Develop Trust and Helpfulness to Achieve Social Media Success, Edmunds.com Advises Internet Retailer Conference

SANTA MONICA, Calif., June 6, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Edmunds.com, the premier resource for car shopping and automotive information, today shared its keys to social media success in a presentation to the Internet Retailer Conference in Chicago.

"It starts with the experience that people have with your brand. Be a brand that people trust, can identify with and know is on their side. Without this base, you could spend millions on social media campaigns with little return," advised Edmunds.com President and Chief Operating Officer Seth Berkowitz, as he told his audience about how Edmunds.com has always put car shoppers first in its business relationships with automakers and car dealerships.

In 1996, before social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter existed, Edmunds launched an automotive message board called "Town Hall," a forum for individuals to discuss all things automotive. These boards are alive and well in today's social media space-- with over 1.8 million visitors a month viewing and contributing to the Edmunds.com Forums, as they are known today. Fifty percent of Edmunds.com's Forums audience engage in the Forums daily, while almost 80 percent visit a few times a week. Over 60 percent visit other areas of Edmunds.com a few times a month or more.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and other social media sites emerged to provide platforms for Edmunds.com to help car shoppers outside of the Forums. Providing a helping hand to simplify the car buying experience really resonated as a social media strategy, so Edmunds.com took one more step closer to its customers – but with an old school relationship platform: the telephone.

In 2011, the company launched a Live Advice phone line that allowed car shoppers to contact Edmunds.com's experts with any car buying questions at no charge. The staffers, plucked for hours at a time from their regular jobs, were not given scripts or time limits. Their goal was to ensure that the person on the other end of the conversation walked away with an impression that Edmunds is friendly and here to help. Today, the Live Advice line has a dedicated staff and is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day, through the phone, email and online chat.

"People who have a great experience with our Live Advice team quickly become our brand advocates. And it is our advocates that spread the word about our brand in social media," stated Berkowitz. "The best acquisition tool in the world is free-- it's word of mouth."

Berkowitz left his Chicago audience with a few key tips:

1. Be trustworthy and helpful. Edmunds.com posts car-buying advice and answers social media posts across the various platforms every day.
2. Listen. Listen not only to your followers, but also listen to those who are talking about your industry. Actively join those conversations and provide a helpful hand.
3. Make it easy to share. Edmunds.com provide tools on the website that make it easy to share any piece of information or photo within the social media community.

About Edmunds.com, Inc.

Edmunds.com is a car-shopping Web site committed to helping people find the car that meets their every need. Almost 18 million visitors use our research, shopping and buying tools every month to make an easy and informed decision on their next new or used car. Whether you're at the dealership or on the go, we're always by your side with our acclaimed Edmunds.com iPhone and iPad apps and our Edmunds.com Android App. Our comprehensive car reviews, shopping tips, photos, videos and feature stories offer a friendly and authentic approach to the automotive world. We're based in Santa Monica, Calif., but you can connect with us from anywhere by following @Edmunds on Twitter or by becoming a fan of Edmunds.com on Facebook.

CONTACT: Jeannine Fallon/Aaron Lewis/Stephanie Mar Edmunds.com Corporate Communications www.Edmunds.com Media Hotline: 310-309-4900 pr@edmunds.comSource:Edmunds.com