Web 2.0 is all about creating conversations; communities are built from conversation, ideas and products spread because of conversation, and people make decisions because of conversation. Car dealers face issues with social media because the interaction between dealer and consumer is limited and viewed as a zero-sum interaction. This can limit the rapport between dealer and consumer as well as engender the intense interaction most consumers want to avoid. Look at this video from FoundRead encouraging consumers to be aggressive.
People talk about cars all of the time, people love cars. Think about all of the car clubs, forums, magazines, and blogs around just talking about cars. People build emotional attachments to cars, they drive them everyday, they fantasize about them, and they want to build a community around them. So, it’s unfortunate that dealers, as purveyors of cars, are unable to build that community.
A larger, important question to me is how can car buying change to an interactive, community oriented, service that gets consumers excited. Social media spreads ideas faster and leads to higher rankings in search engines. eBay Motors and Carspace have built communities around cars, and car buying, but how can an individual dealer build a community?
To build a community dealers need to do a few of the following:
• Target a specific market segment
• Design programs/products to meet the needs of that market
• Facilitate communication between consumers on the web
• Start in-person meetings for people to get to know each other as friends
Side note, a new site called Getsatisfaction.com just launched that makes it easy for consumers to talk about a company or products. Getsatisfaction.com creates a dialogue between a company and its users. The site is only a few months old but already has a following.
More thoughts to come….