Your dealership probably has at least one review portal that your marketing efforts are focused on…Google? Facebook? Yelp? DealerRater? Which portal works best for your car dealership? Is your focus in line with the portal your customers prefer to use?

Mike Blumenthals, a local search and Google Places expert, recently created a Google survey to find out where American adult Internet users prefer to leave reviews online. After filtering out the 77.8% of survey takers that self-reported that they never or almost never leave reviews, Blumenthals asked the following question:

When you leave a review online for a local business, which site are you most likely to use?

  • Google – 32%
  • Facebook – 20.6%
  • Yelp – 17.5%

While the margin of error allows for Yelp and FB to be neck and neck, this does show a growth in the desire to leave reviews on Facebook, even though they aren’t necessarily known as a review aggregator.

So, while users prefer to leave their online reviews on Facebook, it’s unfortunate for small businesses like your dealership that Facebook doesn’t highlight business reviews, nor does it really promote them. In fact, it can be downright difficult to find the reviews on your dealership’s business page. What is your dealership to do?

First, continue to focus on Google reviews. They are still the clear leader, and provide the most bang for your marketing buck given their dominance in the search engine market. Having a healthy number of reviews consistently flowing into your Google+ Local page gives your dealership a better chance of a high ranking in Google’s search results.

But don’t sleep on Facebook Reviews. They are a smart company, and they will put more of a focus on business reviews in the future. Given that their platform has almost accidentally become the 2nd biggest consumer review site, it is just a matter of time before business reviews become a highlighted part of Facebook for businesses. Make sure your dealership is ahead of the curve. Spend some time and effort building positive reviews on Facebook, since many consumers are already looking at them, and the number is likely to grow dramatically over time.

As for Yelp, could the recent controversy surrounding the quality and validity of their reviews beginning to discourage consumers from leaving reviews there? If you have shied away from Yelp, one thing you should be aware of is that Google’s recent Pigeon change (which I wrote about last week) has given Yelp reviews MUCH more visibility in Google (see this article by Matt McGee). But, it may just be easier and smarter for the long term to focus on building your dealership’s review volumes on Google and Facebook, since there’s little question about their long-term consumer influence. Has your dealership seen an increase in Facebook reviews?