Auto Remarketing Canada Conference 2016

26243614245_86be07bd9b_bThe 9th annual AR Canada Conference took place on Monday and Tuesday in Toronto, and our President, Duncan Cochrane had the honour of speaking for the second year in a row. The AR Canada conference is presented by ADESA, CARPROOF and Cox Automotive Canada, and is designed to bring members of the used-car industry together to discuss current opportunities and challenges faced by industry members.

This year, there were over 600 used-car industry professionals and 18 different workshops. There were many ideas and insights shared from all aspects of the industry, and it was a great learning opportunity for everyone that attended. If you weren’t able to attend this year, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the most memorable moments and key takeaways that we observed!

avatar.jpg.320x320pxShawn Vording from Carproof spoke about a national survey that they completed which found that 40% of customers trade in a vehicle, and 61% of people that traded in a vehicle thought that their trade in value was too low. Are you educating your customers on how the value of their vehicle is determined? Shawn was also able to backup these statistics by doing a live poll with the audience.

25989074080_44155ec0b2_bAnother memorable presentation was from Erin Elofson from Facebook. Facebook is so much more than likes and shares; did you know that there are large, attention-grabbing, lead-generating ad formats available on Facebook? Erin also shared some interesting stats including:

  •  1 out of every 4 minutes spent on mobile in Canada is spent on Facebook and Instagram
  • over 21 million Canadians have Facebook and 16 million of those users are on Facebook every day.

So not only does Facebook give you the ability to create large, creative ads, but also gives you a reach of over 16 million people. This is a huge opportunity that dealers can and should utilize.

25640942533_b438c1f315_bDuncan spoke about Iteration and Personalization. He discussed why it’s important and how dealerships can incorporate it into their websites. Dealerships are now selling to a generation of customers that expects their buying experience to be personalized to them, and Strathcom Media has the tools to help sell to this new customer base.

We had a great time at AR Canada again this year, and we look forward to seeing everyone again at AR Canada 2017!

The Importance of Dealership Reviews

Online reviews can have a major impact on your business.  They can increase rankings within local search engines, and be the deciding factors for consumers choose to shop at your business over another.  Here are some interesting and important statistics regarding the importance of having an online reputation:

  • 90% of consumers say online reviews have influenced their buying decision.
  • 92% of consumers trust online reviews as must as personal recommendations.
  • 80% of buyers are more likely to purchase from a local business with good reviews.
  • A 1 star increase in star ratings on reviews can lead to a 5-9% increase in revenue.

Given the above statistics, asking consumers to review your business online is becoming increasingly more important.

Marketing Statistics

Here are some tips and tricks to start collecting those reviews:

  • Make it easy. Having reviews on multiple platforms like Facebook, Google, Reveiwsii, makes it easier for clients to use the platform of their choice.
  • Focus on Quantity over Quality. Not everyone is going to have a 5 star rating, consumers that see this will have an easier time believing that the reviews they are reading are true.
  • Ask buyers to post a review. Make it apart of your sales process to ask clients to leave a review base off of their experience.
  • Make sure you are actively responding to both Negative and Positive reviews. Consumers that notice this, will see that you care.

Use social media to your advantage, and gain an edge over the competition!

Remember, your customers will talk about you.  Why not let them share their experiences with the rest of the world?

Facebook Best Professional Service – What It Means To You

Facebook, being the largest social media network (with about 1.5 Billion active users) has always tried to close the gap between their users and other sites. The more they can roll into facebook the more time their users will spend on facebook. This is why it was no surprise when facebook took a giant leap in the reviews world by launching their new Best Professional Service site.

Facebook's new Best Professional Service is the latest tool at your disposal

Continue reading “Facebook Best Professional Service – What It Means To You”

Reach Your Customers The Moment They Come Through The Door With Facebook Beacon

A customer walks into your dealership. They start looking at cars. And – like the over 1 billion people around the world – at some point they decide to check Facebook.

Normally they would scroll through their newsfeed, see what their friends are doing, and check whether they have received any new messages.

But not today!

At your dealership, they see something different. They are greeted with a beautifully-designed notification welcoming them and offering to show them the current OEM special you are running that month.

They click the notification and are taken to a page where they can see information, photos, and posts from your business. They can also see any interactions their friends have had with your dealership.

This new way of interacting with your customers is the next step that Facebook is taking to help you connect you and your customers.

It’s name: Facebook Beacon.


Continue reading “Reach Your Customers The Moment They Come Through The Door With Facebook Beacon”

Think like a Casino Owner to Get Your Facebook Posts Seen

We are seeing again and again that auto dealers who take social media seriously see their bottom lines grow.

That’s nice. But what does such social media mastery look like in practice?

Here’s the latest such story I’ve come across:

A dealer shared a promotion on their Facebook page in which they were giving away a free 42″ LCD TV with the purchase of any used vehicle over $10,000. The first comment to that post was a guy asking if they had any used trucks for between $10,000 and $12,000. The dealer’s social media staffer responded right away, sharing listings of some of the trucks that fit that range.

(That alone made a positive impression on me, and I wasn’t even their customer!)

So the man replied back said he would come in the next day to test drive a Chevy Silverado the dealer had in stock, and by the end of the day the customer was leaving with the truck, his new TV, and the dealership had locked in a sale that might have otherwise never materialized into signed contracts. (Not to mention making the social media manager look like a techno-stud to their boss.)

This is one of those marketing stories that gives you the warm and fuzzies, and that social media managers cannot tire to quote. But what good does it do for your dealership if your posts are never seen by your customers in the first place.

The solution?

Play the Odds

Casinos don’t care if you have a big night at the blackjack table every now and then. They know that the odds are in their favour. So if they have a big enough crowd of gamblers, and those gamblers play enough hands, then the casino will make money.

The same long-term thinking is needed when you use Facebook for marketing. Give yourself the best possible odds, and keep at it long enough so that eventually the numbers will be in your favour, and you’ll start generating leads over months of impressions and interactions.

Sure, not every one of your Facebook posts is going to be a lead machine. And not every person who walks into your dealership will buy something. (If otherwise, please correct us in the comments section below.)

Savvy Facebook marketing relies on playing the odds.

And What Are the Updated Odds?

Data company trackmaven.com has analyzed 1.5 million Facebook posts from 6,000 brand pages to determine which factors contribute to higher visibility on Facebook.

Here are some of their key findings, ensuring you the most eyeballs on your posts when properly leveraged:

  • Always Use Images – People are 37% more likely to engage with your posts when your posts include pictures, compared to text-only ads.
  • After Hours – Posts put up after the standard 9-5 business hours receive 11% more interaction. Time your next post just before that expected bump in traffic.
  • Sunday – Fewer people are posting on the weekends, but Sunday posts are interaction gold; posts on Sundays get 25% more likes, shares, and comments than midweek or early weekend posts.
  • What was that? – Posts that ask a question get 23% more engagement on average. Can you guess why?
  • TGIT – The most popular day to post is Thursday, and the most popular time is 12:00 P.M; so either this is prime time for traffic, or your post will get burried under friends’ cat photos and engagement announcements. Test it for yourself.

Check out Trackmaven’s infographic below for more stats on what can take your Facebook posts to the top.

Connect with Strathcom on Facebook

Want to see some of these tips in action? Then connect with Strathcom Media on Facebook. We’re also just a few clicks of your keyboard away from answering all of your social media marketing questions.

 

Using Everyone's Favourite Website to Get Your Dealership Noticed and Sell Cars!

Ever wonder how to reach both new and existing customers through one website? A few years ago this might not have been possible. However, today, advertisers can reach their customer base all in one place—Facebook.

People spend more time on Facebook consuming content than on any other website. Mark Zuckerberg’s social media networking site has built the largest, most highly-engaged audience on earth.

For advertisers in competitive industries, it is mandatory to reach your customers in the way in which they wish to be communicated with.

This is especially true for the automotive industry. Typically it has been one of the most competitive and difficult industries in which to reach consumers.

And this is exactly where Facebook shines: Facebook advertising is a very cost effective way to reach a qualified audience of car buyers. Car dealers can reap all of their advertising benefits, like driving in-store sales, increasing traffic to their website, and building brand awareness. And you can do it all for less than it costs to market your dealership through other websites!

Capture In-Market Shoppers through Facebook

So you know your customers are on Facebook, but what is the most effective way to reach them? Through Facebook’s “Custom Audience” tool, you can retarget previous customers with Facebook ads, exposing them to your marketing materials long after they have last visited your site. The Custom Audience tool lets you upload a list of customer names and email addresses and Facebook will locate those users to target. These lists can be pulled directly from your DMS system.

Targeting and Retargeting on Facebook

The beauty of advertising on Facebook is that users naturally flock there to consume content. So as long as your ad is of interest to them, consumers will pay close attention to your brand and message.

Retargeting existing customers on Facebook is a great way to ensure that your ads stand out, as these customers are already familiar with your brand. Additionally, for any new customers you are trying to reach, you can target users based on the information in their profiles, like interests and demographics, as well as contextually, by the content they provide in their statuses and comments. Newsfeed ads are designed to blend into the user’s natural, social experience on Facebook, so ads do not appear like normal ads, quickly disregarded in the top or side margins.

Facebook dealership ads

Keep this in mind: Most online advertising reaches only 38% of its intended audience, while Facebook’s average intended reach is 89%. Facebook Advertising is the key to gaining reach and frequency in a digital ecosystem of thousands and thousands of car ads, and Strathcom is here to help your dealership stand out!

If you want to power up your next marketing engine with Facebook ads, contact our Pay-per-Click team at Strathcom Media right away. It’s the difference between having an ad, and having your ad seen.

4 Places to Get Dealer Reviews

By now, everyone understands the benefits of getting positive reviews for your business. But where do you send your customers to leave their reviews? Is it just a testimonial page on your website? There are actually a number of popular review websites that you can send your customers to.

Here’s the shortest, sweetest list of where to get customers to leave their reviews:

1. Google+ (duh)

Getting positive reviews on Google+ has arguably the biggest bang for your proverbial buck. Google weighs these reviews, combined with the quality of your Google+ page, the heaviest of all the review sites. Why? Because they own this sh*t!

The authority of your Google+  listing combines with your website authority to give you a better chance of showing up in the Google maps locations in the search results page (known as the “Map Pack”).

Map Pack Google Screenshot

If you lack time or resources (who doesn’t?), definitely start with this one. Your first steps should be to claim your Google Plus and Places listing, complete it as thoroughly as possible, and then ask customers for reviews.

2. Facebook

Facebook might be getting a little tired to some of us, but it’s still hands down the social media giant. With 1.3 billion monthly active Facebook users, you can bet that people are asking their friends and family about buying a car and looking for advice and information.

Facebook also launched something called Graph Search in January, 2013, that makes their database easier to search with conversationally-phrased questions like “what is the best Ford dealership in Vancouver.”

Facebook only shows results from popular Facebook pages already in their database. If you don’t already have a Facebook business page, set one up and post a few times before advertising the page too much. Not sure about the whole Facebook thing? Read some reasons why your car dealership should be on Facebook and see if we can change your mind.

3. Yelp

With over 60 million registered users and over 20 million reviews posted on the site, this is not one to ignore. Yelp is also considered the second most important review site (next to Google+) to help boost your SEO.

In the beginning, Yelp was mostly used for reviews on the restaurant industry but other industries now account for more than 75% of their listings. To get started with Yelp, check to see if you already have a Yelp listing and update any incorrect information on your account. If you can’t find your dealership, then create a new listing.

4. Dealer Rater

Of all of the review sites built just for the automotive industry, we see customers leave the most reviews on dealerrater.ca. Customers can search for a dealership, service centre, or actual vehicle using this site and leave a review by logging in through their social media account or by creating a Dealer Rater account. In order to become a Dealer Rater Certified dealership, you have to pay to play.

If you need help improving your online presence or gaining positive reviews for your business, Contact Us at Strathcom with any questions!

Facebook Advertising for Car Dealerships

Facebook Social Media

Advertising on Facebook is remarkably easy. Setting up a business page is as simple as setting up a personal profile page. Just like with Google+, there’s no reason why a car dealership shouldn’t have a Facebook business page. It’s completely free self-promotion.

In the face of Facebook’s recent announcement that marketers will need to start paying if they want to reach a larger audience (and that organic reach will be dropping off), now is the time to ask whether your car dealership should be investing in paid advertising through Facebook.

If you don’t have an account for your dealership already, you should consider one because Facebook offers many benefits to dealerships:

  • Brand awareness and loyalty
    It’s hugely important for people to recognize your car dealership’s brand. Keeping your customers loyal to the brand and getting return business are two huge benefits of interactions through Facebook.

  • Improved customer service through social media
    Anybody can post feedback or comments on a business’s Facebook page. While positive comments are great, even a negative comment can be turned around depending on how your dealership responds and addresses issues.

  • Soft return on investment (ROI) and increased dealership traffic
    The ultimate goal of a Facebook account is to increase interest and get bodies through the dealership door. Advertising promotions and announcing the arrival of new models to targeted areas will do just that.

  • Product feedback
    A customer buys a new car, loves it and praises it on your Facebook page. Everyone wins!

  • Fast and easy event promotions
    Announcing upcoming specials through Facebook ads reaches audiences faster than through other methods like print or radio – and anyone at your dealership can do it!

Facebook Audience

Facebook Advertising—The GM Story

Back in May 2012, GM decided to stop advertising on Facebook, claiming that paid ads were having little impact on car purchases. They kept their Facebook pages active (which cost nothing), but pulled all of their pay-per-click ads. It was a highly publicized case that cast doubt on the benefits of paid Facebook advertising.

In April 2013, in a comeback of sorts, GM decided to reignite their Facebook PPC strategy with more targeted ads promoting their new Chevrolet Sonic with a focus on mobile marketing.

In a telephone interview with Bloomberg News, Auto industry analyst Thilo Koslowski said that “it shows one thing: Nobody can really ignore Facebook … GM realizes there must be a value proposition for them to go to Facebook.”

What’s the point of all this? Well, in the end it’s up to you to decide whether the benefits outweigh the risks of Facebook advertising. However, you need to consider getting your name out in social media, because your competitors are likely doing the same thing.

Remember, nobody can ignore Facebook. Not even GM.

Facebook 101: Why Do I Need to Be on Facebook Anyway?

We get asked all of the time, “Why do I need to be on Facebook anyway?” often followed by “Nobody cares what I had for dinner!” True, what you had for dinner probably falls out of the realm of things your mother even cares about. However, for car dealerships, Facebook does have a number of benefits—and it just so happens to be where your customers are.

Facebook

Reasons your dealership should be on Facebook:

  1. Google likes it — especially since the new Hummingbird Update,Google has been including the content from your public page in their rankings and, more importantly, its looking for how interactive your fans are (how often they are sharing, commenting and liking your content).
  2. The conversation happens whether you are there or not — everyone has questions, and Social Media is the new “word of mouth” referral.  Potential customers ask each other for opinions and recommendations, and if the question is about where to get their next oil change or what kind of SUV will be optimal to tote little Johnny and his four messy friends around in, you have a unique opportunity to become a part of that conversation or at least monitor what people are saying about your dealership.
  3. Social media is everywhere and it’s necessary — if you’re going to dive in, why not start with Facebook?  It’s hyper-visual so it lends itself well to car sales. It’s been around since 2004 and has billions of users worldwide, making it the largest platform (meaning more access to different demographics). Most importantly for your brand, Facebook has the highest levels of user engagement.

Who should manage my Facebook?

Find someone within your company that naturally likes talking to people and who has an affinity for customer service. They can learn the platform relatively easily, but it’s more important that they just like engaging with people.

How to get started:

  1. Do a quick search to see if there is already a Facebook Places page related to your business that people are checking in at or liking. If there is one, you can claim it from the Edit Page drop down menu at the top.
  2. To create a new page, please visit this link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php and make sure you choose “Local Business or Place.” Dealerships who make the mistake of setting themselves up like a “person” (as you would with a Personal profile), after reaching about 1000 friends, Facebook will notice and reserves the right to cancel your account.

Stay tuned for our next social media blog post on how to properly set up your Facebook page and get started with Facebook posts.

Need help getting started?  Ask Strathcom Media today!

We leave you with this Public Service Announcement:

caps_offcaps_on

 

Facebook Graph Search: What it means for your local business

Facebook announces Graph Search during its January 15th, 2013 press conference

Nobody appears to fear this change more than Google itself. They suddenly face a competitor able to index loads of data that they cannot access. Don’t worry Google: Facebook isn’t launching a traditional search engine like Google or Bing. They are launching a social search engine.

It’s a social search engine most likely to succeed if compared to Google+, considering its billions of users who are already members of the site as well as the vast amounts of data that users enter into the site every day.

Most of us see Facebook as one giant scrapbook, but in reality it’s a huge database full of useful information.  Facebook users are familiar with browsing one page of information at a time. With the Open Graph search tool, Facebook users can now search this database for a unique, personable experience.

Facebook Graph Search

How did the Graph Search get started?

Lars Eilstrup Rasmussen who previously worked for Google (and designed Google Maps) joined Facebook’s existing search team. There was a problem to solve: while Facebook was already a repository for loads of information, it was difficult for users to sort through it all. Users had questions like “Who are my friends in Vancouver BC?” and “What TV shows are my friends watching?” but Facebook had no way for users to easily access this data.

Facebook Graph Search now provides answers to such questions:

“People use search engines to answer questions,” Zuckerberg says. “But we can answer a set of questions that no one else can really answer. All those other services are indexing primarily public information, and stuff in Facebook isn’t out there in the world — it’s stuff that people share. There’s no real way to cut through the contents of what people are sharing, to fulfill big human needs about discovery, to find people you wouldn’t otherwise be connected with. And we thought we should do something about that. We’re the only service in the world that can do that.”

This new announcement is exciting for any businesses who

  • Has a Social Media focus
  • Is a B2C
  • Is a local business
  • Relies on  word-of-mouth marketing
  • Wants to show up in search results for un-branded search queries.

How is Facebook Graph Search different from Google search?

When we use Google, we are searching through web pages. The pages that appear at the top of search results are largely based on the number of incoming links a website gets from other sources – each of which acts like a vote for that webpage/site. The number of quality links (links from authoritative websites) a page has helps Google decide where to place it on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

With Facebook Graph search, we aren’t searching for webpages but rather for representations of real-life places, people and products. The way Facebook decides on top results is based on how many “likes” that product, place, or person has. Other connections determine which search results will be relevant for an individual user, instead of using links as a measure of authority as with Google’s case.

Facebook also has layers of search and can show demographics for who “likes” certain products or services. For example, you can see if your friends “like” pubs located in Edmonton, AB, other Facebook users who like pubs in Edmonton who actually live in that city, and even see a sub-list of which pubs your married friends, gay friends, or single friends “like.” This could help you choose a pub to suit your needs.

Facebook’s Graph Search and a traditional web search are very different. Web search algorithms take a set of keywords (for example: “used Toyota Corolla”) and then show top search results that include those keywords. With Facebook Graph Search you can combine phrases (for example: “my friends in Edmonton who like Toyota”) and search results will include photos or other content that has been shared and liked on Facebook surrounding the specific question.

For now, Facebook only includes people, photos, places and interest posts in their results. You can’t just search anything as you would with Google.

 

Future uses could range widely from finding job openings near you, to sorting your friends by city, to finding which of your friends have kids under the age of 3 so you know who to invite to your child’s first birthday party. You can get answers to questions quickly, and don’t have to resort to asking questions in your status.  How often have you seen your friends on Facebook posting statuses to ask their friends questions?

You can also sort your behaviours on Facebook: typing in “View photos I’ve liked” will divulge a collage of images you have liked from various parties, pets, travels and more. It’s a feel-good experience.

How do I make sure my business gets found in Facebook search?

It’s not all about who you know, but rather who knows you. If you have the right audience when people search for information from their friends about your industry, Graph Search will connect them.

Your “Fans” are your marketing force. With Graph Search, people who “like” your Facebook page and then share your posts and tips will be marketing on your behalf. Facebook has always said to focus on attracting the right fans to your page so you can engage directly with them. Their algorithm will pick business pages with the most “likes”  in conjunction with higher user interaction over those with less.

Facebook will need to encourage users to start sharing and liking more if they want this search feature to take off properly. I have never “liked” a book I’ve enjoyed, or even a restaurant where I find the food delicious unless there is an incentive for me to do so. Is the Facebook page offering me discounts and coupons, information, tips and user interactions? No? Then I would be less likely to “like” the page.

My advice is to continue marketing your Facebook page to the right audience with store contests, incentives and helpful information. If you aren’t focusing on this now, you should make it happen immediately. Appoint this task to a staff member knowledgeable in social media or hire someone who knows the industry to work closely with your Marketing and SEO departments.

Other tips directly from Facebook include:

  • The name, category, vanity URL and information you share in your “About” section all help people find your business and should be shared on Facebook.
  • If you have a location or a local Places Page, update your address to make sure your listing appears when someone searches for a specific location.
  • Focus on attracting the right fans to your Page and on giving them a reason to interact with your page on an ongoing basis.

Will Facebook Graph Search surpass what Google+ attempted to achieve?

The Facebook Open Graph search engine will never entirely replace Google Search. Yes, it does create a more personable search experience and will be useful for some search types such as local service searches. But will people start to take two steps when researching online? Will searchers start to use the Graph Search in addition to Google Search to see what their friends “like,” or will that be too many steps to find a local plumber or car dealership?

Will Facebook users change their search habits entirely and only use the Facebook Search Graph for local searches? Or perhaps Facebook users will use the Graph Search solely as a Social Search engine to help sort through their Facebook data. It also depends on whether Facebook users will begin to share and” like” business, product or people pages more often.

Google+ already has this service in place: you can already “plus” any webpage directly in Google SERPs. So far I haven’t found this service to be useful to me, as my Google+ friends aren’t recommending content regularly. I’m eager to see if people start to correlate their search results based on how much their friends share on Facebook.

Will users begin to share and engage in more “likes” to help their friends find the information they are looking for? What demographics will start using these features more? Many questions come up when I think of the future and I’m enthusiastic to see how this will affect Social Media Marketing and the SEO industries.

 

Samantha Goettel

SEO Team Leader

@SamGSama