The Web can be used to generate offline word-of-mouth when we have processes in place to harness our most active dealership advocates... Our "Raving Fans". Every dealership has at least a few of these Raving Fans, and the better dealerships have more than most.
With dealers and their advertising professionals turning more to digital advertising and online media, the additional free exposure that a dealership gets when consumers talk positively about a dealership or the people that work there, acts as an amplifier to what was called "Word of Mouth" in the past... Today, with the advent of social media, we depend on motivated consumers to act as dealership advocates. A survey conducted by Synovate
for word-of-mouth ad network PostRelease
investigated just how likely Internet users are to do that.
The most common word-of-mouth activity reported by respondents was helping a friend or family member with a purchase decision, but more than two-fifths also said they had shared advice offline about information they learned on the Web. Significantly fewer Internet users posted their own ratings and reviews online, and only about one-half as many shared links to articles or reviews about products.
Participation in most of the social media and word-of-mouth activities was highest among younger adults, almost one-half of whom gave in-person advice based on online information. Respondents ages 18 to 24 were also more likely than older Web users to post ratings and reviews, share links, and have a blog. Which is why an effective reputation management strategy for any dealership will facilitate making it easier for their customers to post dealership reviews and ratings on their experiences in sales and service.
PostRelease also broke down respondents according to whether or not they participate in online forums (an example being a dealership sponsored community), which about one-fifth of those polled did. Forum participants were significantly more likely to take part in all the activities queried. Notably:
* 65% of dealership community forum contributors give advice offline based on information found online
* 35% of dealership community non-contributors give advice offline
* 66% of forum contributors post online ratings and reviews
* 16.8% of forum non-contributors post online ratings and reviews
* 43.6% of forum contributors share links to articles and reviews, versus
* 12% of non-contributors to dealership and other forums share links to articles and dealership reviews.
* 20.6% of forum contributors publish a blog
* 2.1% of forum non-contributors.publish a blog
Users of forums, and dealership community members who are already actively engaged in online social activity, make for “enthusiastic consumers and influential brand advocates,” according to a statement by Justin Choi, president and founder of PostRelease.