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Facebook’s new “Nearby” could dramatically impact your dealership

Facebook has recently announced a new feature that could have tremendous impact on dealers. It’s called “Nearby” and it’s on the iOS and Android Apps. This new feature is a discovery engine, allowing people to discover businesses around them that resonate with their social graph. Imagine users looking for an oil change and viewing service stations nearby. Will you be listed? Will you be at the top of the list? Will you have good reviews? It marks a big step into a new market for Facebook that could have a profound impact on dealers.

What’s new with “Nearby”?
People have long been able to check in to places with their Facebook app, amounting to an average of 250 million users per month. Now, not only will people be able to check in with their Facebook account, but they can rate businesses or choose to like a business’s Facebook page as well. This will power a list of recommendations from your friends when you’re out looking for places to eat, a favorite retail spot, or even a local gas station.

Get a page!
Now, more than ever, it’s time for your dealership to get and manage a Facebook page. Yes, it’s true — there are still dealerships that don’t have one. If you do have one, is it optimized for mobile users to find you? The fact is, Facebook is no longer just a social place to interact with potential customers — it’s a phone book. If you’re not on it, you’re not being found. And for those of you keeping up and who already have a business page, it’s even more important to optimize it. Fill out all your company information (for starters), update your images, and interact with your customers.

Categorize yourself
Think of all the reasons people might come to your dealership. Of course the obvious one is to purchase a new vehicle but there are other major reasons too. What about an oil change or scheduled maintenance, or the need to find a reputable collision centre after getting into an accident? Be certain you’re listed in the right categories, making sure you’re being found in all the right places.

Ask for a review!
This is where it really counts. Just like you ask for reviews on Google, be sure to encourage your customers to check in and leave a review via their Facebook account with the new Nearby. This is where the magic really happens, as the Facebook algorithm takes people’s recommendations into consideration when friends are looking for a spot. You want to be sure you show up on top.
Of course, how this application gains traction will certainly affect the extent to which it will impact your business. Foursquare has already responded to this move by focusing in on increased personalization. The kicker? They’re using Facebook’s social graph to do it, further emphasizing the fact that Facebook has the power and the resources to define and dominate the social experience for users.

If and when it does catch fire, you don’t want to be at the back of the pack. Optimize your Facebook page and ask your customers for reviews now. This brings a whole new meaning to SoLoMo (Social Local Mobile).

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Canadian auto dealer