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There are many people working in the car business that are getting very active using a social networking "Geolocatiing" application known as "Foursqaure".  As Joe Webb points out, this is not to be confused with the "4 Square" write-up, commitment creating, desking and write-back tool of choice for many other auto professionals for at least 30 years that I know of... But, I have no problem finding the utility in using the 4 Square deal write-up method and I am having a hard time coining to grips with the payoff potential of using Foursquare the social-geolocating networking app....

I do not doubt that there must be something really cool about Foursquare because many people I have a high regard for and respect seem to have become quite addicted to it... However, I also have a high degree of respect for Crack Cocaine and heroin, enough so to stay away from the stuff!

So besides Foursquare's widely observed addictive potential, and the fact that I believe it is one of the most popular social networks that utilize a cell phone's GPS capabilities... Seeing people like Brian Pasch, Dave Metter, Eric Miltsch, Gary May and other well respected automotive digital marketing professionals checking in to Foursquare listed locations many times each day makes me wonder... Is this testimony to the relative utility in applying Foursquare as a Social Media Marketing tool for car dealers, or is this testimony to the almost game-like propensity that Foursquare has in seemingly "hooking" people on attaining more badges and becoming the mayors of their own empire in the Foursquare universe?

I want to emphasize that I am NOT CRITICIZING the use of Foursquare... I just have not figured it out yet and am looking for some help in understanding.  

Tags: Automotive Social, Foursquare, Marketing Strategy, Social Media, Tactics

Views: 163

Replies to This ADM Discussion

Eric, how do you post special offers like this? Do I need to contact foursquare?
@Tim,

Yea - you need to contact FS here
Ralph...
Thanks for posting this topic of discussion. Personally I have the same reservations (and skepticism) you do, even though I also see the value from a marketer's standpoint. It really does have some tremendous capabilities. Yet, I'm still leery. (Or maybe paranoid!)

The responses have been helpful in understanding its use and benefits. Look forward to hearing from others.

Thanks!
Missy
The exciting part about foursquare (and other location based services like Gowalla, Latitude, Whrrl, Loopt, etc.) is their potential for local markets. Being able to target a hyper-local audience that is literally in your backyard opens the door for multiple possibilities. This is what marketers have been dreaming of since the beginning of...well, marketing!

Like you, I feel that the cross pollination of foursquare and other services on Facebook and Twitter decreases the relevance of these platforms. The firehose of information from foursquare is flooding the social landscape with content that is causing a fragmented message. Over the past 2 weeks, I've hidden the newsfeed and unfollowed multiple friends and colleagues on Facebook and Twitter because they tend to be avid oversharers (foursquare has an 'Overshare' badge for people that check in 10+ times within 12 hours to discourage this type of behavior). It's one thing if you're at your favorite local Italian restaurant and you want to world to know that they should 'Get the veal saltimbocca'. It's another story entirely if you're checking into Wal-Mart for the 3rd time in 2 days. These apps have a Ping.fm shotgun option and many users are trigger happy.

With geo-targeting platforms being in their infancy, it's not necessary for dealerships to have a 'foursquare marketing strategy'. For those that want to get a first-mover advantage on their competition, adding their dealership as a foursquare venue and offering tips to potential customers of OTHER local dealerships could be a way to drive additional traffic to their stores.

I believe that within the next 3 years, every website (at least every good website!) will have some level of geo-location capability, allowing consumers to 'check-in' while at a storefront, serving up relevant specials. This will be possible due to the growth of the mobile web and faster cell and Internet signals (more bars in more places...).

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. As this technology matures, location based search results could be used, serving up relevant offers and ideas vs links. Very Big Brother like, but also extremely cool and effective!

My purpose for starting this group was to discover who (if anyone) within the ADM Community had used foursquare for anything other than fun and games. I'm interested in learning from retailers that are beginning to unlock the potential of these services and am excited about the info exchange!
Really, it's not very Big Brother-esque at all--it's no different than what happens on people's home computers now with cookies.

In the future, someone could be surfing a site like AutoTrader or Cars.com on their mobile device, looking at used Honda Accords. Later on, when that person checks into the Carrabas that happens to be located two miles from Joe's Honda, an ad could pop up pointing out that the dealer is nearby. The user would then look at the "tips" for the dealer, and assuming they see positive reviews, might swing by after lunch to look on the lot. From there, it's up to the sales person to close the deal.

Obviously, we're a bit away from that yet, but there's certainly a lot of B2C potential within geo-local apps like Foursquare.
Ralph, I don't know if this is the next big thing or not. But what I do know is that there aren't many people who even know about it. So when I drive around on my days off and I happen to pass one of my competitions dealerships, you can be sure I check in there. You can also be sure that the tips I leave at THEIR location go something like this, "Did you know that Marlboro Nissan is ranked #1 in customer satisfaction in the world by consumers on DealerRater.com? They're just a few miles up the road! Check them out on the web at www.marlboronissan.com"

Maybe foursquare will turn out to be a joke. Maybe it will become an integral part of everyone's social media profile. I don't really care. If even one person checks in to one of my competitions stores and it leads them to call us or add us to their consideration it is worth it!

Check in to Glick Nissan or Framingham Nissan or Clay Nissan. Think they even have a clue about this? If they're savvy enough to have google alerts set up they might now, but I doubt it!
Tim,
Here is the latest DealerRater standings for Mass and Nissan dealers. Perhaps you should revisit your claim of being #1 in the world??
Ira Nissan of Tewksbury Tewksbury, MA 5
Marlboro Nissan Marlboro , MA 4.9
Mike, how many DealerRater.com reviews have been posted by customers to Ira Nissan of Tewksbury?
Four Square is great for high traffic venues like restaurants and movie theaters where you have thousands of people per day coming through. Since you don’t have that large of a user base on Four Square and check ins at most dealers is relatively small compared to a restaurant or other high volume retail it might not be ready for prime time. However, add a special (like "Free Oil Change for the Mayor") and you can get some value.

Here is a facebook app for Four Square that I put on the Grubbs Infiniti Facebook Page for you to check out.
@Brian - Nice, that's the way you create the initial awareness.

I've been experimenting w/the same approach on our blog as well - banner at the lower right.

There's also nothing saying you can't make a call to action for people to check-in at your dealership on your TV spots, radio ads or in your newspaper ads...plus, if organized the right way and you get 50+ people to check-in at your Saturday BBQ event at the dealership, you'll ALL unlock the "Swarm" badge. And in doing so, will probably create extra buzz around your dealership as this is a difficult thing to do...

Even if you someone is a skeptic, why not try it out? Its free.
Hi Eric, Yes, I strongly agree that any thing you want to focus on, be it Facebook, Twitter or something else, needs to be mentioned frequently and not just digitally. The biggest challenge that we are having is that there are so many new and emerging platforms we want to focus on and use to engage with our customers that sometimes it feels like we are beating them over the head with the social media tools.. follow this, become a fan of that, check in here. We don't want to become so friendly via social media that it becomes "unsocial" as in "unfollow". So we are taking our time with developing Facebook and Twitter (plus blogs) so that we don't over do it. Four Square will get some attention down the road.. but for now we want to focus on the core social media platform which I don't think Four Square is wholly part of yet.

PS.. I became a fan of your facebook page that you added the Four Square app to.. nice work.
I totally agree! It's important that we don't try to spread ourselves too thin and only choose the platforms that give us the most reach. True, even the small ones have the ability to reach your market but when it's all said in done there is only so much time in the day and a finite amount of resources to work with.

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