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Auto retailers step up scouring of tweets amid Google-Twitter alliance

Google?s addition of tweets to its mobile search results is pressuring marketers in the reputation-driven automotive space and in other verticals to step up monitoring of topics that may also align with real-time consumer search behavior, lest a negative tweet sully a brand?s or retailer?s name.

The Google-Twitter tie-up also is forcing retailers to add mobile Twitter Card monitoring to the list of watch areas to determine what content is being associated with the brand. The alliance points to the impetus mobile marketers now have to rethink how they manage their online reputation, especially since consumers increasingly use social media to complain about unsatisfactory service.

?It is difficult to quantify the impact of a negative tweet with a broad statement, but if a consumer is moving from intent to purchase and there is evidence of a negative experience that is gaining velocity through engagement and shows as a popular tweet tied to the brand, this can have an adverse impact,? said Tom Edwards, executive vice president of strategy and innovation for digital at The Marketing Arm, Dallas, TX. 

?That?s why it is important to align your communication strategy and customer support to closely align the real-time reputation of the brand with the consumer discovery process through Google.? 

Acutely sensitive
Auto retailers are acutely sensitive to Google?s latest changes, because 47 percent of new car buyers use smartphones to do research while at a dealership. Now consumers researching a potential purchase can see negative and positive tweets about brands popping up in mobile search results. 

Researching auto purchases on mobile.

Auto retailers, of course, are not alone. Marketers of all stripes have learned that a few bad tweets can spoil the buying experience for in-market buyers.
In the past, complaints on Twitter may have gotten lost without concern in the syndicated data feed of some 500 million tweets a day to which Twitter's data partners pay to get access, known as the tweet firehose. 

Google?s and Twitter?s tie-up forces marketers to rethink how they manage their online reputation, especially since an estimated 50 percent of consumers use social media to complain about bad customer service.
?It is important for brands to have a consistent content strategy that aligns the essence of the brand as well as the behavior of the consumer to deliver a very clear, concise and relevant message,? Mr. Edwards said.

?By integrating and extending tweets beyond the Twitter ecosystem, context will be key as now it is not enough to just consider conversations on the platform, but those conversations will also become relevant in the consumer discovery process.? 

While scrutinizing context is not new, as brands that created communication plans on Google+ experienced a similar experience with content mapping to search results, the challenge for marketers now is to closely monitor topics that may also align with real-time consumer search behavior. 

It also is imperative to add mobile Twitter Card monitoring to the list of areas to keep a watchful eye on what content is being associated with the brand. 

?The goal with integrating twitter cards into the mobile search experience is to add additional context to the consumers search results thus making the experience more dynamic for the in-store consumer,? Mr. Edwards said. 

?This can be a positive if a brand has closely aligned their social communication strategy to deliver a highly relevant message through the reach of Google that has local context.? 

Key consideration
The key consideration for brands is that mobile search results that are directly tied to the brand will most likely pull their recent tweets. The other use case is having consumer search based topics beyond the brand show as well. These tweets are tied to popularity of a tweet versus a firehouse of all tweets. 

Monitoring social is key to managing sentiment.

?Real-time feedback is a double-edged sword that a small business or a larger association can have work for them,? said Christian Fuller, chief relationship officer at Search Optics. ?Glowing replies about positive experiences with sales representatives can counter negative mentions. 

?This could provide another opportunity to engage with the consumer, and that is always a good thing for a retailer or dealership,? he said.

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York