There’s a major shift happening right now in the structure of the web. I’m seeing this shift initiated certainly by Social networks, and it’s a major change in how people spend their time on the Internet. They’re spending less time interacting with facts and more time communicating with people.
Paul Adams, the author of “Grouped”, who’s the Global Head of Brand Design at Facebook, says, “We’re moving away from a web that connects documents together to a web that connects people together. A person’s profile, which tells us the things they care about, and their connections, which tells us who they trust, will move with them as they move from website to website.”
This fundamental re-architecture of the web is going to affect almost all businesses, because almost all businesses revolve around people.
With a web that’s built around people’s knowledge rather than information, dealership marketers need to understand Social behavior. We need to be aware of how people interact and how they’re influenced by different people in their networks. Word of mouth was always the preferred form of marketing and now it seems as if it’s the only form.
When your customer loves what you do and tells others about it, that’s an authentic stamp of approval that you cannot purchase anywhere. Focusing your business’ efforts on fostering that is the most ideal way to spend your marketing budget.
Facts have no trust built in. Today, we all consider the source where the facts come from. We’ve been inundated with so much information (much of it false) that we must turn to our trusted network to help us figure out what’s trustworthy and what isn’t. Especially when we’re considering a large purchase like a vehicle. Marketing messages mean nothing when your customers have friends and connections who are telling them otherwise.
It used to be that a TV commercial’s message was so trustworthy, we thought nothing of going out and buying that product based on that message. Now we look at those messages as interruptions in our day. So how does a retail automotive operation (or any other business) manage to communicate their value and get their message out? By finding everyday people who are passionate about what your brand does and market to them.
Whether it’s sharing a post on Social Media or sharing their experience in real life, people forward their “feelings” to their network, online or offline. Content that triggers arousing emotions like awe, anxiety, compassion, and love drive that behavior.
When Google unveiled the “Knowledge Graph” in May, they called it the “First Step in Next Generation Search”. Google wants users to spend less time searching and more time interacting with their network. What this means for dealers is you must build your store’s knowledge footprint. That means publishing content (ie: blogging) and curating other relevant content around the subjects you want to be known for. It’s important how Google knows you. It’s important how your customer knows you.
This is a glimpse into the next generation of marketing. Facts are no longer relevant unless they’re perceived as coming from a trustworthy source. When filtered through their network, facts your customer learns about your store become trustworthy. People share what they’re passionate about. Facts about your business married with passion and personal experience equals trust in your brand.