Tom McPharland stirred up a mild little maelstrom on Twitter today with this article. I asked former Ford Social Media Director his thoughts on the concept that social media doesn't sell cars. Specifically the quote that only about 1% of social media users rely on social media for help in purchasing a vehicle. (by the way my Twitter name is @DanCMos) His response:

ScottMonty@DanCMos That quote about only 1% using social media to shop for cars is patently false.12/2/14, 2:45 PM

Autoblog's Podcast Host Dan Roth (@boston_auto) jumped in and asked Scott for some more details:

Boston_Auto@ScottMonty @DanCMos do you have other metrics to share on social-media-correlated auto sales?12/2/14, 2:48 PM
ScottMonty@Boston_Auto @DanCMos Here you go: https://t.co/xm0A151mVH12/2/14, 2:53 PM

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This link leads to a report by Digital Air Strike, a digital media marketing firm, which shows Social Media and online reviews are guiding buyers to making a decision. From their site:

A study of more than 2,000 car buyers and 650 automotive dealerships finds consumers are increasingly using online review sites, Facebook and mobile devices in the car buying process

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Autoblog's Roth asked Monty his thoughts on enthusiast journalists views/understanding of marketing:

Boston_Auto@ScottMonty @DanCMos Thanks - what's your take on the enthusiast press and its misunderstanding of marketing/branding? Not a new phenomenon.12/2/14, 3:11 PM

Monty made his point pretty clear:

ScottMonty@Boston_Auto @DanCMos It'll continue to have its head in its tailpipe.12/2/14, 3:14 PM

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But, Jalopnik's very own Patrick George begs to differ.

bypatrickgeorge@ScottMonty @Boston_Auto @DanCMos That's mostly about review sites. Not convinced Twitter and Facebook posts actually help sell cars.12/2/14, 3:24 PM

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I have to believe Social Media has some impact on car purchase decisions. Certainly Digital Strike's research finds reviews are pretty important, I imagine that includes Autoblog and Jalopnik, though they are conspicuously missing:

The study also showed that review sites are becoming increasingly important in organic search. 81% of car buyers who use review sites said they look at review scores in search results. The dealer component of the study revealed that, on average, five review sites show up in search results. Car buyers use the top five sites 13% more than just 6 months ago. The most popular review sites are Cars.com (61%, previously 55%), Edmunds.com (54%, previously 50%),), Google+ Local (37%, previously 44%), Yelp (14%, no change), and Yahoo (11%, no change) – the same rank order as the October 2012 study.

If these buyers are relying on sites like Cars.com, which all due respect to the august site, they are probably not enthusiasts. So perhaps the idea that "Millenials" don't care about social branding may not be spot-on, but, and this isn't scientific, I'm pretty sure enthusiasts are swayed by Craigslist.com and eBay.com more than any other site.

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For me, I just enjoy reading reviews and occasionally writing them. I used to care about marketing, but I've moved from advertising and marketing to business development which is an entirely different animal. I just want to read about your car stories along with Jalopnik's and Autoblog's daily dose of reviews, features, and news. Did I forget Hooniverse? I like Jeff Glucker too. Oh, and /Drive+, and on and on and on.

Top Photo: TorqueNews' idea of Millennials and their love of Subaru