CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. — A survey conducted by Auto/Mate Dealership Systems in September revealed that social media and mobile apps are the two areas receiving the most interest from dealers.

The 159 survey respondents included owners and general managers (55 percent) and a mix of management positions (45 percent) including controllers and CIOs, dealer principals, service and parts managers, and sales managers.

The survey was conducted to identify the best methods to engage and interact with auto dealers, as well as to determine which technologies are the most important to auto dealers, according to Auto/Mate. When asked which social media sites they maintain a personal profile on, 81 percent of respondents said they maintain a Facebook page, 44 percent are on LinkedIn and 17 percent have a Twitter profile.

As a means of interacting with their dealership vendors, 62 percent of respondents said they do not use social media to interact with vendors at all, according to Auto/Mate. There is still some significant interaction in this area, however, as 29 percent of Facebook users said they use Facebook to interact with their dealership vendors, 10 percent use LinkedIn and 9 percent use Twitter.

Regarding their dealerships’ social media programs, 70 percent indicated that they maintain their social media and reputation management programs in-house, while 9 percent outsource to a vendor. Twenty-one percent of dealers said they still don’t have social media and reputation management programs.

Additionally, the survey revealed that dealership management is most interested in using mobile apps in their sales departments, with 46 percent of respondents saying they are currently using mobile apps in the sales department, while another 35 percent said they plan to implement mobile apps within the next year. Mobile apps managed through a CRM solution were the second most popular choice, with 31 percent saying they are currently using mobile apps with their CRM and another 17 percent saying they plan to implement a CRM mobile app in the next year.

Use of mobile apps in the service department next year also shows promise, as 23 percent of dealers currently use mobile apps in the service department this year while another 32 percent indicate they will implement service-related mobile apps in the next year. Parts departments seem to have the least use for mobile apps, with 14 percent of respondents currently using mobile apps and another 13 percent saying they plan to implement mobile apps in the parts department within the next year.

“We are getting more requests from our dealer clients for technology solutions to be integrated into their dealership management systems (DMS),” said Mike Esposito, president and CEO of Auto/Mate. “The overall trend seems to be that dealers are eliminating unnecessary third-party vendors if they can accomplish the same functions within their DMS, as it’s more cost effective.”