Automotive Social Media Expert, JD Rucker of KPA Online Reviews The Internet Sales 20 GRoup
I had the opportunity to go to Irvine California yesterday to the KPA / TK Carsites Headquarters. First of all the facility is loced in Beautiful California. It was great to meet the executive team of KPA / TK Carsites....
I spent a couple hours getting updated on what KPA is currently enveloped in and I got a glimpse of upcoming AWESOME products / services.
Here is a quick update from Ricard Valeta, the founder of TK Carsites-
Richard Valenta, VP of Internet Marketing Products of TK Carsites / KPA Interview
People often ask me how I'm able to stay up on the millions of things that are happening in the world of automotive internet marketing on a daily basis. There are tons of blogs, social networks, and industry websites with enough posts to fill a full day if you plugged them all into an RSS reader. How does an automotive professional with limited time during the day stay ahead and not miss out on the important things?
It's one of the keys to success.
There are content producers galore in the industry. Everyone has an opinion on what to do with search, social, websites, analytics, CRM, classifieds, PPC, banner ads, and every other aspect of internet sales. Throw in the best practices and tips on how to actually work with customers and you have a huge mess. It's not that it's bad. It's that it needs to be curated.
The Twitter hashtag #automarketing is the easiest way to do it. Sure, there's going to be poor content that makes its way into the hashtag. That's inevitable. Many use it as a marketing tool to get their message out regardless of quality. However, the majority of what gets into the hashtag and stays at the top is high-quality.
Here's how it works. People read the blogs, social networks, and industry websites. They find content they like. They share this content on social networks like Twitter. Those who are very active on the internet side of the industry realize that certain hashtags like #AutoMarketing and #CarDealers get fed into Twitter chatter monitor widgets everywhere on the web. Thus, they put in the hashtag whenever they find something of interest.
The more that people curate and share the best content, the more powerful the hashtag becomes. It's not just the industry sites that get posted. Marketing sites that have content pertinent to car dealers often find their content shared with the hashtag as well.
If you want to stay ahead of the curve, this is one of the easiest ways to do it. Just do a search in Twitter for "#AutoMarketing" and you'll find content that curators have enjoyed. You can become a curator yourself by adding it to tweets of important industry posts. The more people that do it, the better the hashtag can become.
We need curation. You can save time by taking advantage of it. You can help by participating.
Automotive Digital Marketing Manager of Dealer Group in Kentucky - 17 Years in Automotive Sales
Quick interview with Joe Turner, Digital Marketing Manager with the Neil Huffman Auto Group. Joe has been in the industry for over 17 years and is a veteran in Automotive Internet Sales. Joe gives some advice based on his experience(s)
The last 3 years, infographics have grown as one of the most effective marketing tools available. They're easily sharable on social media, can offer tremendous SEO benefits, and can help your dealership offer content that people enjoy seeing.
Still, it's also the most underutilized tool by the automotive industry. A lot of it is our fault; vendors in the automotive space have seen infographics as too challenging and too expensive to bring to market. We've had a handful of forward-thinking dealers take advantage of it, but there hasn't been nearly the adoption that has occurred in other industries.
Even at the OEM level, Ford is the only company that has dipped their toes into infographics and found success.
First, let's look at what they do for dealerships:
- - They give content to visitors of both their websites and social media profiles an item will be shared. People share good content on Facebook and Twitter. They don't share new car specials pages. Some have asked what the benefit is. We've seen that when people share content on Facebook, a good percentage of it is localized. Friends, relatives, and coworkers that see a nice piece of content from a friend will visit the link and land on your site. If you're running remarketing campaigns or simply going for social media exposure, landing them on your site is an opportunity to generate a lead. Don't forget, every Facebook user has 8-9 Facebook friends who are in the market to buy a vehicle in the next 30 days.
- - Powerful inbound links are the most important aspect of search engine optimization. Having graphics that can be embedded on other sites is an opportunity to use this "link bait" to generate free links to your site.
- - Infographics that portray useful information such as proper SYNCing on a Ford or localized information such as a crime-rate map of the area positions the dealership website as a resource on top of being a place to look at cars. Whenever you can become a resource for people, they are more likely to want to do business with you.
Once you know what they do for you, let's take a look at the most successful infographic that we built in 2011. This particular one was generated for a non-automotive client but it will be easy to see why it was so successful. Here are the stats:
- - Posted on over 400 websites that linked back to the source, including high-value websites that included the New York Times, Mashable, TheNextWeb, and TheAtlantic.
- - Shared on Facebook over 17,000 times with Mashable having the highest share-rate of nearly 10,000.
- - Tweeted over 25,000 times with Mashable again leading the way with over 6,000 retweets.
- - Estimated 2.3 million views of the infographic.
- - Made the front page of Digg, Reddit, and went viral for 3 different sites on StumbleUpon.
Now, here's the infographic. If you have any questions about why it worked so well or how it translates in the automotive industry, please feel free to email me or ask in the comments.
Every few months, we see a dip in sentiment regarding social media. It's been going on consistently since early 2009 and we know that it will continue. Dealers try social, see little reason to continue, and set things on autopilot or abandon it altogether. Then, something changes that makes social media more important and the searches for "Automotive Social Media" spike again.
Get ready to do the search. Social just got more important again. A LOT more important.
During the Digital Marketing Strategies Conference in Napa last earlier this month, I gave a keynote that highlighted Google's commitment to social media (as soon as Jared, Bart, and Arnold send me the video, I'll be happy to post it here... hint, hint). Google reaffirmed that commitment in a big way earlier today that will change the way savvy dealers do social media.
Google Social Search is a game changer - even SearchEngineLand, a blog that is often conservative about the impact of Google changes, agrees. It will insert links into the natural search stream based upon social connections that share and produce those links. While social search itself has been around for nearly 2 years, it has always been a side-note buried at the bottom and likely unnoticed by most. Now, it has the potential to change the search results important to us with a single Tweet, review, or blog post.
With access to Beta, I did 2 searches for "Washington DC Chevrolet." The first, I did while not logged into Google, personalized search off and cookies cleared:
Then, I did the exact same search while logged into Google:
As you can see, a post by good friend Paul Rushing popped up at the top.
What does this mean for search and social? It means that social sentiment, which many dealers are paying attention to more regularly, just got that much more important. It means that dealers who are unprepared have the potential to see their search traffic drop, particularly if a competing dealer in the market is able to take advantage of this.
It means that YOU can beat them all to the punch and start getting prepared today before it rolls out fully.
I am in the middle of exhaustive research on the subject right now, but here are some key points to think about while you wait for our next version of the Automotive Social Media strategy guide:
- - Tweets Matter. A Lot. - Imagine a potential customer doing a search for one of your makes in your metro area (the most common new car search; "Denver Ford," for example). They under one of the results close to the top your dealership's listing. It's not at the top, but something catches their eye... Co-worker Debbie tweeted your dealership URL. They click through and see that 14 months ago, Debbie bought a car there and tweeted about how good her experience was. Bingo.
- - If You Thought Reviews Were Important Before... - As Google always does when they roll out new search features, we can expect expansion. While Facebook is almost completely out of the question for integration, reviews are definitely part of the equation. Same scenario as above, except replace "Tweet" with "RatePoint." Bingo again.
- - That Pesky Blogger... - Remember the guy who thought he'd wreck your business by posting on his blog about how you low-balled him on his trade? You were smart and covered your Google page one results to keep his post off, but now it's showing up again for hundreds, even thousands of people who are either connected to him or connected to someone who shared his post on social media.
- - Your Connections. - Now more than ever, having a strong and well-maintained Twitter account is important. Do you still have an RSS feed handling your Tweets, driving potential customers to unfollow you, or are you growing your account and being interesting? If the subtle, intrinsic benefits of Twitter didn't get your attention before, how about moving your website up to the top of hundreds of searches? Still want to automate?
I'm not going to sit here and say "I told you so." Not here. Not on Driving Sales. The dealers here represent the top echelon of automotive social media knowledge so you're probably taking advantage of social media in one way or another. Don't let up. Stay aggressive. Keep up with the changes.
And don't forget to bug Jared about getting me that video. It has some information that may further change the way you do your social media.
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