dealers, Vendors, Consultants:
The just-released DrivingSales automotive social media case study - (www.drivingsales.com/casestudy
) - underscores the direct impact the social network is having on its diverse user-constituents, whether dealerships, vendors and technology providers, or industry consultants and experts. In the context of the severe economic challenges facing dealerships today (plummeting car sales, an industry reporting no profits on new-vehicle sales), dealers report they're turning to the site daily to educate themselves on what the most successful businesses are doing right, to identify and evaluate vendor and technology providers, and stay abreast of industry trends.
For instance, Hyundai of St. Augustine in Florida consults the site daily and implemented a super-successful consumer review platform as a result of practices learned on DrivingSales. Says Andrew DiFeo, General Manager: "One of our industry's biggest challenges is consumer trust, and our high volume of positive customer reviews provides us with tremendous credibility." DrivingSales has also been critical in the dealership's Internet and SEO strategies that have increased web traffic by 40%. "Because of things we've learned at DrivingSales' blogs and forums, we've nearly doubled our monthly sales...and are having one of our best months, when the industry is experiencing one of its worst."
But perhaps nowhere has the real-time relevance of DrivingSales had a greater impact than in helping DiFeo navigate the challenges of Cash for Clunkers: "The DrivingSales community was letting people know the pitfalls...It was comforting to see we were all facing these challenges together...I wish the people from NHTSA were coming through DrivingSales forums so they could understand first-hand, from those on the ground, the unique challenges of Cash for Clunkers!"
Prestige Volvo of New Jersey reports the site was invaluable in their search for the best SEO provider, which resulted in an extraordinary increase in their Web traffic. "With all the forums and postings, not only was I able to get more educated about SEO in general, but the precise vendor ratings gave me an invaluable industry reference point on how each vendor was performing and who I should be talking to," said Prestige's General Manager, Matt Haiken. And LorMar Auto Group's ISM, Andy Warner, sees Driving Sales as a wider barometer of the future: "By utilizing DrivingSales, we are actually experiencing what the future of the consumer experience in automotive could, and most likely will, be like."
Industry vendors and technology providers, also severely challenged by the economy, similarly report powerful benefits from DrivingSales.com - concurring that the forum provides unique visibility for vendors big and small through blogging and ratings forums. For instance, Brian Pasch of Pasch Consulting likens the forum to a 'Consumer Reports' for the auto industry, and has found the best-practice blogging opportunities and merit-based peer reviews to have been a serious boon for his Internet marketing business - while noting that the open forum is spurring the entire vendor industry to perform better. And Paul Rushing of ismintraining.com - who says that 90% of his clients resulted from his presence on DrivingSales - views the site "as an eHarmony for dealers and service-providers."
Industry analyst, and former V.P. at J.D. Power & Associates and Executive Editor at Kelly Blue Book, Charlie Vogelheim, of Vogelheim Ventures, summarizes: "Driving Sales occupies a unique position in the auto industry...a gathering place for dealers, vendors and auto professionals to separate the wheat from the chaff, share in-the-trenches insight, and give living testament to the fact that there are still real success stories in our industry - of dealers utilizing new technologies to put themselves ahead of the current downward curve."
Because of the site's rapid adoption, the extensive feedback from the network, and the company's ongoing investment in R&D, DrivingSales launched an enhanced new technology platform just this month. The only automotive social media solution specifically built to meet the needs of automotive professionals, DrivingSales' completely redesigned, proprietary architecture was built entirely from the ground up, unlike most social media sites that run on, and recycle, plug-in apps. http://pitch.pe/20650
To access the DrivingSales Social Media Case Study click here: www.drivingsales.com/casestudy
) is the largest and premier online community for the auto industry, where its thousands of members, including dealers, dealership managers, manufacturers, industry experts and vendors, collaborate and share best practices in a 20-group style setting. At DrivingSales, members create profiles and communicate with each other; build their networks and knowledge base; share and rate proven strategies, and have access to relevant content contributed by fellow industry experts, including blogs, videos, interviews, a social news feed and more. Dealer members rate and review vendor products - sharing their experiences with the DrivingSales community - while vendors have the opportunity to provide feedback on reviews and showcase their products and services. DrivingSales was created and built from the ground up in 2003 by Jared Hamilton, a third generation auto dealer, as a private automotive business community to network his NADA Dealer Candidate Academy class. The site opened nationally in 2008 and is the auto industry's leading social media custom platform.
Melanie Webber (Melanie@mwebbcom.com), mWEBB Communications 949.307.1723
Angela Jacobson (Angela@mwebbcom.com
), mWEBB Communications