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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Lindsey Auguste

Lindsey Auguste Business Intelligence Specialist

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How Facebook's "Nearby" Will Change Your Dealership

Facebook today announced a new feature that could have tremendous impact on dealers. Its called "Nearby" and its on the iOS and Android Apps.  

The feature is a discovery engine, allowing people to discover business around them that resonate with their social graph.  Imagine users looking for an oil change and viewing service stations nearby.  Will you be listed?  Will you be at the top of the list?  Will you have good reviews?  It marks a big step into a new market for Facebook that could have profound impact on dealers.

Whats new with "Nearby"?

People have long been able to check in to places with their Facebook app, accumulating an average of 250 million users per month checking in to places. Now, not only will people be able to check in with their Facebook account, but they can rate the business or choose to like the business’s Facebook page as well.  This will power a list of recommendations from your friends when you’re out looking for places to eat, a favorite retail spot, or even a local gas station. 

We know this is sending Foursquare and Yelp for a loop, but it has potential to really help, or hurt your dealership, too.  What should dealers so?

Get a page!

Now, more than ever, it’s time for your dealership to get and manage a Facebook page.  Yes, it’s true – there are still dealerships that don’t have one. If you do have one, is it optimized for mobile users to find you?  The fact is, Facebook is no longer just a social place to interact with potential customers – it’s a phonebook.  If you’re not on it, you’re not being found. 

And for those of you keeping up and already have a business page, it’s even more important to optimize it.  Fill out all your company information (for starters), update your images, and get to interacting 

Categorize yourself.

Think of all the reasons people might come to your dealership.  For a new car, of course, but what about after getting into an accident and they need to find a collision center?  Or, perhaps they just need an oil change.  Be certain you’re listed in the right categories, making sure your being found in all the right places.

Ask for a review!

This is where it really counts.  Just like you ask for reviews on Google, be sure to encourage your customers to check in and leave a review.  This is where the magic really happens, as the Facebook algorithm takes people’s recommendations into consideration when friends are looking for a spot.  You want to be sure you show up on top.

Bottom line – get to optimizing your Facebook page and ask your customers for reviews.  This brings a whole new meaning to SoLoMo (Social Local Mobile).

How do you see this impacting the industry? Do you think the feature will attract wide spread traction or will this be a bust?

Bryan Armstrong
Facebook is trying very hard to become a "one stop shop" for consumers and let's face it,they already have the user base. The question remains as to whether or not Consumers will utilize this feature. Most of my own personal FB interactions do come from mobile. I believe that there are many like me. I prefer other location based services as can choose whether to show those interactions to FB or not. Those who are on Foursquare or Yelp will (I believe) be reluctant to give up their Mayorships and Dukedoms. That being said, I amnot the norm FB's entry into this verticalwill have an impact and early adopters will have an advantage.
Jared Hamilton
its all going to come down to adoption. If this feature catches fire, and the users alter their behavior and grab hold of "nearby" then this will have a huge impact on optimizing your local presence online. ITs strange to think we are talking here about facebook SEO now... just think of what will happen when facebook introduces a real search engine. so much to do and so little time!
Larry Schlagheck
Each user is different and they have chosen/will choose which platform they prefer. Personally I struggle to use LinkedIn as a communications tool as an example, but some in my network prefer it over Twitter or FB. FB, via moves like this, just seems to stay ahead of the curve, or at least it adapts quickly to others ideas. Good post Lindsey.
Chris Costner
I have used the "check in" feature on Facebook only a few times. A majority of mine are from the third party applications that push to Facebook. Now will this new feature show dealerships immediately or will the results become better as more of our friends use it? If that is the case, how effective can it be with such low engagement? I like the idea but feel the third party applications can still give it a boost if integrated. Thoughts?
Lindsey Auguste
Chris, the application will become more useful and accurate as more people use it, which is certainly what they're hoping for. There are still sooooooo many people who haven't branched out into the social media extravaganza - they're stil only on Facebook. Making this a one stop shop, as Bryan said, is certainly positioning them to be the (only) powerhouse. I wonder if this application will be more prevalent with an older generation as opposed to the younger tykes, as many of the youth are already spread across multiple third party sites.

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