2019’s Biggest Threat to Car Dealers? Bad Social Media Reviews.

Autonomous vehicles, online car shopping, and ridesharing have been gradually picking away at auto dealers’ profits, but there’s another, perhaps even larger threat lurking in the shadows: bad customer reviews on social media.

In a recent 23,000-participant study conducted by our sister company MaritzCX, approximately six in ten respondents stated that social media reviews directly impacted their last auto purchase decision. That number climbs markedly for car buyers under the age of 35 years, as 63% of younger shoppers read online social media reviews before choosing a vehicle. It’s no surprise that social media has quickly become a popular and trusted source of reference for car shoppers; this is apparently just the nature of the beast, so to speak.

Bad Social Media Dealer Reviews

But unlike self-driving cars, online dealerships, and rideshares – all of which contribute to the forced evolution of auto dealers vis-à-vis natural selection – threats such as negative social media reviews aren’t just part of doing business in the modern era. Au contraire, mon ami! By understanding how auto buyers use social media reviews to make decisions, car dealers actually have the capability of deescalating these threats to avoid earning Darwin Awards.

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Ranking the 7 Most Important Review Sites for Auto Dealers

Is your dealership the prom king or class clown?

Review Site Ratings

Just like your high school, crawling up the internet’s ladder is a popularity contest, and the dealer with the most votes wields the crown and scepter come prom night. If you’re like me, whose middle name might as well have been “Supremely Unpopular Nerdo” in school, you probably read that sentence and hit upon a vein of teenage-propelled PTSD. (Weren’t we told that no one cares about popularity after college? Those liars.)

The fortunate news is that dealers can overcome this new-age digital popularity contest far easier than 18-year-old me could go from yearbook outcast to classroom royalty. A diverse array of good dealership ratings across the most relevant sites is a good start, but there are a few review platforms that may be more worth your while. Here’s our list of the most important dealership review sites to focus on in 2018.

1) Google Reviews

The head honcho. The big enchilada. The top dog, VIP, grand poobah. That’s Google when it comes to review platforms—or just about any digital platform, it seems.

“That’s some big talk. But how important are Google reviews, really?”

If you’ve had a tough go of making the top of the “first page,” we don’t blame you. More than 3.5 billion people hit the Google SERP stream per day—that accounts for over 75% of search engine traffic across desktops and mobile devices—and organic rankings are noticeably taking a backseat to the various Google-owned SERP properties, such as paid ads, Google Maps, knowledge graphs, image carousels, YouTube videos, Google products, and the almighty local pack. Online visibility in all categories may be at an all-time high, but so too is your competition.

Aside from location, one key driving force for SERP placement, whether that’s in the local pack or organically, appears to be a dealer’s reviews.

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Answers to All Your Google Q&A Questions

Ah, Google: Always on the cutting edge of, well, everything. Now, with the implementation of Google My Business Q&A, they’re attempting to answer commonly asked questions right from the Knowledge Panel. Some may see this update as yet another way Google is stripping power from business owners, but this new feature offers a lot of potential for brand growth—if handled properly.


Google Q and A

Photo: smallbusiness.googleblog.com

What is Google Q&A?

In the fall of 2017, Google pushed “Questions & Answers” out on their Google Maps app (Android). In December, this feature rolled out to mobile and desktops. “Great,” you say. “But what does it do?”

As the name suggests, users can ask a business owner specific questions related to their services, products, or policies. Owners of that Google My Business listing can then respond to these questions.

How Does Google Q&A Affect My Business?

Customers ask questions; owners answer said questions. Easy-peasy, right?

Not quite, as anyone with a Google account can also answer these questions without having a direct connection to the business property. Even competitors can ask and answer questions on your Google property, which should be alarming to anyone whose rivals are snarky weasels.

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Do Google Reviews Help Your Click-Through Rate?

TL;DR answer: Yes.

Long answer: Yes, according to recent data from BrightLocal’s Consumer Review Survey. In it, 91% of those surveyed stated that they read online reviews before calling or visiting a local business. Perhaps more telling is the fact that 56% of those surveyed base their click on a company’s star rating, meaning several 1-star reviews might be the difference between a click and a shoo.

Google Reviews CTR
Photo: brightlocal.com


Let’s dive into the deep(er) end of this pool of thought.

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12 Ways To Spot Fake Online Reviews

The widespread proliferation of fake online reviews is becoming a serious problem for legitimate businesses. Recently, Amazon was in the news for suing more than 1,000 people accused of writing positive online reviews in exchange for money. And if Amazon is concerned, you should be, too.

fake real road sign

Consumers Wary Of Fake Online Reviews

According to NBC News, the research organization Mintel found that 57% of those surveyed indicated that they are suspicious of companies or products that only have positive online reviews. Moreover, 49% believe that most companies offer financial incentives for writing positive reviews.

There’s even a word for it: “Astroturfing.” Just like fake grass, it’s sometimes difficult to tell if the online review is real unless you examine it up close.

money on keyboard

Whether it’s Cars.com, Yelp, the Better Business Bureau, Google, or many other consumer review websites, the number of charlatans getting paid to pose as authentic reviewers is growing exponentially. This downright chicanery makes it difficult for anyone engaged in a legitimate business to leverage the positive benefits of good user reviews and to defend against bad reviews which may have been planted by an unscrupulous competitor.

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10 Tips for Every Area of Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Think fast: what’s the biggest strength of your digital marketing strategy? Maybe it’s your detailed SEO efforts or your beautifully structured PPC campaigns, or maybe you’re extra proud of your presence on review sites and social media. Whatever your strengths might be, there’s always room for improvement; use these 10 tips from expert Marketing Advisors to enhance every area of your digital marketing strategy.


How solid is your SEO strategy? Do you have a detroit seo team working hard to ensure that sales and traffic are quickly being generated to your business? These quick tips are sure to assist even the strongest players in the SEO game.


1) Stop Ignoring Google Algorithm Updates

Google has evolved dramatically since the early days of digital marketing. In fact, over the past 13 years alone, we’ve seen more than 20 game-changing Google Algorithm updates! While a total SEO strategy revamp isn’t necessary with each algorithm update, tweaks must be made to accommodate for the changes that come along with each update. Best advice? The Boy Scouts said it best: Be Prepared. Stay on top of updates, breaking news, and other platform changes as Google announces them.

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Meet OppMax Local & Improve Your Online Listings

OppMax Local is designed to help you stay on top of your local business listings that can be crucial to your online rankings while also providing accurate information that your customers are seeking in Google search results. The purpose of OppMax Local is to align, enhance, and monitor online business listings that appear in search engine result pages. OppMax is partnered with over 65+ online directories, maps, and apps to help ensure that your business is correctly listed online. Having the wrong information listed will not only prevent customers from visiting your business, but it can also have a huge impact on Organic and Local Search!

Here is more about what OppMax Local can do for your business:

  1. Align – Opportunity Max will publish your business information everywhere and on every device with the most established and popular search engines, maps, apps and directories across the United States.
  2. Enhance – Our team will suppress your duplicate business listings, so consumers never see incorrect or incomplete addresses or contact information. We will also enhance your business listings by showcasing photos, videos, business description, business hours and holiday hours, staff bios, product and service lists, and more than a dozen other fields alongside basic name, address, phone number (NAP).
  3. Monitor – Our digital marketing experts will monitor your online business listings regularly as things can quickly change. Monitoring your online business listings gives you the opportunity to listen to your customers across every OppMax Local site that supports them, including Yelp, Facebook, CitySearch, Google+ and more! You will get quick custom notifications new reviews, search reviews, and be able to analyze how customer feedback varies over time and across locations.
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How To Manage And Improve Your Online Reputation

Your online reputation plays an important role in the online journey of a customer. With review sites being featured in search results, it’s increasingly important you’re on top of your review game. Google aims to model the real world by rewarding businesses that are highly regarded and favored by their customers. If your business’ online reviews show a history of making customers happy, you can count on showing up at the top of Google’s local search results.

In today’s digital world, transparency is what wins over customers. Online reviews are your best bet at establishing trust with prospective clients; they’re also a great way to establish an online reputation. Lacking an online reputation can hold your business back from getting new leads.

How To Manage And Improve Your Online Reputation

Have you noticed that when you shop online you naturally look at what people are saying about the product or service you’re considering buying before making a decision? That’s because reading reviews have become a significant part of the online buying process. As a business, contributing to your online reputation is key. Here are five tips for managing your online reputation and keeping it clean.

Pay Attention

If you have a local listing for your business son Google+, Yelp, Yahoo local, consumer reports it is vital that you  pay attention to it. An online reputation attack on your business can quickly do a lot of damage if it’s not taken care of. Paying attention to your online reviews will help you decide on an appropriate response to reviews in due time.

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Google+ Update: How It Impacts Reviews & What You Can Do About It

With the new Google+ update, having a Google+ account is no longer a requirement for leaving local reviews on Google+ business pages. Users can now leave reviews while on the search results page using their name and Gmail or non-Gmail based account.

Here is how it works. When you search for a business on Google, their Google+ listing will show up on the right sidebar. If you scroll down to the review section, simply click on the “Write a review” tab to leave a review. See below:

Google+ Update

You will then be prompted to log into your Google account.

how to leave a review on Google plus

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