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In this week's Episode of Make Money Mondays Special Edition, Greg Gifford, Director of Search and Social at DealerON gives us inspiration on branding yourself. Greg talks about the basics you need to understand when branding yourself on the web. Your most important goal is to stand out from the rest of the crowd and make sure they understand why you are better than your competition. He asks us a very important SEO question, "Why do you deserve to be number one in Google?"

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The Need-to-Know Stats of Social Selling

Everything we do generates data. Data that can be interpreted, analyzed, visualized, scrutinized, and lauded over. We can then apply what we learn through that data to distill an activity down to a precise science with specific and measurable statistics.

As sales and marketing departments become better integrated, they look to these statistics to run their business more efficiently. But what stats matter most? Organizations can quantify just about anything, and a quick search of sales or marketing stats renders hundreds of results. Layer in social selling and social media statistics into your search and the results only increase. So what social selling statistics matter and why should sales leaders care? Here’s the top three stats you need to know.

Social Selling Statistic #1:

73% of sales reps that practice social selling outperform their peers and 64% of teams that practice social selling hit quota.

Yes, these are technically two statistics, but they prove this point: social selling works. Reps and teams that leverage their social channels throughout the sales process close more and win more than those that do not. Want to go to club? Want that promotion? Want to be the number one rep, district, or region? Start social selling. People buy from people they know, like and trust. Social channels are the perfect space to start and build relationships with prospects away from sales emails and sales calls. When used effectively, social selling can help warm a lead, earn a sales call, nurture that lead, and help close the deal.

Social Selling Statistic #2:

92% of buyers will delete emails and voicemails from people that they don’t know.

If your sales team is just cold emailing and cold calling prospects, then they are missing out on one of their most important channels. Leveraging social media can help you learn about your prospects and engage with them around a shared topic of interest, answer a question, or provide a valuable insight. Using social allows you to start a conversation and remove “cold” from your initial emails and calls. Sales reps and teams that leverage social to become a person that buyers know, like and trust are more likely to succeed.

Social Selling Statistic #3:

82% of prospects can be reached via social media.

As a sales rep or sales leader, having access to your target market is one of the first steps toward success. If social media is where your prospects are, then that is where sales reps need to be. On top of that, reps need to be visible, searchable, and accessible. Social allows you to build your personal brand, build your product and services credibility and build the relationships that will help you close more business. The social sphere gives reps unparalleled information and access to their target prospects. Leverage it!

Social selling provides sales teams with countless data points that can all yield valuable insights and statistics into their social selling strategies and tactics. By focusing on the a few key statistics, it’s easy to see why market leaders like Oracle, IBM, ADP and BMC are investing resources into social selling training and strategy—because it works.


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September 22, 2015 // 8:00 AM 

12 Surprising Social Selling Statistics That You'll Want to See

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Maybe you think your buyers aren't active on social media. Maybe you're not sure if your boss would approve of you messaging prospects on LinkedIn. Maybe you don't even have a LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook account, and frankly, don't get what all the fuss is about.

Whatever the case is, you haven't started incorporating social media into your sales process. And why should you? After all, you haven't heard of anyone crushing their quota thanks to a social network. The day you see results is the day you'll look into social selling.

Well, that day has come. Salespeople skeptical about social selling need only to look at the 12 statistics in the infographic below to start coming around to the practice. A few choice data points sure to raise eyebrows:

  • Social sellers surpass quota 23% more often
  • The average cold-call-to-appointment rate is under 3%
  • 77% of buyers don't engage a sales rep until they do their own research

Convinced? Thank Sales For Life, and get social selling!

Source -

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Social Media Engagement is a Two-Way Street

The most amazing part about the internet and social media is that it has opened up communication between people and businesses that was never possible before. We now have the ability to talk to our customers and for them to talk to us in an interactive fashion, allowing for clear lines of engagement that can be both public and private.

For car dealers, this has translated into an incredible way for them to broadcast their messages and get feedback in real time. On Facebook, people can like, comment on, or share their posts when they appreciate them... and even when they do not. The world is completely different than it was a decade ago when the most powerful method of online communication, the email, was still relegated to being private.

This all means that dealers can receive interaction, but it also means that they're required to deliver interaction right back at their customers. Every day, we see dealers who are not taking advantage of this. People will comment on their Facebook posts, talk about them on Twitter, or respond to their blog posts and YouTube videos, but we then see many of the interactions going one way. The people are talking to the dealers but the dealers aren't always replying.

This is a big mistake because proper two-way communication breeds more communication. When people see your posts and also see that you're replying to the people that are commenting, it makes it more likely that they'll want to comment even more.

It also creates a proper feedback mechanism. A lot of dealers are doing this best practice on review sites, but then the same dealers are failing to engage on social media. When you allow social media to be a way for people to engage in a proper discussion on automotive topics, you're allowing them to help you get more reach for your messages.

The more you comment back, the more new comments you'll get. The more new comments you get, the more people will see the posts that are getting the comments. It's a great way to increase your message exposure.

Perhaps the most important reason to reply to everyone who comments on your posts is that it's simply proper manners. If someone says "hi" to you in the grocery store, you'll usually say "hi" right back at them even if you don't know them. It's good form to reply to those who talk to you and that carries over to your social media interactions.

Dealers that are doing this well can take it to the next level. They can get involved with other conversations of a general interest to the local community and start to really express the dealership's personality. This is key on social media. After all, part of being "social" is interacting with as many people as possible.

The streets in the social media world run in both directions. Savvy dealers are making sure that they're not just seeking engagement from others but that they're being engaging as well.

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A lot can be said about the power of gratitude and humility. In the automotive industry, we are thankful for our customers and often humbled by the attention they give to us during this important aspect of their lives. It's not like they're buying a car every day, right?

In this video from Jim Ziegler's Internet Battle Plan in Seattle, I discuss the importance of having the right type of focus when operating your social media for the dealership.

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The Key to Social Media is Storytelling

For a decade now, businesses and marketers have attempted to decipher the jumbled mess of social media and turn it into a true ROI generator. Hundreds of thousands of Ponce de Leóns have explored the social media countryside in search of the ultimate prize - tangible benefit from social media marketing.

Thankfully, it's not as mythical as the Fountain of Youth. Most are getting minor benefits from social media as long as they're sticking with it and applying some basic strategies. A few are getting real results from the branding and communication components of social media that are achievable by nearly anyone who tries hard enough and invests a little money into the endeavor.

For those who are really wanting to make a dramatic impact on their social media presence, the key is in storytelling. This is hard. That's not one of those feigned discouragements that marketers often use to dissuade businesses from trying to do it themselves. It truly is extremely difficult to take the mundane aspects of most businesses and turn them into something truly special that people are willing to passionately follow.

With social media storytelling, it's not about telling lies. It's definitely not about looking for the thunder in a bottle that some companies have been able to find through a combination of luck and some viral secret sauce that eludes the rest of humanity; how many tried to duplicate what Oreo did at the Super Bowl? Lastly, it's not about manufacturing buzz where it doesn't exist.

Storytelling requires finding those creative elements that are present in any business (regardless of how mundane the industry might seem) and forming them into a strategy that yields a path to success. It only takes one sentence to describe it but one could write a book on the actual strategy behind it. We'll try to keep it shorter here.

The story itself can be about nearly anything as long as it's relevant to the business in some way. It doesn't even have to be a direct attachment. It can be about customers. It can be about employees. It can be the journey that was taken to arrive at a particular product or service launch.

Think about it like making a movie. It isn't about the end result of the movie itself, but rather the Blue-Ray extras and behind the scenes shots. Taking us through the process can be as fun (or more fun) than watching the end result itself. As humans, we have a tendency to enjoy watching things as they unfold.

A pretty good (not great, but good) example of this was when Pepsi MAX worked with NBA star Kyrie Irving to put the Uncle Drew series together for YouTube. The reasons that it was good is because it was able to tell stories that were interesting enough to get millions of views, was sustainable for a few posts to make it a series, and gave the behind-the-scenes view that we love. The reason that it wasn't great is because it had very little to do with the product itself with only occasional views.

A much better example is a Thai Pantene commercial from a few years ago. It told a compelling story and had all of the right elements but it did not let the product get in the way. In fact, you'll have no idea it's a Pantene commercial until the end. One thing that most will definitely notice is that during the concert, the main character has absolutely incredible hair. When the Pantene logo is shown at the end with the tagline, "You can shine," it all comes together for the viewer.

These are both big productions that most businesses cannot duplicate, but that doesn't mean that you can't draw inspiration from their creativity. The key is to make it last. It doesn't have to revolve around a video, either. A friend, , did an excellent job of using social media to tell the story of her new job. She had a countdown of the top 5 reasons to be excited about her new job. It kept anticipation high, friends (and potential clients) guessing, and showed that even individuals have the ability to tell the right stories about their business.

To succeed at social media marketing, businesses and marketers must embrace the right strategies and couple them with incredible stories. This post itself is an example of this as we will be rolling out stories of our own very soon for our clients. Stay tuned!

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Having Trouble with Social Media?

Using social media in a business setting is important. Social media allows you to reach certain audiences, gain a following, and bring traffic to your websites. It’s necessary that you know just how to use social media, and how to improve it as well. If you’re having trouble understanding social media, and struggling with ways to see if your social media platforms are successfully reaching your target audiences, there’s a few things you can look into.

 There are a handful of free resources for you to acquire your social media data from. For example, “Twitonomy” allows Twitter users to see how often they tweet, how many links they tweet, how many replies they receive, how many re-tweets they get, and how many favorites. This resource also allows users to see what hash tag is most popularly used. Knowing this information can help you figure out whom your tweets are reaching, what you can do to reach other audiences, and which hashtags seem to be getting you the most attention. This information can be used strategically to ensure that your social media skills improve.

 If your business uses multiple social media platforms, you can link all of them to “SumAll” and receive emails containing information about all of your social media statistics. This is a good tool because it groups everything together, allowing you to obtain information on all of your social media platforms in one place.

 Social media is becoming a huge part of the business world, and it’s important that you know exactly what you’re doing and how to continuously make your platforms stronger for your audiences.

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When it comes to marketing (and just about everything else), there are right-brained thinkers and left-brained thinkers. The right-brain thinkers are more subjective and often more creative and would not like the concept of social media having two options. It makes it too black and white. Left-brain thinkers are guided by logic and wouldn't necessarily believe that there are only two categories in social media marketing. In other words, neither type of person will likely agree with the assertion of this article, at least not at first.

One can make an argument that there are definitely multiple sub-categories, styles, and strategies that go into social media marketing, but there are really only two stances that businesses should take. These two categories can be called "outbound" and "inbound" social media strategies. They shouldn't be confused with inbound or outbound digital marketing strategies. In the case of these social media categories, we're being a little more straight forward than that.

An outbound social media marketing strategy is what most who believe in social media want to achieve. They feel that social media is a venue through which to reach people, communicate, improve branding, and expose the company's messages. Its goal is to be aggressive and take advantage of the fact that the masses are using social media regularly. In many cases, customers are spending more time on social media than any other digital activity.

An inbound social media strategy is very different from a pure inbound marketing strategy. It can be viewed as a defensive posture, a way of covering social media without much time or effort. It's about checking off the social media task box. This is the type of strategy that a business should employ if they either do not believe in social media as an appropriate marketing venue or they do not have the time and/or budget to put a true effort towards an outbound strategy.

Let's take a look at each strategy in more detail.

Outbound Social Media Marketing

This is an "all in" strategy. It focuses on the beliefs that lots of people are on social media, that sites like Facebook have the data that can be used for hypertargeting them with the right messages, and that either ideas or website clicks can be driven through an aggressive advertising component.

In the case of car dealers, for example, social media offers a venue to target people who intend to buy a certain vehicle in the near future. By taking advantage of this data and putting the right messages in front of them, dealers are able to pull people in from social media sites onto landing pages on their website.

To do it the right way requires an investment. It can take time to craft the messages, monitor the profiles, and participate in conversations. It takes advertising dollars to get the message out to the right target audience. Social media in general and Facebook in particular is a pay-to-play model. The old concepts of organic reach are dead.

Inbound Social Media Presence

You'll notice that I did not call it "marketing". With an inbound strategy, a business is simply creating and managing a presence so that they are there without putting in much effort. It's not a defeatist strategy by any means. For many, they have not found the benefits of social media or they're not ready to invest what it takes to have a strong marketing strategy, so they simply get their social media covered.

This is important because people will visit your pages and profiles. Most businesses have buttons that lead to their social media profiles right there on their website. The search engines will often rank social media profiles and pages high on search results for the business by name. Making sure that your pages have an ongoing flow of content is important while not being too time consuming or expensive.

It doesn't look good when people visit your social profiles and they haven't had anything added to them in some time. It's even worse when people are going to these profiles to converse with you or to leave a comment (such as a review) and it goes unnoticed. In extreme cases, Facebook pages can be "hijacked" by spammers leaving their links to unrelated pages. When this type of spam is found on a page, it can be worse than an embarrassment.

Why There's No In-Between

Some will balk and say that there are ways to have a good marketing strategy without going all-in. They are wrong. The benefits of a toe-dipping, low- or no-budget strategy that is trying to do more than establish an ongoing presence are no greater than a purely defensive inbound strategy. In other words, you can spend very little time and money on a basic inbound strategy or you can spend some more time and a little money on an attempted lite marketing strategy and the end results will be the same.

The gap between a basic presence and a "good" presence is minimal. However, the difference between a "good" presence and a full-blown outbound strategy is huge. If you're not going to go all-in, then you should focus on having a good presence rather than trying to work in a little marketing. It's a waste of time and money to go halfway. Either invest into it or keep it simple. There's nothing wrong with either strategy; they both have their benefits. Trying to be there in the middle, not quite bought in but more than just covering the basics, is a limbo that yields nothing more than keeping it all inbound.

It's a lot like poker. On some hands, you'll play it tight, particularly if you believe your hand is weaker than your opponents. On other hands, you'll play aggressive, even going all-in when the time is right. The fish in the middle who are trying to tiptoe through hands are the ones that end up losing their chips the quickest.

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Today, using the “free” social media platforms as a marketing tool without spending money on them is about as useful as playing the first level of the freeware version of iPad game.

It used to be so exciting to think about how to market a business on social media. We would read articles, watch videos, go to conferences, exchange ideas, try things out, and come up with the very best way to reach the people. Just a few years ago, it was exciting to be in the social media marketing world.

Things have changed. Many of my contemporaries who have been working in social media for nearly a decade have talked to me lately about how it’s all going downhill, how organic reach is gone and that the pay-to-play model has ruined the industry. They say things like “money makes the crap float to the top” or “there’s nothing creative about paying for exposure.” I agree with them during these conversations, not because I believe what they are saying, but because I’ve found that the exact opposite is true. I’m just trying to avoid an argument.

The reality is that the death of organic reach on social media sites is the best thing that could happen to creative social media marketers. Does it mean that some of the bottom line dollars must be spent in order to get the content the exposure it needs? Yes. Does it also mean that the crap that once filled news feeds across sites like Facebook have been yanked in favor of a proper mix of profile posts with a sprinkling of important, targeted, and paid-for exclusive posts? Absolutely.

It was once pretty futile. Sure, a few posts could get some pretty good exposure, reach, likes, retweets, shares, +1s, or whatever, but there were times when the best content didn’t reach the audience at the degree it deserved. Relying on organic when organic was still an option was a poor strategy. Now that there needs to be a budget (a very small budget, mind you), the potential exposure for high-quality content has actually increased due to the shift in need towards social media advertising.

Facebook and Twitter are the two obvious choices for embracing the paid model and in both cases, the shift was a very positive thing. Our messages can’t get muscled out by the big players just because they’re more popular. Paying to get the attention to the best content or most important posts is a sure-fire way to make certain that the message reaches the right people every time.

The thought that it killed creativity is ludicrous as well. In fact, the dollars attached to the campaigns mean that more care must be put into them. Nobody wants to waste money, so embracing a higher standard of post quality is now at top of mind. As much as we’d all like to think that we were putting out incredible content every time before, the reality is that everyone has days where they’re going through the motions. It’s on those days that a free post can slip through that is terrible. With the paid model, we must pay more attention. It’s better for everyone involved.

We all got suckered into it. We didn’t want to pay for it and for many of us, the reason that we got into this game in the first place was because we could gain exposure for our own pages or our clients’ pages by being good at the game. The paid model doesn’t change that if you really think about it. By paying, we are more invested and will perform better across the board. It’s part of human nature.

They got us to try it. In many ways, it’s like the freeware games that we download that try to get us hooked so we’ll pay for the full version. We got addicted to this world of social media marketing and now we can’t get out of it. Thankfully, the shift is starting to weed out those who are ineffective at taking advantage of what’s given to us all. If you’re not willing to pay to play this game, you should probably find another. Organic reach is dead on social media. Perhaps getting better organic search rankings is better suited for those who can’t play in social media anymore.

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Linking up to LinkedIn!

We’ve already covered that it’s important to publicize and promote your business via social media. To date we’ve covered some of the more obvious social media platforms, but today we’re going to cover LinkedIn. While Facebook and Twitter are the mullet of social media (business in the front, party in the back) LinkedIn is pure business.  At its core, LinkedIn is a website for professional networking, but it can also be used to promote your business and brand!

In 2002, LinkedIn was launched by Reid Hoffman in a living room and less than a year later, the site was ready for its official launch on May 5th, 2003. The CEO Jeff Weiner crafted his LinkedIn management team with people who work for important companies such as PayPal, Google, Microsoft and more, this was crucial to the sites success.  Without strong names on the helm, there was no doubt that the site was constructed properly. According to LinkediN’s about us section( the site is the largest professional network in the world and currently has members in over 200 territories and countries in the world. The site has 300 million users (1.7 million of which log in daily) and allows people to network on a professional level. A main profile page is created, which at a base level, reads as your resume. This profile includes a professional summary about yourself, your job history, education and a spot for people to endorse you for the skills you have self-identified.

Another component to LinkedIn are the groups you can join.  Each group has a purpose, whether it be to connect to people in your industry, or share relevant content to a specific culture, the possibilities are endless! Yet another use for LinkedIn, job searching; Companies continuously post job opportunities for both internal and external candidates.  Finding a job posting on LinkedIn is beneficial because you are in a great spot to check out the company before you apply.

To wrap things up, keep in mind that whether you are posting on your main feed or within groups, keep it professional. You want to promote content that is relevant to your company and share other relevant content as well. As with anything, people like credibility and do not want to hear about your company only, BE ENGAGING. LinkedIn is not your typical social network; You have the option to connect with people and message people. However, you are advised not to connect with people you do not know. It’s free to start, so get networking! 

Written By: CB & BL

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If you were thrown off by the title just now I think it is safe to say you have no clue what this article is about, which is great and you are about to learn something! Our social media team found this article while researching content and found it to be very interesting. Social Media Today explained this complex topic in a semi-simple way, and I’m going to simplify it even more, AND it’s extremely important to your brand!  Colors play a huge role in marketing and can help evoke emotions in your customers.  The key is to use the right colors that you feel should be associated with your brand. You do not want your children’s clothing business to be branded in dull mono-tone colors! According to the research in the above article, dull and mono-tone colors (like gray) can make a customer feel blah. No one is going to want to spend time feeling “blah”

It’s all about making colors work for you and your brand. Think about it, there are reasons certain sites draw you in more than others and after a while, people begin to associate a specific color with a specific brand. Most people can pick the “Facebook Blue” out of a line up, wouldn’t it be cool if people could pick your brands color out of a collection? Color is actually a way to communicate without communicating verbally. Using the right colors can make a big impact on how your brand is viewed and the “taste” it leaves in a customers mouth. Customers are 85% more likely to give your brand / company the time of day if they enjoy the colors used in the logo and in-store! Companies that used a consistent color pallet in print, digital marketing and social media had their brand recognized  80% more often then stores that stuck to primary and basic pallets. Those are high percentages! So, according to Social Media Today this color chart below explains emotions based on colors. Do any of these trigger your emotions according to the chart? Check them out. Also, consider what colors could possibly improve your marketing efforts. Best of luck to you with your branding and have an orange day! (Or you know cheerful and confident day)

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Why Instagram is great for you...

As a dealership it’s important to stay on top of the most current social media trends. The most popular new form of social media is Instagram. This makes total sense considering “a picture is worth 1,000 words.” Instagram (IG) was established in 2010 and has been gaining “followers” ever since. IG is strictly mobile based, and at this time it is not possible to post a photo on via the desktop site, although a quick visit to will provide a great photo viewer! Like Facebook and Twitter, IG encourages the use of Hashtags in photo posts. Hashtags allow you to link your photo with anyone else using the same Hashtag. The newest component of IG is the capability to record and share videos as well!

The largest draw to Instagram is the ability to put filters on your photos! With over 15 choices, and the ability to control a blur setting, and contrast, you have total control over your photos!

So, why would a strictly picture based app be good for your business? Well, first off According to the site has 200 million monthly users. That is a lot of potential customers! The key though is to make your picture or video captivating. You don’t want people to be scrolling through their IG timeline and glaze right over your picture without engaging with it. Even worse, you wouldn’t want to offend anyone with a photo post!

The same advice we’d give you for any other social media platform rings true with IG; you don’t want to over promote your brand! You want your posts to be a mix of relevant topics and things going on for you and your business. You can accomplish this with behind the scenes photos, or first looks at the latest technology! Keep in mind Instagram is a strictly mobile based app, but it’s super easy to download and sign up. All you need is an e-mail address to make an account. So, get to promoting your brand in a new way today!

For in-depth training on Instagram, give Dealer Synergy a call, we've got some great tips to turn you into an IG Master!

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Are you using SlideShare?

If you aren't, why not? SlideShare provides an opportunity to upload PowerPoint and Keynote slideshow presentations to their website and share them with friends, colleagues and strangers.  I know what you're thinking, but I could just email them the presentation! You could, but what about those "strangers" it may seem obsolete for strangers to find your presentations, but what if they're looking for them?

With SlideShare you can optimize your presentation settings for great SEO! You can upload presentations on why your dealership is better than others around you, or presentations on specific cars you've got on your lot! You could create a presentation outlining what you're looking for in a specific employee and while people search google for jobs in your area, they'd stumble upon your presentation  The possibilities are truly endless!

AND while you're poking around the SlideShare website, look for a slideshow (or two) that might be able to teach you something new! Learning should never stop happening, so take advantage of all the free resources possible!  

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Vine is a video mobile application that leverages the quick sound-byte social media culture in the same way as Instagram, except that its video feature is “micro” and lasts only six seconds that can play on a continuous loop.

Vine is a platform, but the video clips are more often viewed on Twitter or Facebook. The auxiliary features important to a business using vine social media strategies to promote its product or service are a caption field and a hashtag option.

But how can you use it for your Dealership?

  1. Save money and use vine social media marketing tactics in place of a professional video to develop an obscure, creative six-second clip can present a brand’s face to the youthful Vine demographic.
  2. Tease the audience with a new product or service video and audio preview and compel users to take a further look at the dealership's web site.
  3. Use Vine as a new venue for promoting an offer or coupon or monthly special.
  4. A clever fact campaign similar to Nantucket Nectars or Snapple can convert users to website traffic.
  5. Reveal your business at work with a behind-the-scenes glance into your service process or how you obtain your inventory.
  6. Product placement with a brand ambassador in a humorous setting can help it “go viral,” similar to a popular ad campaign.
  7. Like a YouTube How-To video, use Vine to demonstrate your business product or service.
  8. Show users your staff, moments of success, and images that convey the business’ work culture to engage them with the brand identity.
  9. Leverage Vine features: Include the logo for identification, a caption with a website link and a hashtag that enables search.
  10. Target the specific, youthful demographic using Vine, many of them teenagers and young adults, with clever, spontaneous, action footage that expands your business brand image to illustrate it in a new light.

You can Visit DealerSynergy's Vine here -

The Original Article Is Here - Using Vine

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Are you Spamming Facebook?

Facebook announced recently they are changing their spam algorithm. 

 This is great for the "consumer" but could get tricky for business owners. I've always hated when people "baited" for likes, comments or shares by adding the tagline - "Like if you Agree" or "Share if you Love your Honda," but all of the research I've done has shown that posts that use those bait lines get 4x more engagement then  posts that don't.  WAIT! Before you run to change your social media strategy, you should probably know the new algorithm is designed to mark posts using "engagement baiting" as spam! 

What does that mean?  If Facebook deems your post as spam, they'll remove it from your audience's news feed, in short they won't be seen... and if your post isn't going to be seen, is it worth posting at all?

So how do you circumnavigate this algorithm change, but still get people to engage with your post?  Create engagement worthy posts!  What are engagement worthy posts? That's a topic for another day, come back soon!  

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Science rules in digital marketing.

Social media is a place of vanity. Those of us who use social media often get to see flattering images of just about everything - people, places, food, cars, whatever. Have you ever seen a picture of a friend posted as their new profile picture and thought, "Wow, that's a good picture of them."

One might believe that the same holds true for automotive ads. On websites, it has been widely accepted that real pictures of inventory work better than stock photos, but on social media we have access to the gorgeous pictures that are supplied by the OEMs. Will pretty advertising pictures outperform pictures of live inventory on ads that are sending traffic to the vehicle details pages and search results pages?

We have done a ton of A/B testing over the past few months and we have pretty compelling data, but I want to get the opinion of the community here before posting those results. What do you think?

Here are some of the criteria for a test we ran for a Hyundai client:

  • All ad copy had the same titles, status text, and link description
  • The ads linked to the search results page for new Hyundai vehicles
  • They were targeted at intenders - people within driving distance to the dealership who had indicated they intend to buy a new Hyundai in the next 180 days
  • The only difference was the image

We ran two concurrent campaigns for 1 month. One had beautiful images pulled from the OEM. The other had live inventory images. Here are samples with the branding omitted:

Which type do you think got more clicks to the dealer's website?

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A good social media advertising campaign (or any marketing campaign at all, for that matter) should be guided by science. Testing, monitoring, adjusting, and testing again are the cornerstones of a good marketing strategy.

Much of what we do in the car business comes with assumptions. We do things that we have known from past experience to be successful. Sometimes, we have to take those assumptions and adjust them to modern sentiment, trends, and technologies. Other times we have to take those assumptions and throw them out the window.

Below are 6 images. These images were built to plug into a single Facebook advertising campaign designed to drive traffic to the website. The wording of the ad was the same across the board. The budget was a strong one and the activity was left in the hands of the Facebook algorithm to serve the ads based upon activity and popularity.

Look at the images and come to a conclusion in your mind which one yielded the most clicks to the website. The orange section represents where the logo is. Keep in mind that the wording of the ad was generally geared towards Chevrolet - no model indicators were used in the ad other than the image. Given this limited amount of information, which do you think performed the best and yielded the most clicks to the inventory for the dealership?

1. Red Camaro

2. Tahoe

3. Black Camaro

4. Keys

5. Silverado

6. Corvette

Think you have the right answer? I'll tell you up front - it wasn't even close. The ad that performed the best had more than double the click-thru rate in the first few hours. After it started going, it ended up with more than 3 times the clicks of all of the other images combined.

If you have an answer, like this post and comment with which one you think performed the best in the ads. One name will be drawn from the correct answers before the end of the month. If you're a dealer, you'll get a cool prize in the form of some sort of service from Dealer Authority. If you're a vendor, we'll reward you with a contextual followed link to your website from a PageRank 5 site (great for SEO, and if a dealer wins and would prefer that, they can take it instead).

Who's up for the challenge?

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The new business layout that Facebook will be rolling out is very important to pay attention to. There are a few alterations that will really help manage and stand out on your Facebook page.

The new streamlined look will make it easier for viewers to find the information they want. The right side of the page will have your wall posts, which means at all times on your page the viewer will be able to see your posts. The left side of the page is where the business information will be located.  

The best addition to the new layout will be the addition of 'Pages to Watch' which will allow you to watch other Facebook pages to monitor how and what they are doing. This is a great way to monitor what other dealers do on Facebook and to make sure you are doing enough to stay ahead of your competition.

To read more about this click the link below!

Facebook's New Business Layout Link: ---> Click Here

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One of the most amazing parts of my job is spending time reading, watching, and testing the practices of others. It's conceivable that the true secret to my success over the years has less to do with creativity and more to do with listening and deciphering. You have to listen to the channels like Google and Facebook. You have to listen to your customers. You have to listen to your customers' customers (if you're an agency like me).

The annoying part of my job is sifting through the recycled techniques and reinvented terminology that surrounds so many marketing practices. In most cases, it's the same old things repackaged into a different form or applied from a different angle. Those are valuable, but not gamechanging. Still, it's important to go through them all in order to find the hidden or not-so-hidden gems that arise. The best practices I've found over the years haven't been on the pages of Mashable, Search Engine Watch, or Social Media Today. The real winners have come from some of the least likely sources.

With all of that out of the way, let's get to the point. There are three types of marketing. Despite all of the various names - push and pull marketing, social media marketing, gravitational marketing, search marketing, influence marketing, content marketing - the easiest and arguably most pure way of looking at it is to tackle everything from a perspective of venue and intent. Where are the people going and what are they doing when they get there? It's important for me as well as business owners to look at it from this perspective because the collision of the various marketing types is forcing a holistic marketing model to outperform niche marketing techniques or specialized strategies.

In other words, if you look at venue and intent, you can craft your overall marketing strategy much more easily. We look at it as following the quest - what are they doing, why are thy doing it, and how can we be there to help them choose our clients. When people buy your products, they are fulfilling a quest. No, they're not slaying an actual dragon, but if they're on a quest to buy a car, then your dealership selling them a car is the culmination of that particular quest.

Here are the three types of marketing for 2014 (well, early 2014 at least - it changes so quickly) that we like to tackle:

Fulfilling the Quest

This is the easiest to understand and often the hardest to achieve because of the simplicity of purpose. Everyone knows that if someone is interested in buying a car, they're probably going to go to Google, Bing, or one of the various classified sites to start looking. They might go to review sites and OEM sites as well, but for the most part they're ready to seek the fulfillment of their quest, they're going to try to look for cars.

Search engine marketing of all types, whether it's SEO or PPC, gives you the opportunity to drive them to your website so they may fulfill their quest. They aren't searching for Honda dealers to have fun. They have a purpose. They're in buying mode. This is where you have to be in order to help them fulfill their quest.

Renewing the Quest

More businesses are starting to do this. Many of them tried to do it in 2009-2012 and failed miserably. Part of it was because the venues such as Facebook, banner advertisements, retargeting, and other forms of "passive" marketing arenas weren't developed to the point that they are today.

Now, the goals have come full-circle thanks to the overall availability of the internet. Mobile devices have made checking social media sites and reading websites the common activity when there are no activities to do. As people ride a bus, wait in line at the bank, or even perform other mundane activities like watching television, they are also surfing the internet. They aren't going to Facebook to buy things, but they're open to the concept. They're open to having their quest renewed.

When they go to Fox News to see what's going on and the retargeting ad pops up in front of them, they are reminded that they are still on a quest even if they aren't actively on it at that point. When the business they visited last week pops up on their Facebook news feed, they get that reiteration that they still need to buy something. It might take a dozen instances of seeing a brand and its message before they actually click through, but the statistics are showing that it's working. Not every sale is made through Google. In fact, some of the most important and actionable clicks come through other venues when they're not in active buying mode.

Creating the Quest

Of the three, this is the one that's ignored the most. It's the hardest to do and the least rewarding when not done right. However, it can be the most rewarding when companies are able to make it sing. This is one that we focus on in particular because in our industry, nobody is doing it right.

In many ways it's like good old fashioned advertising. No, it's not like the commercials that we see on television today. Think along the lines of the early days of television when brands were built by establishing a problem that people will see in the normal course of their day and then having that problem solved either in the middle of the initial marketing effort or after further research.

The reason that it's so hard today is because of attention span. We have seconds instead of minutes to get the message out through most advertising and marketing venues. There's no longer time to tell a story...

...or is there?

The art of creating the quest is about putting the right content on the right venues that will reach people and establish a need whether they're in the market right now or not. With this particular article already breaking the 1,000-word mark, there's not enough time to go into it in detail. We'll do that next time. Instead, watch the following video that shows two commercials that worked well in their day. Today, having a minute-long television commercial isn't practical for most businesses, but taking advantage of the various channels online to accomplish the same goal and better is something that we know will move the needle. It's hard. That's the point. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.

More on that next time. For now, here's the video:

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Auto Industry Failing to Tap Power of Social Media to Deliver Actionable Sales Leads, Says Report by CMO Council

CMO Council Report Finds Auto Ecosystem Marketers Looking for Better Ways to Integrate Marketing With Sales Generation and Sales Funnel Activities

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwired - Mar 3, 2014) - The auto industry ecosystem should do more to leverage social media as a platform for drivingbusiness leads into sales pipelines, argues a new report by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. Social media is stimulating extensive auto-related conversations and content that create major opportunities to identify likely buyers and engage them based on their preferences and purchase intent, according to the report, which is entitled "Turning Social Feeds Into Business Leads."

Developed in partnership with hoojook, Inc. -- a Silicon Valley social media intelligence company focused on the auto sector -- the new report finds auto industry marketers are in various stages of adopting social marketing strategies and practices. Most see social as a potentially powerful medium for understanding and engaging consumers, but they are early in the development of marketing and business metrics, as well as processes that integrate social media data more effectively in the sales funnel.

"Social represents an important marketing frontier for the automotive industry," said Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director of the CMO Council. "Senior marketers recognize its capacity to deliver actionable, real-time insights that can help drive overall marketing effectiveness. They also see its value as a dynamic channel for influencing brand preference and purchase. Now they need to take the next step by integrating social more directly into the sales funnel and using it as a new platform for delivering qualified leads."

There is plenty of evidence demonstrating the potential of social as a marketing channel across manufacturing brands, dealerships and aftermarket products and services. For example:

  • Thirty-eight (38) percent of consumers say they will consult social media in making their next car purchase.1
  • Twenty-three (23) percent of car buyers say they use social media to communicate their purchase experience.1
  • Eighty-four (84) percent of automotive shoppers are on Facebook, and 24 percent of them have used Facebook as a resource for making their vehicle purchases.1
  • Forty (40) percent of new car purchases over the next 10 years will be made by millennials.2
  • Ninety-four (94) percent of millennial car buyers gather information online.3
  • Clicks on Facebook auto ads climbed from 16 percent to 39 percent between October 2012 and April 2013.1

Based on interviews with senior marketers and executives from auto manufacturers, dealer networks, aftermarket service providers and B2B automotive solutions companies such as Autonation, Costco Auto Program, Nissan, Cadillac, Car MD, KIA, Aspen Marketing Services, Express Oil Change, Mazda, Snap-on, Dealertrack and DME Automotive, the report finds that senior marketers are highly interested in developing and using new systems and processes to leverage social more effectively for lead acquisition and acceleration. However, most say they are only in the very early stages of the process and often express caution about possible brand reputation issues when overtly marketing to individuals on social.

Nonetheless, the report argues that the use of social in combination with natural language processing and big data analytics, along with social's ability to deliver meaningful content and commentary in context, has the potential to make it a highly effective medium for identifying, segmenting and engaging consumers based on preferences and where they are in the purchase cycle.

"The technology now exists to process and analyze social streams -- not only to understand broader consumer attitudes and reputational issues, but also to identify, segment and profile individual consumers based on where they are in the purchase cycle, their preferences and needs, and even psychographic characteristics that influence how they want to engage with brands and service providers," said Shauli Chaudhuri, CEO of hoojook. "Consumers are using social media to find product recommendations, access dealer reviews, voice complaints, display preference, consider peer opinions, capitalize on coupon offers, and engage in ongoing dialogues with their favorite automotive brands. We believe the auto industry will benefit greatly from data-driven analytics to identify potential customers and social content delivery systems that bring automotive OEMs, dealers, aftermarket service providers and other members of the ecosystem closer to the consumers who are looking to make purchases."

The full strategic report is available for download today and features valuable insights, including:

  • Campaigns focused on cars generate much higher consumer engagement and interest than other social media initiatives, such as charitable causes.
  • Reputation management is seen as potentially the most critical aspect of social marketing, with consumer-generated content and commentary having a huge influence on purchasing decisions.
  • Marketers view social as most effective when integrated with other channels and marketing approaches; many view social analytics as an invaluable source of insight for other digital and offline marketing efforts.
  • Facebook is widely regarded as the most powerful social channel for automotive, but marketers say other channels can be more effective, depending on the need and strategy.

To download the report, please visit


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