When it Comes to Your Digital Reputation, Keep Your Best Foot Forward

one foot in front of the other

Whoever said “words will never hurt me” clearly never used the Internet.

The harsh reality of maintaining an online presence is that nearly anyone can say whatever they want about you, whether it’s true or not. In today’s world, your dealership’s success depends heavily on online traffic, which means negative reviews or a circulating false claim could certainly cause damage.

A recent MaritzCX study found that online reviews impact 38 percent of car buyers’ decisions when they’re picking a dealership. For buyers under the age of 35, that goes up to 51 percent. That means over half of young buyers will use online reviews to decide if they want to step through your door!

You may argue that you can’t control what people say, and for the most part, you would be correct. What you can control, however, is the way you manage your online presence and how you choose to respond.

Here are three practical ways to attend to your online reputation and ensure your dealership has its best foot forward at all times.

Invest in Reputation Management Services

If you’re like most dealers, you’d probably rather be selling vehicles than worrying about your store’s digital reputation. While it’s important to interact with customers online, it can be time-consuming and frustrating to address each and every mention of your dealership.

In order to focus your attention where it needs to be, consider pursuing reputation management services. By scanning the Internet for comments and mentions of your dealership, credible vendors can present you with detailed reports of what is being said and when. Notifications can alert you to negative reviews so they can be dealt with in a timely and professional manner.

If you don’t know what’s being said about your dealership online, you may not be aware of certain pain points that customers are experiencing. Reputation management providers can shed light on these possible issues, helping you take steps to address areas of concern. Entire conversations can even be taken offline through follow-up email surveys that allow customers to give direct, private feedback.

Focus on Character

Whether or not your dealership employs reputation management services, you’re still ultimately in the driver’s seat of your online strategy. Before answering a comment, it’s important to determine if your words reflect the character of your organization.

For example, consider a situation in which a customer leaves a poor review about a sales experience. By answering in a respectful tone, you will show viewers (and the commenter) that you are focused on professionalism and strong character. You should approach a bad review with politeness and genuine intent to help rather than defend.

Even if you have the best sales process in the world, negative reviews can still happen. They’re a fact of life, and rather than avoiding them, your dealership should consider facing them head-on with professionalism and strong character.


Be Transparent and Truthful

Statements on the Internet are often taken at face value whether they’re true or not. Imagine if someone posted a comment along the lines of “Don’t go to this dealership, heard they’re closing up shop soon.”

There might not be a single ounce of truth to the statement, but the mere fact that it was posted could still cause confusion and lead others to believe it’s true. A smart approach for such a situation is to call out untruths and provide the facts. You shouldn’t spend time arguing with someone’s opinions, but if they make a claim regarding your business that is simply not factual, you can promote transparency and truth by responding with accuracy.

This applies to your social media presence as well, which can also be professionally managed.

See the Results

People can generally say what they want on the Internet, and there will be times when your dealership is mentioned. What others say is beyond your control, but by investing in reputation management services, displaying strong character, and promoting transparency and truth, you can do your part to earn a respected voice.