Dealerships Benefit When Using Location-Based Social Media

By: Felicia Mahabeer

Social media opportunities are everywhere these days, and they continue to soar in popularity. One social media trend that can benefit your dealership is location-based applications.

For anyone not familiar, location–based applications allow users to find and “check-in” at various spots and share that information with those in their network. For example, you could check in at a restaurant on Facebook. The people in your Facebook network could then see that you are there and "like" or "comment" on your activity. You could also include what you're doing as part of your "check-in" (Dinner with family, for example) or post your opinion of the restaurant, i.e, "Appetizers were great". In the case of your dealership, a user could check in when they are there shopping for a new vehicle, getting service, or ordering parts. Everyone in their network will see your dealership, and your customer could express how great their experience was for their entire network to see. When it comes to sharing your location information, there are many platforms equipped with built-in location features such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.

Make sure your dealership is a part of the action by making it possible for customers to check in on their mobile devices from your location. For Facebook, that simply means claiming your Place page and others that users may have created.

You will also want to optimize your website to be easily explored on a mobile device, since that’s the tool visitors will be using for location-based social media interaction. The ease of navigating your mobile website can help to enhance the experience and boost participation rates. Another way to increase your interaction is to remind visitors to your dealership that they can check-in using strategically placed signs in and around your dealership. Create special offers to encourage your visitors to check-in at your dealership. For example, you can offer 10% off a service or a free car wash to anyone that checks in at your location. Special offers don't necessarily have to be costly to work in your favor. It could be as minimal as offering a free key chain, baseball cap, or even a jelly doughnut. Research shows that the feeling of getting special treatment is more valuable to a customer than the actual worth of the freebie or experience. However, you can go with a bigger and more creative offer when trying to promote other areas such as your Service, Parts, and Collision departments or a big sales event.

The overall goal is to bring attention to your dealership. This can consist of feedback or comments about your business on your page, or extending your reach and brand awareness using your customers. To do this, you simply need to give your customers the tools they need to make their friends, family and other connections aware of your dealership. This allows you reach an “untapped” market of potential customers for virtually no cost by transferring a significant portion of your marketing burden directly to your customers. Is your dealership using location- based social media? If not call us here at Potratz, we can get you started in the right direction.

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The Always-Connected Digital Lifestyle: Friend or Foe?

By: Yasmine Syed

Information and communication technology users are as diverse as the range of technology available today. The Pew Research Center’s "Internet & American Life Project" divides technology users into two core groups: "Motivated by Mobility” and "Stationary Media Majority”.

The "Motivated by Mobility” group comprises 39% of the adult population. Their frequency of online use is growing as their reliance on mobile devices continues to increase. This group is made up of individuals who hold positive and improving attitudes towards mobile access and how it facilitates their availability to others. The "Stationary Media Majority” group is comprised of the remaining 61% of the adult population. These individuals are not enamored by the "always-connected" lifestyle. They are characterized by low-level usage of mobile apps and experience difficulty acclimating to new gadgetry.

Hallmarks of the “Motivated by Mobility” group are varied and are broken down into five sub-categories including: Digital Collaborators (8%), Ambivalent Networkers (7%), Media Movers (7%), Roving Nodes (9%) and Mobile Newbies (8%). Digital Collaborators are mostly male, in their late-thirties, affluent and educated. They enthusiastically use their tech assets to share and connect with others. Ambivalent Networkers are primarily male, in their late twenties, and are ethnically diverse. They use their tech assets to text, participate in social networking and for entertainment. At the same time, they fear that their devices may become increasingly intrusive and feel that it is necessary to take periodic breaks from online use and digital consumption.

Media Movers are mostly male, in their mid-thirties, have children and are middle class. Their online and media habits are varied and they share digital content (i.e. photos). Roving Nodes are the female counterpart to Digital Collaborators; they are mostly women, in their late-thirties, affluent and educated. They use their mobile devices to manage their social and work lives, they use a wide-range of mobile apps, send email, send texts, and use their mobile devices to enhance personal productivity. Mobile Newbies are mainly women in their late forties and early fifties who have lower education and income levels than Roving Nodes. They don’t have very many tech assets and cite that their most used asset is their mobile phone because it helps makes them more available.

The “Stationary Media Majority” group can also be broken down into five sub-categories including: Desktop Veterans (13%), Drifting Surfers (14%), Information Encumbered (10%), The Tech Indifferent (10%) and Off the Network (14%). Desktop Veterans are mainly men, in their mid-forties, affluent and educated. Because this groups skews older, they are content to use their desktop computers and high-speed wired connection to explore the web, connect with friends and family via social media, while allowing their mobile phones to take a backseat. Drifting Surfers are primarily women, in their early-forties, middle class and have average education levels. They have desktop computers and mobile phones but are infrequent online users. They use technology as a basic information-gathering tool and could forgo using the Internet entirely if given the option.

Information Encumbered individuals are two-thirds male, in their early fifties, have an average education and are middle-lower income level. Most individuals in this group feel that they experience information overload on a daily basis and although, they have cell phones, feel that technology is becoming increasingly intrusive. They are largely indifferent to technology and could easily dispense with it altogether. Off the Network individuals are, largely, low-income senior women and are predominately African American. Members of this group have neither cells phones, nor computers or internet access.

The project findings imply that many Americans are deepening their relationship with and dependence on digital resources and tech assets, while others stay stagnant in their consumption of digital resources and tech assets. Both of these groups will undoubtedly ask themselves and others, 'How did I ever live without a cell phone?” A small percentage of Americans are content to keep technology on the periphery of their lives. They stand in stark contrast to the ever-increasing “Motivated by Mobility” group, whose demand for more and more online content is palpable.

What does this mean for your dealership? In terms of marketing, it means that it's still important to maintain traditional avenues of publicity, such as radio and television commercials and newspaper ads. These are necessary to reach the portion of Americans who shun technology or still use traditional media to gather information. However, the growing number of people who seek information digitally means that a failure to provide online content is more costly than in the past. Soon, a lack of digital presence could spell disaster for your dealership.

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Have You checked In?

By: Jenn Mayer

I have to admit I am late to the foursquare game. Although the app was first launched in 2009, I have only recently joined. After moving away from my hometown earlier this year, I was forced to learn the ins and outs of a new state, new city, and a new neighborhood. foursquare became my ultimate tool for discovery.

foursquare (that’s right, it is not capitalized) is a free app that allows you to share with your friends where you are, tips about your favorite places, and helps you discover new places in your area. foursquare gives you personalized recommendations and deals based on where you, your friends, and people with your same taste have been. The app has also recently undergone a makeover, giving it a simpler look and making it more user-friendly.

foursquare allowed me to discover coffee shops, restaurants, nail salons, and more. If it was lunchtime and I was hungry, I would simply type in “lunch”, and foursquare would search the tips and check-ins that had been logged around my current location to suggest places I should try for lunch. This is different, and possibly more effective then using Google, because foursquare was able to more accurately search around where I was, and also took into account how popular the places around me were. Now, I am addicted to checking into my location on foursquare. Not only do I get points, badges and mayorships that encourage me to keep using the app, my past check-ins help to shape my recommendations.

So, how can your dealership use foursquare to enhance business and marketing? First, you must encourage people to check-in when they visit your dealership. One way to do that is to offer a deal. Many businesses offer discounts to patrons who check in at their location. You could offer a free oil change, or even a discount for someone who checks in and signs a purchase agreement on a new vehicle that same day. People will be encouraged to check in and thus make your dealership a more popular place in the area.

You can also encourage employees and customers to leave a tip, or some advice, about your dealership. For example, you can post any specials you have going on, whether you offer free refreshments in your waiting area, or even the best sales people to work with. When people search for your dealership using the app, they’ll see the great things about shopping there and will be more likely to stop in.

As with all advertising and social media campaigns, foursquare must be interacted with regularly. If no one has checked in recently, or if the last tip is from six months ago, the value is lost. Encourage your employees and customers to download and use foursquare and watch its positive effect on business! Take it from me; I’m the mayor of Potratz on foursquare!

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Life Is A Highway And, I Want To  Ride It All Night Long

I don’t know if you've noticed, but Honda has recently adopted a new advertising tactic. Well-known and well-liked music has taken a front sesat in their commercials. This makes them memorable and effectively grasps the attention of potential consumers. According to Honda, the reason behind this is to ‘conjure up the rush consumers experience when they first drive off the lot in a new vehicle’.

It seems to me that Honda is on to something. Music is a great advertising technique for any business, but it's particularly practical for car dealerships. Of course, the songs being used in Honda commercials come at a high price,, but there are still opportunities for dealerships to include catchy theme music to help draw a consumer in.

Why is music a sensible element in a car commercial? Think about it this way: what is one of the first things you do upon entering your car? You turn on the radio. In my opinion, cars and music go hand and hand. Personally, I don’t drive anywhere without my music on. So why not take advantage of putting a catchy musical undertone to your commercials? As Honda says, driving and music go hand in hand, and having music in your commercial can help the audience relate to the car driving experience more realistically. Contact us now to see how we can help you make your commercials more memorable, and invoke that ‘rush’ for your potential consumer.

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 Journey into Purchasing a New Car

By: Kimberly Roselle

Simple fact: I take care of my cars. In the 17 years I have been driving, I have only had three cars. I am currently driving a 2005 Chevy Cobalt. I bought the first run of this car during Employee Pricing. Despite some issues with the fit and finish I have no serious complaints. But now after seven years and 120 thousand plus miles there are some issues. I can no longer ignore the fact that it's time for a new car, and therefore the hunt has begun.

This weekend I test-drove three cars: The Chevrolet Cruze, The Ford Focus, and The Honda Civic. My experience at each dealership was as varied as the cars.

Lets start with Chevy Cruze. My husband and I drove onto the lot and quickly found the Cruze. We walked through and peeked in at a few. Then the salesman arrived. I will call him Junior Joe. He was full of energy and knowledge and was very excited; he actually reminded me of a puppy. I went for a test drive and I was honest that I was not looking to buy today. Today was all about test drives and gathering info. Junior Joe never pushed me, and before I left he gave me a brochure and his business card.

At the next dealership, we drove around and did not see a single Focus, so we decided to walk around and look at Fusions. While we were perusing, no one came over, so we walked next door to the Honda dealership. We barely stopped at the Civic when salesman Safari Sam approached. He was not overly knowledgeable about the car and barely knew any incentives. Before I left Safari Sam gave me a brochure and his business card.

While at the final dealership of the day, we found one Focus. We hadn’t even gotten out of the car when the salesman came over. I’ll call him Mafia Max. He kept pushing me to drive it and then during the test drive tried to insist that we stop so my husband could also drive it. This was problematic to me because I had made it very clear to Mafia Max that this was to be my car. We got back to the dealership and he tried to push for the sale but I stood my ground informing him yet again, that I am only researching. Before I left he gave me a brochure and his card.

We arrived at home and that’s when the true comparisons began. Of the three brochures. Ford was the worst, containing no specs and no details. Chevy and Honda were both comparable.  As I was looking at the brochures I realized the Honda wasn’t for me and I quickly crossed the Civic off my list. Now it’s a duel between the Chevy and Ford.

As of now I have yet to make up my mind, but there are various factors to weigh before making my decision. Obviously this includes the features available for each of the vehicles, including fuel economy and safety. But, I have found myself also analyzing my decision based on the salesmen themselves and the experience they provided me while I was at their dealership. I have many factors to consider, but after reading this I’m wondering, which dealership would you choose?

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The Secret of Effectively Making Sales 1. Set Goals
  • When you think about your dealership, it might seem that the goal is obvious: to sell cars. While that is true, the important thing to remember is that a more specific goal and action plan is easier to obtain. Rather than the basic goal of "sell cars", you have to develop a realistic plan and set specific goals for who is going to make these sales, what vehicles, when you need to meet this goal and how your going to meet it.
2. Track Your Progress
  • Setting your goals is the first step. The second step is to make sure you are accomplishing those goals. It is important to track your progress to confirm whether you are meeting your pre-defined plan. This action is much easier said than done, but, you have to ensure that you are keeping an accurate report of which goals have been reached. Set a schedule of who will evaluate your progress and how often - then stick to it!
3. Evaluating Your Numbers
  • The third step to effectively making sales is analyzing your data; is what your doing working? If not, your next step is deciding how to fix the problem. What efforts will you take to effectively meet your pre-determined goals? The important thing is to keep an open mind and remember to be willing to try various avenues to reach your set goals. It may seem like trial and error, but finding the right strategy will ensure that you meet your goals, and ultimately sell cars!
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