Car Dealer Branding and Reputation Management

This is Part II of an interview with Richard Valenta, CEO of TK Carsites, an automotive internet marketing firm. You should read Part I: Social Media for Car Dealers first.

“The simple fact is companies no longer control their brand. People control their brand.”

Car Dealer BrandingThere’s no better way to start this second part of the interview than with a statement like that. It’s true. Very few people trust advertising anymore, while a huge percentage do trust consumer reviews and opinions. With sites like RipOffReport and DealerRater offering venues for people to vent about their bad experience, it makes sense that car dealers should start taking social media seriously.

“The customers control their brand,” Valenta said. “And the faster they can get themselves into the social media sphere or social networking sphere, the better it’s going to be for them long-term.”

Having the ability to let people discuss their experiences, both good and bad, openly in public areas such as Facebook, Twitter, and dealership blogs allows dealers the opportunity to respond and potentially remedy bad situations. Otherwise, people will find places to “vent” where the dealer has no control or method of response.

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Social Media for Car Dealers: An Interview with Richard Valenta

We had the opportunity to sit down with Richard Valenta, CEO of TK Carsites, an automotive internet marketing firm.

TK Carsites Social MediaAs car dealers progress through Web 2.0 and begin to embrace its potential in marketing, branding, and customer relations, many have started off on the wrong foot. The traditional thought process surrounding the automotive industry and many other verticals is based on “push marketing”.  Social media is a different beast – the more you push, the worse off you are sometimes.

“The goal is not to set up a Facebook or a Twitter account and start pushing inventory and specials and coupons,” Valenta said.  “The goal is to interact with people in the community, gain that credibility and utilize it as a place to soft-shoe your way into advertising your products and services.”

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There’s no ROI in Social Media… if you suck at it

Yes, it’s a cruel and uncalled-for statement. It’s also one that needs to be stated. I know I’ve been ranting a lot lately (this is the second one) but sometimes the best way to be constructive is to slap people across the face and say, “Wake up!”

ROIThere is a return on investment with properly run, strategically planned social media campaigns. This has been proven over and over again by businesses big and small who are willing to do more than just hire any old consultant who has a sharp pitch and a sharper business suit. The problem isn’t with the companies or the products themselves. The issue that we face right now is that there are so many so-called social media consultants out there that don’t have a clue that it’s giving the industry a bad name.

Erik Qualman from Socialnomics put together another superb video to demonstrate that there IS ROI in social media if it’s done right. [Read more...]

Corporate Social Media is Here (finally)

Despite recent indications that large corporations are not understanding social media sites such as Twitter, it’s clear that there are some that are finally getting it. A recent benchmarking study by Business.com followed up by a post by friend and cohort Joe Turner demonstrates how Social Media has gone corporate.

CorporateThe only thing truly surprising about this is how long it has taken for them to get it. Social media as a whole has been leading the way in new spends for businesses of all sizes. Still, it can be shocking how many of the larger entities still do not understand what to look for in a social media firm or consultant.

Today, there are approximately 400 trillion people claiming to be social media experts, gurus, and mavens. Some know what they’re doing, but for the most part it’s like picking out a star quarterback for the NFL. Many try, but few are able to truly cut it.

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Social Blitz I, This Week In Social Media (in 2min 31sec)

A new segment of the Social Blade Show was launched this week. The “Social Blitz” portion of the show goes over some of the news from the week in social media in a short, overview-based report. Here’s the first. What do you think?

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Read more about social media on this Social Media Blog.

Social Media. You’re Probably Already a Part of It and Don’t Even Know It.

A Guest Post By Erin Ryan

Social MediaFirst off, this is not for those mainstream New Media folks that already know that Digg is a news site or why Twitter has nothing to do with a bird. This is meant for those who are new to the Social Mediaverse and are unsure, skeptical and maybe even too old fashioned to be persuaded.

As a twenty-eight year old growing up in the so-called “Tech Age”, as computers revolutionized and “the internet” was the coolest thing on the face of the earth, even if dial-up took 3 hours, my generation didn’t care, we would sit there and watch the little earth icon spin, for we knew that soon enough, our page that we requested would magically appear.

As seasons changed, so did the way we used the computer, we got to say bye bye to dial up and witness a birth given to higher speeds and faster bandwidths. This encouraged us to make webpages and blogs that people could subscribe to and leave comments, forums  were built on subjects that we cared about, e-mails changed the way we worked and the “IM” (Instant Messaging) began to change the way we socialized.

Gone are the days that “The Internet” is a scary place, for we have taken over the world with our choice to communicate via the web, and since we spent so much time here, the next logical step was a thing called Social Media.

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Digg Trends Beta: So Far, Not Bad

Digg normally rolls out new features poorly. The debacle that was the “new and improved” dupe detector has yet to show signs of improvement. The Diggbar changes are still a sore spot for many, especially in the way that it was rolled out, changed, and re-rolled out.

Digg Trends is, for now (crossing fingers), a new feature that seems to be doing what it’s supposed to do.

I was terrified when I saw the story below listed as a Trending Topic and held this blog post until it had finished it’s 10-minute trial. Thankfully, Digg Trends (and the Digg community) kept this story off of the front page. “Failed!  Just like nu metal, this trend failed. It won’t be promoted.”

Digg Trends

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