I just finished reading "Social Media Gold: Ratings & Reviews"
by Lance Loveday
and was struck by his article's conclusions, which correlate highly with several observations I have made about Social Media Marketing. Since early 2008 I have been saying that once you build your "Social Media Infrastructure", which in my case is generally a hub and spoke design, you then must work diligently at Reputation Management... Why? Because as I have been showing dealers for over 2 years, the consumer ratings and reviews when managed properly will drive more actual business, faster and more effectively than any other component of social media marketing.
In his article, Lance describes seeing the presentation
embedded below at a conference... What really caught Lance Loveday's attention were the eye-opening statistics on just how effective ratings and reviews are. He was so positively impressed he took notes, which Lance claims is something he rarely does.
Here are the notes that Lance posted on his blog:
• NetShops research showed that products with reviews had 26% higher sales
• Letting users sort results by user ratings helped PetCo increase sales 41%
• Products with reviews generally have a lower return rate
• Bass Pro Shops indicated that users who viewed Top Rated products had a 59% higher conversion rate
• Including ratings & reviews in emails had a huge lift in email CTR
• Items with ratings on internal SERPs got a 100%+ higher CTR than those that didn’t
• Better SEO is a side benefit of incorporating reviews (more keyword-rich copy on the page)
In his article, Lance goes on to say that he can believe in results such as increased sales and higher web site conversion rates... From what I can tell, the presentation was some sort of epiphany for Lance which brought around another non-believer to see that social media is worth the effort. Actually, in my opinion unless you build the entire system out the way I have seen it done by a handful of dealers, even the ratings and reviews aspect of Reputation Management is pretty tough to drive business from... The key is to amplify the positive reviews so they are 100x as widely shown and seen than the negative reviews... But, to explain how that works is getting too far into the secret sauce of what I have been working on diligently for two years! If you are going to NADA, please be sure to attend my NADA workshops in the ADP conference room at the convention center so you can see exactly how all the pieces fit together. In the meantime, check out this slide show:
Your Users Trust Each Other, Not You: Why and How to Implement Ratings and Reviews
Ralph recommends for car dealers: Slides 38-44, 90-93
Lance Sees Social Media SEO Impact
One of the last treasures that Lance Loveday stumbled across is the significant SEO impact that a properly executed Social Media marketing strategy delivers... Like so many others that get blinded by the dazzle of search engine results, Lance was forced to reassess his opinion of social media marketing when he realized the SERP impact that it generates as a byproduct. Lance also found out the when user ratings and reviews are part of a web site's actual structure, they receive better organic rankings... This of course leads to what? More traffic (doh!). Lance does go on to admit that a lot of the SEO impact is intuitive (thank God) and simply makes a lot of sense. If a dealer has more social media profiles and account pages with relevant content, photos, videos and consumer reviews and ratings, well it stands to reason that searches for related topics may turn up more than one of these pages... It all seems quite annoying to me that people actually have to have the SEO thing pointed out to them. This is what makes me think there is always something smelly about anyone who asks for money to improve a dealer's SEO results... It is the sites and the content, stupid, not some black magic witchcraft... That's what drives the search engines... If you got more web sites with more good stuff that people find interesting, you get better search engine results.
Is there a science and methodology that can be used to emphasize or make your websites rank better? Sure there is... But more than half of what drives SERP rank originates from WHAT HAPPENS ON OTHER WEBSITES, BECAUSE YOUR SITE IS NOT CREDIBLE! It stands to reason that if you have created dealership accounts and profiles that are properly populated and proactively managed in accordance with the stated purpose of each of these social media sites, that those profile pages will get ranked (can I get another Doh!). Want proof? Go to the ADM Members section and start copying member names from their profiles, then open another tab in your browser, go to Google and search for those names... Uh huh... See what I mean? The ADM Community is just another social media site and it is relatively tiny compared to thousands of others that have more than an automotive professional focus. Yet, the biggest complaint I get is from members who cannot understand why their ADM Profile page ranks higher than their dealer's website which also has all their information listed within it. That's because social media sites are popular and when people search and find a social media profile page, they tend to click on it more than they do car dealer website pages, by a factor of several million to one! Do you still think your dealership should stay away from Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the thousands of other social media sites? If you do, let me know who you are so I can send you my proposal to sell a very pretty bridge that goes to Brooklyn, NY... Chump!
As Loveday points out; "a page with more content will likely outrank a page with less."
(f&%$ing brilliant). Loveday goes on to state his opinion that "pages containing ratings and reviews make better linkbait"
. Now why would that be? Common sense tells you that it is the same reason why people like to read movie reviews, or listen to the Republicans respond to a Democratic politician's speech... As humans, we love to see what other people like ourselves think about, and are willing to write or say about somebody else, their work or their products.
So like many other posts on ADM have told you for the past two years... Get proactive and start driving reviews and ratings from your happiest and most loyal customers. Then, the real question is this; Do you have more HAPPY and SATISFIED customers than the ones you manage to piss off? because the angry ones will find a way to spread that poisonous negative word of mouth... As a car dealership you must be proactive and effectively remind, encourage and remind your happiest customers (repeatedly) to send their surveys back to the OEM... Ooops, excuse me, I meant go to your ratings and reviews web page of choice and submit a top-box rating with a nice description of why they are giving your dealership that top box rating. Personally, I prefer DealerRater.com, but there are at least 3 others that get indexed by Google.