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Digital Dealer Compliance – Automotive Marketing Professionals

January 14, 2013 Leave a comment

Digital Dealer Compliance – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

 

Digital Dealer Compliance

Dealership compliance concerns have traditionally focused primarily on the sales and finance processes. However, the unprecedented growth of digital marketing, social media, and online reputation management has invited new regulations and created additional legal challenges for dealers to contend with. Following are six areas that dealers should pay close attention to in 2013:

Advertising Online – Internet advertising may be handled by any number of people in the dealership, such as a used car manager, internet manager, marketing director or perhaps an outside vendor. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state regulators have been taking a much more aggressive stance in examining and challenging internet advertising. It’s vital that anyone who is responsible for writing and posting advertisements online be well aware of state and federal advertising regulations.

A particular area of concern is social media. Despite the fact that social networking tends to be a low-keyed, casual type of communication, advertising regulations still apply. For instance, if inventory is posted or prices/payments are quoted on a social media site, it’s likely that the posts will be deemed to be advertisements and will be subject to disclosure and truth in advertising regulations. A good rule of thumb is to have any information that could possibly be construed as advertising reviewed by upper management or a qualified professional before it is posted online. Remember, advertising violations can be easy for regulators to identify and difficult to defend against.

Online Reviews – The FTC’s updated Endorsement and Advertising Guidelines require companies to ensure that their posts are completely accurate and not misleading, and planting or allowing fake reviews is a violation. Reviewers must never endorse a product or service that they have not used personally or create any other form of false endorsement.

Dealers may also face liability if employees or vendors use social media to comment on the company’s services or products without disclosing the employment or business relationship. The FTC has indicated that companies are fully responsible and liable for all inappropriate actions of their employees and their vendors.

Regulations also require that any reviewer provided with any form of compensation for posting a review must fully disclose the source and nature of any compensation received. So, if a dealer gives away free oil changes or gas cards for reviews and the reviewers fail to disclose their compensation, the dealership may face liability.

Social Media Policies – Social media applications have soared in popularity and it’s important that dealers control the information that’s coming out of their business. Policies and procedures should be put in place to spell out how employees are expected to conduct themselves within social media.  A social media policy can help take the guesswork out of what is appropriate for employees to post about a company to their social networks.

In addition, there are a number of legal considerations that every company should be aware of when establishing their social media policies and procedures, such as social media use in employment decisions; potential overtime claims; harassment, discrimination and defamation claims; and copyright and privacy issues. Beyond legal risks, employees can harm a company’s reputation by disseminating controversial or inappropriate comments.

Contests and Sweepstakes – Sweepstakes, contests, and giveaways have become increasingly popular among dealerships, especially on sites such as Facebook. These promotions can be a great way to get word out about your company, increase your social media presence and develop leads. However, entry into a poorly considered sweepstakes or contest can be a trap for the unwary dealer. These promotions are governed by a variety of federal and state laws as well as social networking sites’ terms of service. Failure to follow pertinent statutes and regulations regarding promotions can lead to government inquiries, civil enforcement actions, adverse publicity, and even criminal penalties.

Text Message Marketing – A recent high-profile lawsuit involving a large dealer group that allegedly failed to honor text message opt-out requests ended in a $2.5 million settlement. Text messaging is subject to a number of federal and state restrictions and the rules are extremely confusing. These regulations can be much more difficult to deal with than telemarketing or email regulations – primarily because many consumers are charged for text messages and the government feels that they should be afforded additional protection against unwanted solicitations. It’s wise to always consult knowledgeable legal counsel before launching a text marketing campaign.

Online Privacy – Dealerships typically collect a great deal of personal information from their website visitors through contact forms, online credit applications, etc. What many businesses fail to realize is how vitally important it is to properly handle any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) collected from consumers through their sites. The potential penalties are substantial. It’s important for dealers to examine their policies for handling consumer privacy online and to review the policies with their employees and vendors to ascertain their understanding. The FTC has penalized a number of companies for failing to follow their own published privacy statements.

 

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

 

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A Promise Made Should Always Be Kept – Automotive Professional Community

November 30, 2012 Leave a comment

A Promise Made Should Always Be Kept

A Promise Made Should Always Be Kept

A Promise Made Should Always Be Kept
My office here at home faces the street and across the road I see two men building a home that is every bit 5000 square feet. Everyday no matter what the weather may be, the men brave the cold and the rain to accomplish the task of building the home. Yesterday I walked over to speak to the men to ask them why they braved the elements day in and day out to finish the home. They both just laughed and said that they had made a promise to the owners that they would be in the home by Christmas and once they give their word and make a promise there was nothing not the cold, not the rain, nor the snow that could keep them from breaking it.

I thought to myself, “What a powerful message these men have to teach us all.” The power of a promise kept is not only thought provoking but simply powerful in itself. What an unbelievably simple yet powerful message that these two men can teach us all when it comes down to running our business. No matter what business we run, a small mom and pop store or a multi-million dollar dealer group, couldn’t we all learn or build upon the powerful message of a promise kept?

If you own a dealership or manage a dealership have you ever sat back and simply observed to see if the promises that you are making to your customers are being kept? If you are not keeping your promises, maybe its time to figure out why, because promises matter to your customers. If your dealership or business does not deliver on the promise that you made, your business will not matter to them anymore. This reigns true no matter what your business may be and more importantly, with our social media crazed life that we now lead, lashing out online about the broken promises that your business made will have instant ramifications to the credibility of your dealership or business.

There is no time like the present to take the necessary steps to make sure that your business is keeping their promises, because if you do not the consequences can be so severe that no reputation management company can help with. So if there is one lesson I have learned this week its how powerful your promise can be to your customer and how keeping your promises can help with every facet of your business.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Automotive Social Marketing Reputation Management Should be Included in Dealership Advertising Budgets

With the rapidly emerging predominance of User Generated Content (UGC) activity on Social Networks, photo and video hosting sites, and various types of blogs as a percentage of total consumer online activity, it would seem to be only a matter of time before car dealers realize the necessity of creating online dealership communities made up of members who contribute to site content, dialogue and the exchange of information and assets. Despite the low cost, and even no cost access to various Web 2.0 User Generated Content sites and resources that all dealers have access to, there are costs involved to do it right, and there is a lot of time consuming work to get it right. Let’s face it, nobody works for free and neither do people asked to get a dealership social marketing strategy off the ground and put into place… And then there is maintenance. The fact is, conventional old school advertising campaigns don’t engage people any more, they just interrupt whatever customers are doing and at most, if done really right, they entertain customers. By approaching the tactical implementation of a social marketing strategy with a relatively small monthly budget, dealers can:
1. Have a dedicated URL that enhances SEO for their Dealership Community
2. Remove advertising on their Community site and use the space for their own ads
3. Enroll in a Dealer Review program and use filtered content widgets and RSS feeds for Reputation Management
4. Sponsor various contests and awards to encourage customers to actively participate in the dealer’s community
5. Use Search Advertising to attract customers and drive dealership community enrollment
7. Sponsor various events and club activities that are announced on the dealer’s community site

From what I have seen so far, the most successful dealership UGC communities will attract and engage a healthy mix of existing dealership customers, dealership employees, dealership suppliers, OEM field staff and prospective dealership customers from various sources of traffic. I will use this article to display a list of dealership community sites that I believe best represent this emerging form of online customer relationship and reputation management. As time goes on, my intent is to keep this article updated with the addition of more dealership Web 2.0 UGC community sites as they are created and I find out about them.

Find more videos like this on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community (ADM)

Check out the following dealership created online UGC communities based on Web 2.0 site platforms… The recently created Tysinger Dealership Community was was built by an ADM member, Richard Klepach:

1. Ford-Community.com
2. SandersonCommunity.com
3. San-Tan-Ford.com
4. TysingerCommunity.ning.com
5. Beck Toyota Scion Community at BeckToyota.ning.com
6. The Upstate Honda Enthusiast Community – Breakaway Honda; Greenville, SC
7. The Boston Cadillac Community created by ADM Professional Chris Fousek
8. My Jeep Community at MyJeepCommunity.com from Westbury Jeep in Westbury, NY
9. The Boston Honda Community at HondaGallery.ning.com created for Honda Gallery of North Reading, MA.
10. The Acton Toyota Community is a great example of getting dealership employees to participate.
11. ADM’s very own Amy Rothenberger has created an exceptionally well designed Mazda Community site.
12. A new Online Automotive Community at http://www.FordCommunity.com is from Rich Ford of Albuquerque.
13. Check out http://www.MyDubSpace.com created by ADM’s own Ken Nix!
14. Check out the 7 Store Kenny Ross Auto Group Community at http://www.KennyRossCommunity.com which is set up with all the optional Ning Premium Services including ownership of the Advertising space and revenue stream.

MyDubSpace.com is an online social network of new and classic Volkswagen, Owners and Enthusiasts.

The Tysinger Community site is very impressive. Richard set it up for his dealership’s customers, employees and suppliers… There are so few people that really understand the value in creating an online dealership community when it is not just to sell, sell, sell today! I know that Tysinger’s customers, the dealership employees and the suppliers that the Tysinger stores use will appreciate the work on Richard’s part.

It would be great if Richard would publish on ADM anything that he sees or notices in regards to making a dealership Web 2.0 type site work or not work… I will participate as much as I can, and will be sure to let anyone in Tysinger’s area know about their dealership community, and their efforts at carving out a new customer relationship development and management model…

For the SandersonCommunity.com site, I downloaded about 10,000 names and email addresses from their ILM, then uploaded them into the Ning invite system and sent them out… If I had to do it over again, I would have broken up those 10,000 emails into 10 separate files and spaced out the invitations at 1,000 per week for 10 weeks.

The Ford-Community.com site is the best example I have yet seen of a dealer leveraging the power of DealerRater.com’s customer review data feed that pushes positive reviews to dealer designated websites… Perfect for the Web 2.0/UGC applications such as a dealer community built on the Ning platform.

Wendell Dossett is an active ADM Professional who has created an online community for his dealership’s customers, employees and suppliers. The Beck Toyota Scion Community is brand new and holds a ton of promise, especially given the social networking chracteristics of the typical Scion owner… We are looking forward to hearing from Wendell about what works and what doesn’t with this new genre of dealership website.

THIS ARTICLE WILL BE UPDATED PERIODICALLY WITH ADDITIONAL DEALER COMMUNITY WEB 2.0 SITES ADDED TO THE LIST ABOVE

Find more videos like this on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community (ADM)
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About the Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

The Automotive Digital Marketing (ADM) Professional Community website is built on a perpetually growing”Viral Expansion Loop” Networking Platform and serves Car Dealers, Dealership General Managers and their management teams, including Internet Sales Managers, BDC Managers, Marketing Managers, Sales Managers, Service Managers, Service Advisers, Parts Managers, Fixed Operations Directors and their teams. Launched at the beginning of January 2008, ADM has emerged as a valuable and proven resource for the entire spectrum of automotive marketing and Internet sales related professionals. Interactive Media and eCommerce Professionals at car companies (OEM) and tier 1 and 2 advertising agencies who want to see, hear and read what the best Digital and Interactive Marketing professionals in the automotive industry have to say about relevant and timely topics visit ADM on a regular basis or subscribe to the many RSS feeds and content syndication services available within the ADM community.

NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES
Did you know there are now over 2,100 members on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community?
Have you reached out to connect with important ADM member contacts by asking them to be your Friend?

AUTOMOTIVE IMAGE AND PHOTO RESOURCES
Did you know that there are over 4,000 photos listed on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community?
And, do you know that many of these images are actually charts and graphs of the latest marketing trends and research? Did you know that many of these photos are actual ads used by dealers that worked exceptionally well? There have been over 4,000 photos uploaded and made available for use by all ADM members.

AUTOMOTIVE VIDEO FILE HOSTING
Did you know that there are more than 750 videos on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community?
Have you seen how many of those videos are actual examples of marketing campaigns and business processes used successfully by some of the leading and most successful dealers in America?

GET ACCESS TO AUTOMOTIVE ARTICLES AND PUBLISH YOURS
Did you know that there are over 500 blog posts on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community?
When was the last time you posted a blog entry and let important ADM industry professionals know what you are up to? Have you checked ADM for the latest articles published by writers who walk the talk? Members have created more than 500 blog posts within their ADM provided websites that feature online file storage and personalized blog hosting at no cost to ADM members.

SOMETIMES CONTROVERSIAL, BUT ALWAYS FASCINATING AUTOMOTIVE DISCUSSION FORUM
Did you know that there are over 500 forum topics on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community?
Have you checked the forum lately to see what your associates, clients and colleagues are saying?
Have you posted a forum discussion to see what other professionals have to say about the topic?
There have been over 500 discussions started and still active with ongoing comments and information being published daily within the ADM Forum.

SPECIALIZED AUTOMOTIVE PROFESSIONAL GROUPS
Did you know that there are more than 25 professional groups on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community?
Have you joined any groups so that you can send messages to all other group members?

EVENT CALENDAR FOR AUTOMOTIVE PROFESSIONALS
Did you know that there are Important Upcoming Automotive Digital Marketing Events listed on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community?
Have you posted what you or your organization considers to be important upcoming events on the ADM calendar so that other professionals will know about them, consider attending and register their intent? ADM members can create calendar events using the ADM site application that allows image and logos, links to registration pages, location maps that integrate with Google Maps, Outlook Calendar integration, invitation mailings using uploaded email lists, RSVP tracking and event management features and a whole lot more.

RADIO SPOTS AND AUTOMOTIVE PODCASTS
Did you know that there are more than 500 MP3 audio files on Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community? Have you checked out what other automotive professionals are listening to?
Did you know that many of these MP3 files are automotive marketing and Internet sales best practice Podcasts, and examples of highly effective radio spots, along with powerful and engaging dealer website soundtracks?

JOIN ADM AND GET ACCESS TO VALUABLE RESOURCES
If you are interested in visiting and perhaps joining the Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community, go to: http://www.AutomotiveDigitalMarketing.com

The ADM Professional Community is all about car companies and their dealers using the web to drive more business opportunities through increased showroom traffic, more unique visitors to Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 websites, rising volumes of incoming phone calls, and more Internet sales leads from qualified buyers that positively impact total sales volumes.

ADM was created to serve as a resource for Automotive Internet Sales and Marketing Professionals working in the digital marketing space for Acura, Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Toyota, Chevrolet, Chevy, Honda, Nissan, GMC, GM, Mercedes-Benz, Lincoln, Mercury, Mini, Jeep, Volvo, Saab, Hummer, Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac, Saturn, Lexus, Porsche, Hyundai, Kia, Suzuki, Subaru, Volkswagen and other automotive franchises. Both OEM and Dealer associates are among ADM’s most prolific members.

Used Car and Truck Sales Managers, OEM Certified Pre-Owned Program and Automotive Remarketing Professionals have access to a treasure trove of data, files, best practices, strategies, tactics and great contacts within the industry available to them at ADM.

ADM is also proud to serve as an online meeting place, professional networking resource and auto industry best practice exchange for automotive suppliers, marketing service providers and advertising agencies who provide car dealer Internet sales and web marketing solutions. ADM members include high ranking executives from such companies as ADP Dealer Services, JW Thompson, Zimmerman, The Cobalt Group, The Reynolds and Reynolds Company, BZ Results, ADP Dynamic Websites, Dealer.com Automotive Websites, Dealerskins, Izmocars and Izmo CRM, TK CarSites, Autobase, DealerTrack, Arkona, Clickmotive, Xi Group, vinSolutions, Reynolds Web Solutions and other dealership technology suppliers and vendors.

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