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Cobalt Extends Website Platform to Embrace Social Media
Feb 13, 2010 (08:02 AM EST)
Enhancement fosters consumer brand enthusiasm and dealer social media initiatives
SEATTLE, Feb. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Cobalt™ (www.cobalt.com), the leading provider of digital marketing solutions for the automotive industry, today announced the first in a series of enhancements to the industry's most widely used dealership website platform to help dealers and auto manufacturers leverage the explosion in social media interaction to promote brand enthusiasm and dealer community engagement. This enhancement provides a pragmatic approach to assist dealers in connecting with common consumer social behavior through their websites to increase shopper engagement and sales with low effort on a dealer's part. It requires no change to a dealership's sales and marketing processes, and there is no charge for this platform upgrade.
The concept of "social media" is almost as amorphous as the Internet itself, with many unproven strategies requiring widely different levels of investment and maintenance to obtain good results. Cobalt's approach to social media is to focus on maximizing the dealer's return-on-investment by keeping the cost of participation low, leveraging social interactions proven to work in the automotive industry, and providing metrics and reporting to objectively value its contribution to the dealer's business.
The platform enhancement has two components:
Socially active in-market car shoppers will be able to share the vehicles they are interested in with their friends on Facebook™ & Twitter™. Sharing is easy – clear icons are present on the vehicle details page that allow consumers to bookmark the page and to share it on Facebook and Twitter. The share includes a brief description of the vehicle the shopper is looking at, along with a link back to the vehicle details page on the dealer website. These features supplement existing email and print sharing functionality.
Cobalt is also making it easy for dealers to promote their dealership's Facebook & Twitter presences on their dealership website, choosing from a library of popular Facebook and Twitter widgets to drive community engagement. These widgets let the growing number of already socially active dealers broaden the reach of their social media content to their website, provide relevant real-time content to their website visitors, and let shoppers and customers become fans or followers of the dealership with one click.
These enhancements will provide benefits to consumers, dealers and their manufacturers. Shoppers excited about a particular vehicle can now share that enthusiasm with their friends. This will help build traffic for the store and buzz for the brand. Additional inbound links may also contribute to a dealer's site visibility in the web. Consumer interaction of both of these feature sets will be tracked to inform the dealer on the impact social media has on consumer engagement and, ultimately, sales opportunities.
"Using social media, we're able to do things that create a fun, ongoing and open communication with our customers; from hosting tailgate parties to sharing fun facts just to keep them in the conversation," said Aaron Cohn, BDC Manager of Esserman International VW in Miami, FL. Adam Murray, Internet Manager of Kuni BMW in Portland, OR agreed. "These features enable a two-way learning process between us and our customers. It is where our customers are and has become the biggest source of traffic to our website next to search."
These enhancements will be available for eligible dealers in Q2 2010. To learn more about Cobalt's suite of digital marketing solutions, call 877-836-8655 or visit www.cobalt.com.
Cobalt is North America's leading provider of digital marketing and advertising solutions for the automotive industry. For fifteen years, Cobalt's mission has been to help automobile dealers and manufacturers increase their retailing effectiveness and profitability. Cobalt provides marketing solutions to almost half of the automotive dealerships in the United States, as well as Canada and Mexico. Cobalt's digital marketing solutions and data services are endorsed by approximately two-thirds of the world's major automotive manufacturers.