With the rapidly emerging predominance of User Generated Content (UGC) activity on Social Networks, photo and video hosting sites, and various types of blogs as a percentage of total consumer online activity, it would seem to be only a matter of time before car dealers realize the necessity of creating online dealership communities made up of members who contribute to site content, dialogue and the exchange of information and assets. Despite the low cost, and even no cost access to various Web 2.0 User Generated Content sites and resources that all dealers have access to, there are costs involved to do it right, and there is a lot of time consuming work to get it right. Let's face it, nobody works for free and neither do people asked to get a dealership social marketing strategy off the ground and put into place... And then there is maintenance. The fact is, conventional old school advertising campaigns don't engage people any more, they just interrupt whatever customers are doing and at most, if done really right, they entertain customers. By approaching the tactical implementation of a social marketing strategy with a relatively small monthly budget, dealers can:
1. Have a dedicated URL that enhances SEO for their Dealership Community
2. Remove advertising on their Community site and use the space for their own ads
3. Enroll in a Dealer Review program and use filtered content widgets and RSS feeds for Reputation Management
4. Sponsor various contests and awards to encourage customers to actively participate in the dealer's community
5. Use Search Advertising to attract customers and drive dealership community enrollment
7. Sponsor various events and club activities that are announced on the dealer's community site
From what I have seen so far, the most successful dealership UGC communities will attract and engage a healthy mix of existing dealership customers, dealership employees, dealership suppliers, OEM field staff and prospective dealership customers from various sources of traffic. I will use this article to display a list of dealership community sites that I believe best represent this emerging form of online customer relationship and reputation management. As time goes on, my intent is to keep this article updated with the addition of more dealership Web 2.0 UGC community sites as they are created and I find out about them.
Check out the following dealership created online UGC communities based on Web 2.0 site platforms... The recently created Automotive Avenues Dealership Community was was built by an ADP Digital Advertising team Marketing Analyst, Tom DiSanto:
Non-Animated Versions of Advertisements used by Automotive Avenues to Drive Community Enrollment:
MyDubSpace.com is an online social network of new and classic Volkswagen, Owners and Enthusiasts.
The Tysinger Auto Group Community in Virginia Beach, VA
The Tysinger Community site is very impressive. Richard set it up for his dealership's customers, employees and suppliers... There are so few people that really understand the value in creating an online dealership community when it is not just to sell, sell, sell today! I know that Tysinger's customers, the dealership employees and the suppliers that the Tysinger stores use will appreciate the work on Richard's part.
It would be great if Richard would publish on ADM anything that he sees or notices in regards to making a dealership Web 2.0 type site work or not work... I will participate as much as I can, and will be sure to let anyone in Tysinger's area know about their dealership community, and their efforts at carving out a new customer relationship development and management model...
For the SandersonCommunity.com site, I downloaded about 10,000 names and email addresses from their ILM, then uploaded them into the Ning invite system and sent them out... If I had to do it over again, I would have broken up those 10,000 emails into 10 separate files and spaced out the invitations at 1,000 per week for 10 weeks.
The Ford-Community.com site is one of the better examples I have yet seen of a dealer leveraging the power of DealerRater.com's customer review data feed that pushes positive reviews to dealer designated websites... Perfect for the Web 2.0/UGC applications such as a dealer community built on the Ning platform.
Other great examples of Reputation Management by Car Dealers using DealerRater.com Certified Dealer Tools within their community site include the New York metro based Westbury Jeep's www.MyJeepCommunity.com and the Automotive Avenues Credit Union vehicle sales dealership in Denver at www.Automotive-Avenues.com
Wendell Dossett is an active ADM Professional who has created an online community for his dealership's customers, employees and suppliers. The Beck Toyota Scion Community is one of many newer dealership sponsored communities and holds a ton of promise, especially given the social networking characteristics of the typical Scion owner... We are looking forward to hearing from Wendell about what works and what doesn't with this new genre of dealership website.
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AUTOMOTIVE IMAGE AND PHOTO RESOURCES
Did you know that there are over 4,000 photos listed on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community? And, do you know that many of these images are actually charts and graphs of the latest marketing trends and research? Did you know that many of these photos are actual ads used by dealers that worked exceptionally well? There have been over 4,000 photos uploaded and made available for use by all ADM members.
AUTOMOTIVE VIDEO FILE HOSTING
Did you know that there are more than 750 videos on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community? Have you seen how many of those videos are actual examples of marketing campaigns and business processes used successfully by some of the leading and most successful dealers in America?
GET ACCESS TO AUTOMOTIVE ARTICLES AND PUBLISH YOURS
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Did you know that there are over 500 forum topics on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community? Have you checked the forum lately to see what your associates, clients and colleagues are saying?
Have you posted a forum discussion to see what other professionals have to say about the topic?
There have been over 500 discussions started and still active with ongoing comments and information being published daily within the ADM Forum.
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Did you know that there are Important Upcoming Automotive Digital Marketing Events listed on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community? Have you posted what you or your organization considers to be important upcoming events on the ADM calendar so that other professionals will know about them, consider attending and register their intent? ADM members can create calendar events using the ADM site application that allows image and logos, links to registration pages, location maps that integrate with Google Maps, Outlook Calendar integration, invitation mailings using uploaded email lists, RSVP tracking and event management features and a whole lot more.
RADIO SPOTS AND AUTOMOTIVE PODCASTS
Did you know that there are more than 500 MP3 audio files on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community? Have you checked out what other automotive professionals are listening to? Did you know that many of these MP3 files are automotive marketing and Internet sales best practice Podcasts, and examples of highly effective radio spots, along with powerful and engaging dealer website soundtracks?
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