DealerRater Poll Reveals Consumers Want More Facebook Car Promotions

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A recent poll of DealerRater users provides important insight into how dealerships can more effectively utilize social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to better engage their customers. The most common suggestions for dealers from poll respondents include offering special promotions, updating customers on new makes and models, sharing feedback and testimonials, and sending out service reminders or recall notices.

DealerRater, the nation’s premier car dealer review Web site, surveyed a sample of 1,700 reviewers to solicit feedback on how automotive dealerships might better serve them through Facebook or Twitter. As general user acceptance of social networking sites grows exponentially, popular sites such as Facebook and Twitter emerge as compelling, effective ways of staying engaged with existing customers and reaching new ones.

DealerRater asked its reviewers to share their thoughts on how automotive dealerships could more effectively engage them through Facebook or Twitter. “Interestingly enough, nearly half of the respondents neither used Facebook or Twitter nor thought that dealerships should be using social networks to connect with customers,” noted Chip Grueter, president of DealerRater. “There was, however, a vocal majority that had some great suggestions for dealerships.” The resulting suggestions for dealers fell into four general categories: Promotions, News, Feedback and Reminders.

Promotions
The most common suggestion, submitted by 26% of respondents, was for dealerships to offer more promotions. Users want to see more items like “special offers for oil changes or tune-ups” and “offers for upgrades like iPod car accessories.” Dealerships that are connected with users via their “fan page” on Facebook can easily post special offers, discounts, promotions, financing offers and more in order to cultivate customer loyalty and generate repeat service business. Dealerships who have followers on Twitter can similarly post special offers that will drive traffic for both the sales and service departments. Encouraging customers to connect with a dealership via a Facebook fan page or Twitter by promising to offer “VIP” services can help quickly build a loyalty base.

News
Whether it be the rollout of new models or showcasing a pre-owned car for sale on the dealer’s lot, social media sites can be a great way for dealerships to communicate news, events and even share inventory with users. Approximately 16% of survey respondents suggested that Facebook or Twitter would be useful conduits for dealerships to share this type of information with customers. Comments from users included suggestions for posting information on “new models being announced” or “alerts when re-designed models make it to the showroom.”

Feedback
Highlighting a particularly glowing testimonial or providing a link to its review page on DealerRater.com to showcase its overall rating is another cost-effective way for a dealership to market its services using social media. Respondents commented that “testimonials are always great to read from other customers” and would like to see “customer reviews and feedback…in real time.” In fact, 11% of respondents to DealerRater’s survey suggested that they would like to see dealerships provide this data via Facebook or Twitter.

Reminders
A small percentage of survey respondents also suggested using Facebook or Twitter as an effective way for a dealership’s service department to remind customers of routine maintenance or warranty/recall issues for a particular make and model. Users would like to see “occasional reminders of regularly scheduled service” and add that “maintenance tips and recall information would be helpful too.” Maintaining this direct link to customers after the sale and reminding them about service or offering discounted maintenance is beneficial to both the customer and dealer.

“Although social networking has grown tremendously in the past few years, the movement is still in its infancy,” explained Grueter. “Dealerships have a tremendous opportunity to establish an ongoing connection with customers at the point of sale through social networking fan pages and Twitter feeds, and then extend the relationship through periodic communications and special offers. Our reviewers have made it clear that this is what they want, and hopefully dealerships will embrace it.”

About DealerRater
DealerRater was founded in 2002 as the first car dealer review Web site worldwide. DealerRater is committed to providing a central collection point for informative reviews. The site currently features more than 24,000 US and International car dealers and more than 100,000 user reviews. DealerRater provides the opportunity for users to search for car dealerships, read current reviews, write their own review, and find car deals – all for free. Car dealers are rated on the criteria of customer service, quality of work, friendliness, price and overall experience. DealerRater users also have the option to recommend the dealer to other users and provide a descriptive review. Web site users and car dealerships may post free auto classified ads. DealerRater visitors may request vehicle quotes and Certified Dealers receive free vehicle leads.

About Chip Grueter
Chip Grueter is the president of DealerRater. Mr. Grueter founded the company in 2002 as a way for Web site users to share their sales and service experiences at automotive dealerships with other Web site users. Mr. Grueter holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston College.    Mr. Grueter’s favorite dealership customer service perk is free vehicle loaners.

For DealerRater information or to interview Chip Grueter, please contact Michelle Oldershaw at 800.266.9455 or visit http://www.DealerRater.com.

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Michelle Oldershaw
DealerRater
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