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Most who read Driving Sales would agree that social media is emerging as an important part of a car dealer's marketing plan going into 2011. With Blogworld, arguably the most important social media conference of the year, positioned nicely between the Digital Dealer Conference and Driving Sales Executive Summit, we were expecting to see a handful of dealers and vendors present. Many stayed in Vegas for both, so Blogworld seemed like a natural fit.
We didn't see many. Scott Monty from Ford was there delivering an excellent speech and his team was in full force. We saw one dealer, Tracy Myers from Frank Myers Auto Maxx, but with 3 TK people combing the halls and looking for others in the automotive industry, we were disappointed that as far as we can tell, that was it.
The information we gained from attending was invaluable for our dealers as many of the cutting-edge and emerging technologies were on display. We learned a lot about how to improve our Automotive Social Media product as we begin development on 2.0.
Perhaps a "guilt trip" is not in order. Perhaps a strong encouragement to ask dealers (and yes, even vendors) to attend a conference or two next year about social media will better serve the industry. Ford is one of the primary sponsors of BlogWorld. General Motors is a big sponsor for SXSW (the other contender for "most important social media conference of the year") which we will be attending in March.
Sending a representative to these conferences is a pain. We know, we sent 3. It's not cheap and it takes valuable people away from the company. Still, it's an important thing that dealers and vendors need to do in 2011 because the takeaways are often more valuable than even at the automotive conferences.
At NADA and other conferences, there is a lot of pitching going on. At the social media, SEO, and Internet marketing conferences, it's really geared more towards education. That education is imperative to an industry where exposure is everything.
Here's a video that one of our social media specialists took while down in BlogWorld last month: