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TrueCar Sponsors Ten Full Ride AutoCon 2013 Scholarships – AutoConnections Conference and Exposition

 

AutoCon 2013 Announces a Special Program Sponsored by TrueCar to Award Ten “Full Ride Scholarships” for Dealership Managers to Attend AutoCon 2013*

Automotive Media Partners, LLC is proud to announce the creation of a “Full Ride Scholarship*” program sponsored by TrueCar of Santa Monica, California.  TrueCar’s pioneering sponsorship of this program provides the funds to cover the costs of transportation to and from Las Vegas, lodging at the Aria Resort and full AutoCon conference registration. 

One of the most surprising aspects of TrueCar’s sponsorship is that the company has funded ten (10) AutoCon “Full Ride Scholarships*”.  Ten automotive professionals will receive the educational, networking, inspiration and innovation benefits from attending the 2013 AutoConnections Conference and Exposition at no out of pocket expense for travel, meals during the event or conference fees to themselves or their dealerships. 

  

The TrueCar AutoCon Scholarship Program is further evidence of the remarkable transformation that has taken place at TrueCar since the beginning of 2012. After receiving a remarkable level of criticism within the auto industry during the second half of 2011, TrueCar has evolved and revised their automotive purchasing programs for consumers and affiliated corporations to be far more dealer friendly.  TrueCar’s objectives supported by these changes have included raising dealer profit margins to levels that provide more room for dealers to cover facility costs and the staffing levels needed to properly service new vehicle buyers sent to them by TrueCar.   


TrueCar understands and recognizes the need for ongoing training and thought leadership within the ranks of the retail automotive industry. 

Their management team has decided that one of the best ways to demonstrate this commitment to betterment of the industry is to commit the funds necessary to support independent dealer focused educational events such as AutoCon 2013. 

 

TrueCar executives Bernie Brenner and Mike Timmons approached the founders of the Automotive Digital Marketing and dealerElite professional communities, Ralph Paglia, Chris Saraceno and Mike Myers because these online networks have served as “Ground Zero” for some of the industry’s harshest criticism of TrueCar in the recent past.  

Surprising for a company as large as TrueCar is, their management team has reviewed the criticism published by members of the ADM and DealerELITE networks and taken corrective actions, changed their business models and worked with State dealer associations to create vehicle purchase programs that make sense for participating dealers. 

How will the TrueCar AutoCon Scholarships be Awarded?

TrueCar has asked that the AutoConnections Conference Management Team take full control and responsibility for ensuring that the 10 Full Ride Scholarships be awarded based on merit and need.  Criteria will include a wide geographic representation by selecting automotive professionals from every region in North America.  Another consideration will be to award scholarships to professionals who represent a diverse range of vehicle brands and positions within the dealerships they serve.  

Written TrueCar Scholarship Application

The application process will be a simple online application that includes all the expected contact information, a description of the applicant’s role in the dealership where they work and space for them to describe in their own words why they should be awarded a TrueCar AutoCon Scholarship to attend the AutoConnections Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas from September 4th to the 6th

Video TrueCar Scholarship Application

If you are better at explaining your reasons why you should be selected for a scholarship in a verbal manner, the AutoCon 2013 TrueCar scholarship committee will also be pleased to accept your proposal in a video format. Simply explain why you should be selected in a YouTube video that is either uploaded or embedded to either AutomotiveDigitalMarketing.com or dealerELITE.net.

Please be sure to include the link to that video in your scholarship application where you write out your explanation of why YOU should be selected to receive a “Full Ride Scholarship”.

The AutoCon Scholarship Selection Committee is comprised of Ralph Paglia, Chris Saraceno, Mike Myers, Carrie Hemphill and Brian Pasch.  As applicants are being considered they will be contacted by a committee member and interviewed via phone and email.  Final selections will be made by committee vote and the awardees notified by email and phone.

AutoCon 2013 Scholarship Selection Committee

  • Ralph Paglia
  • Chris Saraceno
  • Mike Myers
  • Carrie Hemphill
  • Brian Pasch 

                                                    

Applications for TrueCar AutoCon Scholarships will be accepted starting Monday July 1, 2013 and award selections will begin Monday August 5, 2013.

AutoCon 2013 Sponsored by TrueCar

AutoCon 2013 Sponsored by TrueCar

With 10 TrueCar AutoCon Scholarships being awarded, the odds of being selected are probably better than any other similar program in the auto industry… So, do not hesitate to apply and encourage other automotive professionals to do so!  All of us who are stakeholders in the AutoCon event are thrilled with the investment being made by TrueCar to support what we believe is the best event in the auto industry.  The TrueCar sponsorship of AutoCon 2013 and the Full Ride Scholarship Program is appreciated and respected. 

In the past, TrueCar was a company that received an enormous amount of criticism, much of which has been emotionally charged and at times, crossed the boundaries of decency and professional behavior.  Many other companies faced with similar criticism and public ridicule would have released a barrage of legal actions to defend themselves.  TrueCar has consistently taken the high road and responded to their critics with program changes and by sending their senior executives to major auto industry events and meetings. 

 

The TrueCar sponsorship of AutoCon is further proof that this company is led by professionals who want to be valuable contributors to the overall success of the auto industry.

 

On behalf of the AutoCon team and the 10 auto industry professionals who will receive the benefit of these scholarship awards, a sincere thank you to TrueCar is extended.

Apply for a TrueCar AutoCon Scholarship online at http://AutoCon2013.com

    

*PLEASE NOTE: “Full Ride Scholarship” is the brand name for this category of award and is owned by Automotive Media Partners, LLC.  All “Full Ride Scholarships” associated with an AMP promoted event with include a travel stipend that reimburses the scholarship recipient for airfare expense submitted up to a maximum dollar amount. Recipients will also receive lodging for the nights of the conference itself. Any room charges authorized by the scholarship recipient, or incidental expenses are the responsibility of the scholarship recipient. Also included are the conference fees for registering and attending the event, which will usually include scheduled breakfasts and lunches that all event participants receive. It is important for scholarship recipients to understand that ANY expenses outside of airfare to and from the event, hotel lodging and conference registration fees are NOT INCLUDED in our version of a “Full Ride Scholarship”.  Furthermore, we strongly advise all scholarship recipients to travel with a valid major credit card and two forms of government issued ID. Adequate cash should be brought by scholarship recipients to cover meals outside of those scheduled on the conference agenda, local transportation and miscellaneous expenses… After all, you will be in Las Vegas and “Cash-In-Fist” is strongly advised!

   

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Vine Video Clips Generate High Engagement on Twitter

Vine Generates Surprisingly High Engagement Rates on Twitter

Marketing Research Report Shows That Tweets With Vine Uploads Create “Surprising” Engagement Rates

Socialbakers calls the results “surprising” and even “amazing” considering that Vine is so new – it was only just introduced to Android, having previously only been available to iPhone and iPad users.(The Socialbakers data is based only on iPhone and iPad engagement.) Now, Facebook isreportedly exploring video for Instagram.

In research released last month, Unruly Media shared some other findings about Vine (some of which may by now be obsolete given Vine’s growth trajectory, but interesting nonetheless). Based on data from more than 10 million Vines collected during a 1-month period, Unruly Media found that:

  • 5 tweets per second contained a Vine link;
  • Weekends were the most popular time to share Vines, by a sizable margin;
  • Most Vine activity occurred between 10-11AM EDT; and
  • Branded content accounted for 4% of the top 100 Vines tracked, compared to only 1% of content in the Unruly Viral Video Chart Top 100 Most Shared Videos that was branded.

About the Data: The Socialbakers data is based on an analysis of more than 30,000 tweets containing YouTube and Vine links posted over a 1-month period by selected brand profiles. The time period was May 5-June 5, 2013.

Socialbakers’ formula for Twitter engagement rate is based on replies, retweets, and favorites. The formula is listed below:

Twitter Average Tweet ER = ((Replies + Retweets + Favorites on a given day / # of tweets made by profile on a given day) / Total Followers on a given day) x 100

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Car Dealers Must Respond To Millennials On Social Media – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Car Dealers Must Respond To Millennials On Social Media

Millennial Car Buyers to OEM’s and Dealers:
Respond When You’re Being Spoken… “About”

An example of this confusion and possibly a double standard when it comes to online monitoring is that roughly 6 in 10 respondents aged 18-54 want companies to listen to what they say about them online (4 in 10 of the 55+ crowd). While at the same time, about half of the survey’s respondents think that consumers should be able to talk about companies online without those companies listening in. This desire for privacy increases for the 55+ age group, of which 59% do not want companies seeing what they post about them online.

But wait… There’s more (confusion) in these survey results!

Between half and two-thirds of respondents want companies to respond when they’re being discussed online, while the same survey reports that more than 6 in 10 also say that companies should only respond to online comments made directly to them (i.e. on their Facebook page, tweeted to them, etc.) You should download the PDF file of the report and take a look… In my opinion, what we are seeing is the variance based on where and what types of social media these comments are being made that reference a car company, make or dealership by name.

In an attempt at trying to poke fun at their own report’s findings, the authors note that the takeaway for automotive marketers and others who handle social media strategy is that they should be “telepathic.” Perhaps “empathetic” would be a better choice of words and not so much in jest… The next-best advice given is for marketers to:

  • Automotive Social Marketers should go beyond listening
  • Try to understand what consumers are saying
  • Consider the conversation’s context  
  • Deliver mutual value when engaging  
  • Show how listening can be a relationship-building tool rather than an intrusion

 

Other Findings:

  • Despite holding all these varied opinions about social media privacy, less than three-quarters of respondents (ranging from 62% of 18-24-year olds to 72% of 45-54-year-olds) know that car companies  or dealership employees might be listening to what they’re saying online.
  • Roughly 4 in 10 respondents aged 18-54 feel that dealerships and car companies listening to online conversations are intruding. That rises to 54% among the 55 and over demographic.
  • Attitudes regarding whether companies should monitor online conversations to improve products and services vary significantly among age groups, ranging from 40% agreement for the 18-24 set, to 57% for the 45-54 group, and back down to 37% for the 55+ set.
  • Slightly more respondents believe that a company should respond to them if they make a negative remark about the company in an online post than if they make a positive remark about a company in an online post.

About the Data: J.D. Power and Associates, in association with NetBase, conducted a survey in December 2012 of 1,062 U.S. consumers ages 18–55+.

Data Source: Marketingcharts.com/millennials-to-brands-respond-when-youre-being-…

eBook Source: info.netbase.com/SocialListeningeBook.html

Download the Social Listening and Big Brother eBook by NetBase and J.D. Power and Associates:  NetBase JDPower Listening and Privacy eBook.pdf 

  

BONUS CONTENT:

How Does a Car Dealership Create a Structured Response Process? 

In regards to the process around a dealership monitoring and then responding to online blogs, comments, posts and discussions where the dealership is brought up or mentioned, I started developing a process and work flow while launching the ADP Social Media Reputation Management Team in 2009 and 2010.  The work flow process chart shown below is based on something I saw published by the US Military in regards to how the Air Force responds to online comments and blog posts. 

When I left ADP and went to work for Tier10 Marketing at the beginning of 2011, we revised and upgraded the work flow planning for better results and more production efficiency. The chart below reflects the Tier10 Marketing version of what we recommended:

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Branding versus Marketing on Facebook

Branding versus Marketing on Facebook

Facebook Logo

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that Facebook (and social media in general) is a communication tool. It’s a way for businesses to connect with customers and a safe venue through which customers and potential customers can interact with your business.

With that said, let’s look at the other two primary functions of Facebook: marketing and branding. Both are similar. Both are categories that can mean different things to different people and businesses. While it’s definitely possible to do both well on Facebook at the same time, the safer and less time-intensive strategy would be to pick one or the other as the primary goal (outside of communication, of course).

Here are the two basic options. There will be those who will say that it’s being oversimplified, but this isn’t a tutorial. It’s a way to distinguish between the two so that a business can make an intelligent decision about which mindset to take in their efforts. Once the mindset is established, the strategies can form.

Facebook for Branding

This is becoming the more common practice among businesses because it is more open in form and more singular in goal. More importantly, using Facebook as a marketing tool is considered by many to be harder (depending on your business type, of course). Many, particularly those who are engaged with individual customers on a daily basis such as car dealers and realtors will opt for this approach because it gives them the freedom to simply be entertaining or informative without having to put the time into crafting an appropriate marketing strategy.

It’s the easy road, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any less rewarding.

Using Facebook for branding is all about getting your name, logo, and general message out there. The general message is often abstract – it’s not talking about a sale or a particular product but rather trying to convey a company attitude with the message.

This strategy can use popular images, interesting (and sharable) facts, or funny concepts to will encourage liking and sharing. While some take the road of using ideas that are completely off topic, I’m a firm believer that it’s possible to stay focused on either the local area, the industry, or both with every post. In other words, a car dealer shouldn’t be posting pictures of cats. They should be posting pictures of cars, videos of cars, and images or discussions about the local area.

The branding message is easier to spread because it doesn’t involve marketing. There’s no goal of direct conversions or clicks to the website. It’s all about getting the brand out there as much as possible.

The downside, of course, is in proving ROI. Without direct marketing applied to the messages, it’s a leap of faith that by getting interaction and engagement around content that does not lead directly to a lead or a sale but that keeps the name and logo of the business in mind, that there are intangible benefits that are happening.

Facebook for Marketing

Unlike using Facebook for branding, the marketing strategy is trickier. It’s easier to mess up. There’s a risk of actually doing damage to the Facebook account by being too “spammy” with the posts. Those who are not ready to take a little heat on their path to get more conversions should not even go down this road.

However, if your goal is to achieve demonstrable ROI and take what you can today in a concrete manner, this is the right approach. It will rely on Facebook ads. There’s no way around it – unless you’re marketing something that resonates while also being productive such as a funny T-Shirt company, you’re very unlikely to get away with a hardcore marketing message without the use of ads.

Thankfully, Facebook ads are cheap.

Using a marketing strategy on Facebook does not mean that it’s all business. While some I have spoken to on the subject (including a VP at Facebook) have said that businesses can find success by only posting once or twice a week and promoting those marketing posts, I’ve found that a mix of interesting or entertaining content with the marketing messages can be beneficial.

People aren’t going to Facebook to see marketing messages, so yours has to be truly valuable. It’s not about putting up a picture of a car and calling that marketing. It’s about generating messages that they can only get through Facebook. For example, having Facebook-only sales events can be effective with next to zero risk. If people come to the store as a result, awesome! If they do not, then the expenditure was minimal. If they aren’t successful, you shouldn’t give up. You simply need to tweak the message, adjust the advertising, or go through a series of “fun” posts to set up the marketing posts properly.

Don’t Forget Communicating

Regardless of which path you choose, remember the number one rule: Facebook (and social media in general) is about communication. It’s about talking to your customers and having them talk to you. It’s about giving them a venue through which you can be completely open about your business and hold public conversations with unsatisfied customers as well as the happy ones.

Which way fits best with your business? That’s the only real question you need to ask to get started down the right path.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

English: Graph of social media activities

English: Graph of social media activities (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Web Connected Car Buyers Spend Over 3 Hours a Day on Social Networks – Automotive Marketing

Web Connected Car Buyers Spend Over 3 Hours a Day on Social Networks

Social Networking Eats Up 3+ Hours Per Day For Car Buyers

American automotive consumers aged 18-64 who use social networks say they spend an average of 3.2 hours per day doing so, according to new research released by Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange (OTX).

Factoring in survey respondents who don’t use social networks, the survey finds that the average online American Car Buyer spends 2 hours a day social networking from a computer, tablet and/or mobile phone. Unsurprisingly, American Car Buyers who are social networkers aged 18-34 self-report spending more time than their older counterparts, and women outpace men in consumption, also.

Specifically, among American automotive consumers who are social network users:

  • 18-34-year-olds report spending 3.8 hours a day
  • 35-49-year-olds report spending 3 hours per day
  • 50-64-year-olds report spending 2.4 hours per day

In terms of the gender difference, female social networkers spend almost 40% more time daily with social media sites than men (3.6 hours vs. 2.6 hours), a finding consistent with earlier research from MyLife and from Burst Media showing women to be more active than men on social media.

Some other interesting demographic gaps emerge from the Ipsos research. Those include:

  • Social networkers with low household income spending more time than those with high household income (3.7 hours vs. 3.1 hours) 
  • Those with low education levels spending more time than those with high education levels (3.5 vs. 3) 
  • Business owners spending almost 50% more time than those who don’t a business (4.4 vs. 3) 
  • Senior executives and decision-makers spending 40% more time than those not in that position (4.2 vs. 3) 
  • Unemployed social networkers spending 3.5 hours a day on social media, versus 3 hours for the employed. 

The study breaks down actual hourly estimates per day, with some striking results. For example, roughly 1 in 5 users aged 18-34 claim to spend 6 hours or more per day social networking.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

English: Semiotics of Social Networking

Twitter Cards Make Video Marketing Easy as 1-2-3 Tweet! – Automotive Social Media Professionals

Twitter Cards Make Video Marketing Easy as 1-2-3 Tweet!

Joe Schwartz

Joe Schwartz Describes How “Twitter Cards” Are Making Video Marketing Much Easier for Car Dealers

Twitter Video Cards

Twitter Video Cards

When marketers think of social media as a promotional channel, Facebook continues to be the network of choice. Of course, this trend may be the result of people sticking to a platform that feels safe. After all, Facebook remains the largest and most influential social platform on the web today, so much so that it claimed the most-searched term award for the fourth year in a row.

Twitter Users
Twitter Users

But other social networks shouldn’t be ignored, especially with sites like Twitter implementing new features regularly. According to eMarketer’s “US Digital Media Usage: A Snapshot of 2013,” Twitter user-ship grew significantly in 2012, but only 15 percent of the U.S. online population will engage on Twitter next year. Therefore, brands that want to drive traffic from a variety of social channels must learn how to engage users on whatever network they prefer. For many people, Twitter remains the most influential social hub, and brands may discover that video content thrives on this platform. 

According to the source, Twitter’s user base increased by 14.2 percent in 2012 to reach 36.3 million monthly active members. To reach those prospective and current customers, brands must develop social media marketing campaigns that make branded content enjoyable and simple. With Twitter Cards, video marketing may be the easy solution.

Online Video Viewers
Online Video Viewers

According to eMarketer, online view viewers reached 178.7 million people in 2012 to make up 56 percent of the nation’s population, and 73 percent of American internet users. As for mobile video viewers, 73.3 million people watched video content via their mobile devices in 2012, reaching 22.9 percent of the country’s population and 29.6 percent of mobile phone users. Thirty-one percent of the U.S. population and 40.4 percent of U.S. internet users viewed visual media from their tablet devices this year, making video content marketing a necessary practice for many brands.

With Americans using Twitter more often this year and video media becoming a prominent marketing material, businesses that want to build brand exposure and grab consumers’ attention must produce consistent visual content, and publish output on the microblogging site. Together, video marketing and social media marketing may drive higher conversions in the new year, and help marketers reach new audience segments online.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Twitter Compliment Card

Twitter Compliment Card (Photo credit: 13stock)

Static Social Media Products and Services are Destined to Fail – Automotive Marketing Professional Network

 

Static Social Media Products and Services are Destined to Fail

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been working on a standard operating procedure for a comprehensive social media marketing service. It has been a while since I had to develop an overarching strategy rather than one that was individualized for a business or organization, so my daily reading of the industry trends and changes has had my eyes bleeding by the time the kids get ready for school. My fingers have bled as well… from making adjustments to the SOP as the industry continues in its unending state of metamorphosis.

In the worlds of search marketing, there are needs to stay on top of things. Google and Bing make changes to their algorithms. Consumers make changes in their searching habits. Devices make changes in how they present the data. It’s pretty rough trying to keep up with search. However, keeping up with the changes in search is a piece of cake compared to keeping a social marketing service fresh and operating properly.

My conclusion in putting together this SOP is simple – keep it general and fluid. It must be allowed to grow and adjust based upon the changes that are made by the social media sites and the users themselves. Here are a few examples of activities that may have been a part of a social media SOP if I made it last week:

  • Post an image to Instagram and have it feed through to Twitter.
  • Sponsor one post a day on Facebook that is business-oriented.
  • Get people to +1 your Google+ business page as well as recent posts.
  • Post to Pinterest three times a day and feed it through to Facebook.

These would have all been valid actions in a standard operating procedure last week. Today, they are all obsolete.

Social media moves way too quickly for concrete practices. Any full-service company that wants to run your company’s social media needs to demonstrate the ability to stay informed about the maelstrom of changes that happen every week as well as the ability to keep a fluid service that moves with the trends and the changes themselves. If they’re offering a social media service that is static, that is using techniques that have been “proven to work for a long time”, then they do not understand the very nature of social media and should not be trying to run yours for you.

 

via Static Social Media Products and Services are Destined to Fail – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

 

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Facebook is Making Free Marketing on Pages Less Powerful – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

Like Google has done with giving more SERP page 1 real estate to sponsored links and other revenue generating content, Facebook will as a business necessity continuously look for ways to convert anything of value for businesses and brands from the “free” or “Earned Media” realm and migrate the process or practice into the “Paid Media” fee based Facebook Advertising manager application and Facebook marketing services… To me, there is nothing wrong with this, and I have been aware of the strategy and have embraced it since I started working with Facebook on the Ford Digital Advertising Program in 2008.  Heck, it is sort of like the ads you see on ADM and other sites managed by my company, Automotive Media Partners, LLC… On a much smaller scale, of course… But that is why you see advertising on these sites, because ultimately if a network or website is to move beyond a “hobby” and towards a revenue realization model, you have got to stop giving away valuable marketing, communications, branding and advertising to transition into generating a fair income for the business owners… Facebook is no exception!

PALO ALTO, CA - JULY 06:  Facebook CEO Mark Zu...
PALO ALTO, CA – JULY 06: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (L) watches a demonstration of the new Facebook video chat during a news conference at Facebook headquarters July 6, 2011 in Palo Alto, California. Zuckerberg announced new features that are coming to Facebook including video chat and a group chat feature. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Since the early days of Facebook when I was privileged to work with Tom Chisholm (he took his FB stock, cash out and retired at end of 2010), he explained that the whole strategy around Facebook Pages for businesses was to give them away at no charge so as to drive demand for advertising within Facebook without those ads sending FB users outside of Facebook. To this day, you will find that any FB advertising that links to a site outside of Facebook does VERY poorly, especially compared to how impressively effective similar ads are when they point to a dealership’s Facebook Page or an App within it (formerly tabs).  That is not the consumer, it is by design and built into the algorithm… Facebook makes sure that siphoning traffic away from Facebook is more costly and generates a lower ROI… Before you get irritated, I would do the same thing with my networks if I could easily make it happen! It makes ense from a FB perspective to encourage traffic coming into Facebook and all engagement and even business activities occur within the Facebook platform… Since FB is so eager to help companies develop their own business generating apps on the Facebook platform, it is difficult to criticize their strategy.

Take a look at last week’s cover story in Automotive News about “Dealers Getting in Your Facebook” featuring Rick Case Honda and an interview with Richard Bustillo about his $2,000 a month Facebook Advertising budget… I convinced Richard to invest in Facebook Advertising starting last March and his campaigns within Facebook continue to generate more revenue and profits than any other $2,000 he spends on non-Facebook advertising media. It is satisfying to go from convincing a dealer to try it, and then to where it is the last part of his advertising budget he would cut!

Here is an excerpt from the Automotive News Interview with Richard Bustillo:

Dealers get in your Facebook

Stores post ads directly on site’s news feeds

Richard Bustillo of Rick Case Honda says Facebook is taking advantage of new opportunities to reach customers by putting ads directly in news feeds.

Richard Bustillo, general manager of Rick Case Honda in Davie, Fla., believes Facebook has finally cracked the code to help dealerships sell vehicles and service.

Marketers have long viewed Facebook as an online cocktail party — fine for socializing but weak for selling cars.

Now that’s changing. Rick Case Honda and other dealerships are starting to take advantage of Facebook’s huge potential to reach customers on the users’ digital home turf, by putting ads directly into their customers’ news feeds.

Technical improvements introduced in September allow dealerships to take their customer lists — with just names and e-mail addresses — and find those people on Facebook. The “custom audience” feature allows dealerships to push ads directly to Facebook users’ news feeds, the must-see center column of the home page that consists of a constantly updated list of posts by a user’s Facebook friends.

Facebook users are more likely to look at news-feed ads than those in the more common ad location, the right side of a Facebook page, the social media giant says.

“Facebook is starting to understand what we need to sell cars,” Bustillo said.

In June at Rick Case Honda, an employee-pricing-for-all promotion on Facebook contributed to a strong month — 615 new vehicles sold — the most of any Honda store nationally for the month, Bustillo said.

Facebook played a key role in the campaign’s success, he said. The store took its customer list with thousands of names and e-mail addresses and identified who were Facebook users. It then delivered to their news feeds the employee-pricing offer, Bustillo said.

Facebook also has improved the ability of dealerships and the factories to put promotional videos in front of car shoppers, Bustillo said. Facebook users are three to four times more likely to click on a video than a static ad, the company has found.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20121029/RETAIL07/310299951#ixzz2BP…

via Facebook is Making Free Marketing on Pages Less Powerful – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Why Dealer Facebook Fans Hide Posts At Shockingly High Rates – Automotive Social Marketing

Why Dealer Facebook Fans Hide Posts At Shockingly High Rates

 

The article shown further down was originally published by Fast Company and has been getting a lot of attention from a wide audience, including many business executives and leaders outside of social media marketing circles.  The author touches on the subject of chasing “Fan Count” more than measuring “engagement”. However, I believe that the issues around the need for improving rates of customer engagement within a car dealer’s social media marketing strategy are more directly addressed by understanding the data shown in the chart on the left… The disparity between what marketing professionals THINK that customers want and what the customers actually say they want is illustrated by the varying red and black bar graph data points.

It is no surprise to anyone who has been a member of the ADM Professional Community that an author would be calling for “maximizing fan engagement”, in my opinion we have thrown the word “engagement” around like chips at a Las Vegas Poker Room, what we need to better understand is what the drivers behind increased consumer engagement really are, and which ones are relevant to car dealers. 

It is also no surprise that your dealership’s most loyal customers will “Like” your Facebook Page out of sheer loyalty… But beyond that core group of your most loyal customers, who are certainly VERY important and your Facebook posts should address their needs, what will everyone else respond to?

For example, when asked, most automotive consumers expect some fairly simple and predictable things from being a Fan (Like) a car dealer’s Facebook Page:

  • Service Coupons that save them money
  • Special Offers on Accessories that save them money
  • Discount Promotions on new and used vehicles that save them money 

Now, I am the first person to suggest that dealers communicate a lot more than promotional offers, discounts and service coupons, but I will also suggest that we do not ignore what the marketing research indicates over and over again… Provide value to your dealership’s Facebook Fans in the form of money saving discounts, offers and promotions. 

I have re-posted the Fast Company article below for your review and consideration:

Your Facebook Fans Are Hiding Your Posts At An Alarming Rate

For far too long marketers focused on maximizing fan count instead of maximizing fan engagement, and now we’re paying the price–to the tune of users who block all of your page’s updates. Here are the (bleak) statistics and what you can do about them.

We are all counting numbers around our communities. After all, a thousand fans looks better than a hundred. But have you personally ever hid a post from a brand you’re a fan of? And have you, as a marketer, ever wondered how many of your fans do the same thing?

There are four types of negative feedback on Facebook ranging from undesirable, to worst for a marketer, starting with:

  • Hide: hides a single specific post from the user’s newsfeed
  • Hide All: hides all the posts by that page from the user’s newsfeed. This used to be known as “unsubscribing.”
  • Unlike Page: “unfan” the page
  • Report spam: user thinks your page is spam

Negative feedback means your content isn’t aligned with your fan base. That doesn’t always mean your content is bad–sometimes you are delivering great content to the wrong audience. Or sometimes you are simply posting too frequently and overwhelming the users.

The importance of this metric seems to be dangerously underestimated by marketers.

I was curious how frequently fans take any of the above actions, so I asked the team at PageLever if they could share some benchmarks. PageLever is a Facebook analytics tool that provides much deeper insights than Facebook’s native Insights. They currently measure more than 1 billion Facebook fans across thousands of fan pages; so I consider their benchmarks to be pretty accurate. (Disclosure: Intel is a customer)

What they found was rather interesting: 98% of post views generate no negative feedback. But the other 2% of the time a fan responds with some form of negative feedback:


(Note: The Y-axis on negative feedback over time uses a logarithmic scale. A linear scale made it impossible to see the Report Spam and Unlike Page because they were so small compared to Hiding Posts.)

Results from the data:

  • 1 out of 50 post views gets a negative response
  • Facebook fans are most likely to block ALL your page stories when they take a negative feedback action, 60 times more likely than unfanning your page. Which means that just because your brand has a lot of fans doesn’t mean all those fans are seeing the page content. Some fans may have just hidden the page.
  • Fans are more likely to report a post as spam than to unlike the page.
  • Why do 2% of fans unsubscribe?

For far too long marketers focused on maximizing fan count instead of maximizing fan engagement, and now we’re paying the price. This has nothing to do with Facebook’s algorithms and has everything to do with content marketers put in front of their fans…in many cases content our fans don’t want to see.

What can marketers do to ensure that fans engage with them instead of hiding their content?

Your fans will remain loyal as long as the content remains relevant and expectations for frequency are met.

1) Focus your fan acquisition efforts on quality fans rather than quantity fans.

Identify your ideal fans-–those are the folks who will truly engage with you because they love your product and your brand. Accept that a portion of your existing fans may no longer be interested in what you have to say, and don’t get frustrated if your unsubscribe rates are temporarily higher than this average of 2%. It may just mean that you need a different set of fans, not a new content strategy.

2) Stay on-topic with your content.

Even the most loyal fan will leave after reading 10 off-topic posts in a row. Be humble enough to admit you don’t always know what your fans want to read–so ask what they want to see.
Whether you run a poll or simply pose a question, it’s worth doing this at least once a quarter. Once you receive the feedback ensure you act on it, and adjust your content strategy according to those findings.

In addition, track your metrics very closely to see which posts not only are getting the most engagement, but the most organic virality. Those are the topics that resonate.

3) Match your fans’ expectations for posting frequency.

How to time your Facebook posts to reach the most fans is a perennially popular topic, but just like an email list, it’s easy to wear out your fans, even with good content. My recommendation is post once a day. If you have an event that offers a lot of good information, go for several times a day for several days of the event, but not more than that.

4) Tweak your copy so it’s recognizably your brand voice.

Sometimes the problem isn’t that the content is off-topic, but that it’s off-voice. Your brand has a unique voice which your fans know and appreciate, so make sure your posts are phrased in a way your customers expect. And don’t forget that you are human, so write like a human, not like a PR professional.

5) Experiment.

Finally, don’t be afraid to try new content, new format, and new approaches. You might be surprised what types of posts your fans might react to in the most positive way. The key with experimentation is not just trying new things, but measuring the results and adjusting in real time.

–Ekaterina Walter is Intel’s social media strategist. Follow her @Ekaterina.

[Image: Flickr user Staci Myers]

Source: www.FastCompany.com

via Why Dealer Facebook Fans Hide Posts At Shockingly High Rates – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Check Out The New Myspace! – Automotive Marketing Professionals

Check Out The New Myspace!

I’ve been using MySpace.com for over 8 years on a steady basis… http://www.myspace.com/ralphpaglia Most of the content I post or syndicate from ADM, dealerELITE and other automotive networks gets posted to my MySpace profile page (including the above article from Tim Martell).  This is a network that although toppled from its heyday, still has over 200 million active users.  When Specific Media bought MySpace, I was engaged in daily business activity with Specific Media and was asked to assist in their redevelopment of the music application for MySpace, which I did… By no means would I recommend ignoring MySpace as one of the social networks included in a car dealership’s social media marketing strategy.  A few observations, MySpace works exceptionally well for uploading and sharing videos… Not that it will replace YouTube, but MySpace videos seem to show up prominently in Google search results (SERP).  Also, MySpace has user friendly content syndication and positing applications and API’s so apps like “Add This” work exceptionally well, pulling over images and the article’s first paragraph.  Also, if you are into music, MySpace has more songs available than iTunes, Rhapsody and Spotify!

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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