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At the 8th Digital Dealer Conference, all pointers are toward Social Media Marketing

Last November, Digital Dealer Conference was all about web marketing. People were talking about improving SEO and websites to bring traffic. This time around, as I go through the topics, there is a clear indication that the focus has shifted to Social Media Marketing.

More & more experts are suggesting decentralizing dealers’ online marketing efforts. Instead of being limited to the website, they are advising to share the content with most visited sites. It is like putting up kiosks at popular destinations. In fact, speakers are focusing more on specific pockets of SSM to show how big and important each one of them has grown overtime. There are sessions that are exclusively on how to leverage twitter, Facebook, YouTube or blogs. I guess, time has come for dealers to handle all these like a pro!

To my surprise, I do not see anybody picking up the topic on mobile site or mobile communication this season. Last time OEMs like VW and Ford put a lot of emphasis on connecting to the car buyers through mobiles and so did the industry experts.

One topic that is never out of fashion is “lead response”. The only change is, people are talking less about phone and email leads than they did in the last event. Dennis Colome in his last three workshops at DDC has always emphasized on sales techniques that convert the internet & phone leads to the real customers in the showroom.

Among all these, social media is the one that is gaining a lot of popularity and momentum in the digital dealer conference. While Ralph Paglia defines it as the “black hole of time”, Brian Pasch calls it the “Holy Grail” and Mike Martinez puts it as a “gold rush”. The definition and scope of social media is changing every moment. Dealers were taking SMM as pilot projects, but the time has come to change their objective of “being merely present in the social media” to “do effective social media networking” with the buyers. Companies like izmocars have integrated facebook and twitter into automotive CRM to prove the direct correlation of SSM and sales. Solutions are created to integrated SSM at every step of the business, be it CRM, inventorying listing or servicing.

With all those social media innovations and discussions lined up at 8DDC in Orlando, will the dealers get an answer to their primary question- “how to sell more cars?”

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Tags: 8DDC, SSm, dealer, digital, marketing, media, orlando, social


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