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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

I'm just not convinced on the location idea. How ever David raised the hair on my neck. SMACK! Local Business Network! Now that's a possiblity if it can be used in that way. I don't see the advantage for a low to medium traffic dealer unless that's what your looking for is traffic of any kind. It almost sounds like the hot dog cart at the tent sale and anybody looking for a free meal stops in.

Eric's explanation did help but I'm just not seeing it and frankly a little skeptic. I'm not into playing games. There a dealer out there with over 1500 friends and fans on there Facebook page. I stop in today and notice, 80% were businesses. Oops, most of those were other dealers, which I also don't understand, but in another spot there was a post for "My Current Location". Somebody show me, don't tell, show me how I can increase traffic with this type of tool, and not the I want to be Mayor traffic.
@Andy -

There's really not much to see here...just a different method of:

- Using it to build a connection between the dealership & the person
- Rewarding loyal customers
- Giving them the power to spread your story & your brand

Here's another real example of the connection capability.

In between our NY store & our corporate office is another automotive service garage. A connection of mine, on both twitter & foursquare, checked in at the other service dept. & added the comment, "hope this estimate isn't too high"

I pinged him back within seconds of seeing his check-in status & told him that our new service dept. was open & we could provide him a quote as well. He took up the offer & came to us - and we did the work for him...

Again, this one "new" tool isn't going to double your sales, but it does lay the foundation for major changes in the way we interact with consumers & communicate our stories.
It might be the interaction of Four Square and Twitter that is the win. We had a similar experience where someone checked in at a competing dealership which I found using search.twitter.com. I sent them over a few reviews of the car they were looking at via a DM. They ended up taking a look at our pre owned inventory and found something they were interested in. So knowing that the customers are at your dealership or others is a good thing.. however, poaching other companies customers is never encouraged but providing them with additional information and choices is a win / win to some degree.
@Brian - well done...great example.
Thank you Eric. I don't mean to sound to pessimistic. It's like Eric said. We are adding a new social media tool everyweek. I feel like I have'nt even started to climb out of the ocean let alone see the tip of the ice berg. Has anyone heard of Hubze. Yep another one. Supposed to be the Plaxo, Twitter type king. I'll do anything to stay a step ahead I would just like to get above average and making a real difference at one thing before I expand into even more.
@Andy -

When it comes to staying connected, adding customer value and building trust, the one thing that helps is to stay optimistic.

In an early stage of a new concept, such as location-based strategies, planting rows of seeds during expansion is a good strategy.

Some people love Gowalla...others love Loopt. Most people have already forgotten about Plurk and Pownce.

Eventually we'll see consolidation and someone like Yelp, Foursquare or Gowalla will end up part of the Google/Facebook empire.

And the new channels will continue to roll out, such as Pip.io and Rally Up - which was just announced yesterday.
Dealer Name City, State Review Count Avg Rating
Ira Nissan of Tewksbury Tewksbury, MA 107 5
Marlboro Nissan Marlboro , MA 304 4.9
Coastal Nissan Norwell, MA 81 4.8
Clay Nissan of Newton Newton, MA 67 4.8
Nissan Village North Attleboro, MA 45 4.8
Ira Nissan of Woburn Woburn, MA 100 4.6
Framingham Nissan Framingham, MA 28 4.9
Glick Nissan Westborough, MA 43 4.6
Clay Nissan of Norwood Norwood, MA 35 4.4
Colonial Nissan of Medford Medford, MA 27 4.4
Bertera Nissan Auburn, MA 26 4.4
Balise Nissan of Cape Cod Hyannis, MA 0 0
Barry Nissan & Volvo Dartmouth, MA 11 2.4
Bay State Nissan Inc Springfield, MA 4 3.1
Country Nissan Hadley, MA 2 1.3
Country Nissan Greenfield, MA 0 0
Hyannis Nissan Hyannis, MA 1 0
Jerry Rome Nissan Inc West Springfield, MA 3 1
Johnson Nissan Pittsfield, MA 1 4.4
Kelly Nissan of Beverly Beverly, MA 9 4.7
Kelly Nissan of Lynnfield Lynnfield, MA 7 3.6
Mastria Nissan Raynham , MA 2 1
Nissan 24 Brockton, MA 10 4.5
Quirk Nissan Quincy, MA 61 4.2
Ron Bouchard's Auto Stores Fitchburg, MA 21 4.3
Santilli Center for Automobiles Brockton, MA 1 1
Ralph,

I think the addictive nature of Foursquare should be looked at as the biggest opportunity. People love playing games so if we can leverage these game dynamics in a creative way, we can drive sales.

I think the ‘check-in’ is a great way to see who has come through a dealership, see what people have to say via a tip but it’s limited in its ability to drive engagement with the dealership and more importantly sales.

I think the next step is to leverage these same addictive game dynamics and broaden the ‘check-in’s’ capability with ‘challenges’. What if we could challenge prospective buyers to earn points by engaging with specific people (i.e. sales staff) and products (i.e. cars that you want to get off your lot).

One major game dynamic that makes challenges so powerful as a sales tool is the process of actualization. The test drive is the best example of this. We want customers to test drive a car because then they get a feel for what it’s like to be in the car, drive the car and imagine owning the car.

So take that idea and build off of it. Challenge a prospective buyer to earn points by having a salesperson take a photo of them (with their phone) sitting in the car they would love to buy and then share the photo to Facebook and Twitter.

With that challenge the prospective buyer has to interact with a salesperson in a fun way, interact with a vehicle, see what they look like in the vehicle and show others in a social way the fun they are having buying a car at the dealership. This challenge is just one example of how to take what’s just a thought of the prospective buyer and make it a reality.

I’d love to hear what you think!

Full disclosure, I’m part of SCVNGR the geo-location service, and we are focusing on the challenge and how that can be leveraged to sell products. http://tcrn.ch/dCMeTK
Thanks for the warning, but you are too late... Add me to the list of Foursquare addicts!!!!
Hi Cort, you make some good points with your comments regarding the "competitive nature" of the buyer. We are currently working with Foursquare to develop some custom badges and "mayorship" awards; possibly free oil changes for the mayor or something like that. I know that within my circle of associates and friends, we are very competitive about Foursquare mayorships and badges, so I'm sure that the prospective buyers are as well. As a social media marketer, I would be interested to hear more about your geo-location service. Thanks.

Gary
Hi Gary,

I'd be happy to talk to you more about SCVNGR.

I agree that mayor badges as a reward are fun incentives and generate that competitive nature which drives human action however the way one wins a badge is through the check-in which merely means the individual as to go to the lot or drive by and push a button.

To win a badge, free oil change, etc. we should not only focus on getting the prospective buyer to the dealership via a check in but to engage with the dealership via interacting with sales people, vehicles, advertisements, etc. Currently this can only be done through the challenge.

By incentivizing prospective buyers to go to the lot, do challenges and earn points from completing those challenges we can then look at the dealership's leaderboard and determine not only who the loyal and engaging buyers are but who really deserves that free oil change.

I'm not trying to put down Foursquare because what they are doing is incredible. I do think though that there is still so much more we can get out of geo-location services as a tool to sell cars.

Cheers,

Cort
I have fun using the Tips section of FourSquare and Whrrl since my tips show-up when the next person checks in. So when you check into Newark Airport you get a recommendation that I left for the next person. Some of those tips are truly educational and some are tests to see if anyone will call or act based on my recommendations. The jury is out but I see a great deal of potential for geo-location cellphone apps for shopping in general and for the automotive industry.

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