How to Identify and Leverage Local Influencers to Drive Car Dealership Word of Mouth - Driving Sales


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Mike Merrill delivered this talk at the DrivingSales Executive Summit 2012 outlining do it yourself strategies to identify local influencers to reach a new audience.

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  • Word of Mouth is an outcome of good marketingLeveraging Local Influencers is a potential way to drive offline and online word of mouth about your dealership. In the context for today we are primarily talking about online influence
  • Today I plan to cover The why and what of influencer marketingThen we’ll spend quite a bit of time discussing ways to identify potential influencersOnce we’ve created a list of influencers then I’ll discuss ways to research and engageThen how to plan for successAnd a note about measurement
  • Just to pause for those who aren’t familiar with ReachLocal- Full Service online marketing company that helps small and local businesses acquire customers onlinePublicly traded on NASDAQ with now over 1,800 employees in over 70 offices and 9 countriesFeet on the street sales teams
  • Just like you use celebrities today in TV and Print, leveraging influencers is a powerful way to tap into new audiencesInfluence as evidenced here by one child telling the other about Pumpkin Pie Flavored PopTarts – Yeah let’s just say I’m a big fan
  • The best advertising is a message from a friend. That in itself is word of mouth. But how do we get influencers to talk about your brand and become advocates
  • While most of us know this If you look at the trust level among consumers they place a premium on peer reviewsEven if the person you influence is the influencer it could be valuable. May heavily influenceThey know like and trust you.This also speaks to why online review sites require constant attention and feeding
  • Influence is the ability to shape thoughts, perceptions or behaviorOnline influence is the ability to cause effect, change behavior and drive measurable outcomes online – Brian SolisHowever Advocacy is far greater than someone who Is an influencer. An advocate will recommend your product or service without being asked to.
  • Influencer marketing applies to the discipline of leveraging influencers as a marketing strategyIdentifying influencers and ranking them in order of importanceMarketing to influencers, to increase awareness within influencer communityMarketing through influencers, using influencers to increase market awarenessMarketing with influencers, turning influencers into advocates
  • David Sfry, the founder of popular blog ranking service technorati coined the term Magic Middle in 2006. He defines The Magic Middle as bloggers who have anywhere from 20 to 1000 inbound links. So when we start the process to identify influencers, we’ll consider folks who have an above average influence locally, and maybe regionally and potentially nationally. Typically for for someone to have influence they typically have to be an expert in their field. However for the sake of what I’m suggesting for dealers is that influencers have the capacity and audience to influence. So given that definition then, the value of influencers is they provide a unique audience for the message different that what you reach today.
  • Once an influencer chooses to take action online they can perform several actions with your involvement and encouragementShare content on their social media profiles typically where they have already established an audienceGuest post on your blog – potentially at your requestAuthor a blog post on their own blog which is potentially the biggest ask depending on the bloggers sense of conformity to their blog topicWhat else could they do? Not listed is they could potentially buy the product or service after reviewing or seeing it
  • So let’s look at Influencer Actions and OutcomesThis is a case study from Klout about the reach of a campaign in 2011. Now I know several of the influencers who participated in this and they were very vocal about their experience. Now many of you are wondering how much this cost? Klout Perks campaigns are rumored to run a minimum of $25,000 and up.
  • Now on to the most controversial section of the presentation. Large Fortune 500 consumer brands enlist agencies and paid applications to help them identify influencers in mass to market to and potentially market through. The goal of this presentation is persuade you to identify and execute and influencer outreach program yourself with a little workThe first place to start in identifying the list of influencers from people who have already self-identified themselves as having an affinity for your brand. Start with your own satisfied customers or those you can likely convert to an advocate.Advocates for your business have great power online
  • My suggestion as you start this process is to build a spreadsheet of potential influencers you hope to engage. You’ll leverage this spreadsheet to understand where folks are most engaged with their audience.For many of you Facebook will is probably your most active social media profile. So why not identify the top 20-30 folks who are the most active. Using a free app from you can generate a list of your top fans in a given month. This tool is free for facebook. It will install a tab that you can easily delete after it runs.You see here the top 9 fans on a specific page by # of engagements. These could be likes, comments or posts.
  • As we start to look externally Google+ is an interesting place to start as it will represent the more tech savvy of influencers which is a good targetFindpeopleon plus is another for Google plus
  • One great tool when using Twitter is the Klout chrome extension. Now Hootsuite includes this when looking at an individual profile, but this plugin allows you to scan a list of users. Again, Klout is really the capacity to influence doesn’t always mean they influence anyone
  • One other tool I’ll mention is TrendsMap. It shows the most popular topics on Twitter by location. This may be an easy way to search Twitter for local influencers using the Klout chrome plugin
  • Your Marketing Managers and Internet Marketing Managers should be encouraged to attend marketing related networking events to not only sharpen their skills but also be on the lookout for potential influencersSocial Media Clubs, American Marketing Association, PRSA Chapters, SEO groups, Meetups are a great way to identify potential influencers
  • As you are identifying potential influencers build private listsYou could even create lists by age group if you want to target different cars for different age groups
  • Get to know the influencers before you engage them. Don’t’ start emailing them from their contact forms asking for something from them. And definitely don’t leavepromotional comments on their blogs, you need to understand how they operate. Once you’ve identified your list of 10-15 potential influencers, create a spreadsheet with all their properties or bookmark them into foldersMake sure you read at least 5-10 of their blog posts and study the type of comments that are left. Then, begin regularly leaving comments that add value to the overall conversation.Might identify them as an influencer on Twitter but get to know their entire email presenceRapportive app for gmail is very helpfulGet a feel for what they talk about and what’s important to themMight identify them as an influencer on Twitter but get to know their entire email presenceRapportive app for gmail is very helpfulYou are identifying people based on how they engage their audience. Probably not good to send them a Facebook Friend Request
  • Comment on appropriate postsRetweet their contentThank them for engagement on your own propertiesBuild an authentic relationshipInvite to exclusive eventsAsk them to guest blog on your siteWarm them up and if you don’t see them as responding take that as not interestedSee if there are ares of commonalitiesWhat platforms do they have the most engagement on? Maybe they preferBuild this program about what’s in for the the influencer? Free Car for the WeekNo direct messages or spam
  • Once we have identified and engaged influencers to take a test drive let’s make sure you plan for success
  • How to Identify and Leverage Local Influencers to Drive Car Dealership Word of Mouth - Driving Sales

    1. 1. Leveraging Local InfluencersIncrease Dealership Word of Mouth Mike Merrill Director of Marketing, ReachLocal @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    2. 2. Agenda1. Why influencers matter2. Influence defined3. Identifying influencers4. Building relationships5. Planning for success6. Measuring success Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    3. 3. About ReachLocal Full Service Public Company Industry Leader Global Enterprise 1,700 EMPLOYEES 68 OFFICES UNITED STATES, AUSTRALIA, CANADA, GERMANY, JAPAN, THE NETHERLANDS, & THE UNITED KINGDOM Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    4. 4. WHY LEVERAGE INFLUENCERS Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    5. 5. Best Advertising Is From a Peer“The basic idea here is that the best advertising is amessage from a friend.” – Mark Zuckerberg Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    6. 6. Influencers are Trusted Peers92 % 72% 15 %Trust Trust TrustRecommendations Consumer Brand messages from people opinions online they know Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey Q3 2011 Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    7. 7. “ The ability to cause effect, change behavior, and drive measurable outcomes online. ” – Brian Solis INFLUENCE DEFINED Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    8. 8. Measuring InfluenceKlout Mission Empower every person by unlocking their influence.Klout Score A number between one and 100 representing your overall social media influence. Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    9. 9. What is Influencer Marketing? 4 1. Identifying influencers 2. Marketing to influencers 3. Marketing throughMAIN influencersACTIVITIES 4. Marketing with influencers Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    10. 10. Targeting the Magic Middle A-List Magic Middle Long TailPOPULARITY INFLUENCERS Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    11. 11. Possible Influencer Actions1. Share content via social media2. Guest post on your blog3. Author a blog post Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    12. 12. Mike Merrill@MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    13. 13. Start WithinIDENTIFYING INFLUENCERS Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    14. 14. Identify Top Facebook Fans Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    15. 15. Identify Top Twitter Followers Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    16. 16. Identify Top Twitter Influencers by Klout Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    17. 17. Identify Top Foursquare Users Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    18. 18. External to network: Google +USERS TEND TO ME MORE TECH SAVVY Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    19. 19. Search Twitter with Klout Chrome Extension Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    20. 20. Advanced Twitter Searches with Klout Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    21. 21. Identify Twitter Users More Specifically Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    22. 22. Identify using TrendsMap Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    23. 23. Face to Face Networking • Social Media Club • American Marketing Association • SEO Groups • Internet Marketing • PRSA • Meetups • LinkedIn Groups Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    24. 24. Create Twitter Lists to Listen Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    25. 25. BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    26. 26. Research and ListenFully Understand Web Presence What sites are they most engaged on? Read what they’ve written Read audience comments Get a sense of what’s important Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    27. 27. Engage Comment Retweet Ask questionsInvite Invite to exclusive events Ask them to guest blog Then invite to test drive Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    28. 28. PLANNING FOR SUCCESS Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    29. 29. Delivery Checklist Dealership & staff tour Photos Monroney Social Media Properties Assets: USB Key and Dropbox Examples of tweets/FB Posts/ Hashtag Test Drive Document Disclosure Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    30. 30. Take Photos During Delivery Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    31. 31. MEASURE ACTIVITY Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    32. 32. What to measure Baseline  Facebook Fans  Twitter Followers  Inbound Links  Mentions  ImpressionsFacebook Twitter SEO  SEO Position for Business NameInbound Links Mentions Impressions Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    33. 33. What Success Looks Like Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12
    34. 34. THANKSTWITTER: @MikeDMerrillEMAIL: Mike.Merrill@ReachLocal.comBLOG: http://blog.reachlocal.comWEBSITE: http://www.reachlocal.comTWITTER: @ReachLocal Mike Merrill @MikeDMerrill #DSES12