Social Media

How Social Media Could Help Manufacturers Discover Auto Problems

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Social media has become a huge part of our daily lives. We discuss anything from mundane activities to opinions on the best new vehicles. A ton of information is posted every day by millions of users all over the world. As a result, valuable information can be gleaned from blogs, forums and sites such as Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Auto manufacturers are just one of many industries that can use this information to their advantage to improve their products and track possible problems.

Social Media and the Auto Industry

Many consumers do extensive online research to discover reliability ratings of the vehicles they are considering, as well as the opinions of other owners. Sites such as Epinions and J.D. Power and Associates can provide valuable information to consumers prior to purchasing a vehicle. Not only do people post information about their vehicles on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google+, many car owners also join car-enthusiast forums and comment boards. Owners can discuss what they like and dislike about their vehicle, make suggestions on modifications and accessories, and highlight any problems they’re having with their car. If you report a problem with your vehicle via a social media site, manufacturers could potentially compile this data along with the data of many other car owners to see if there’s a trend and discover a potentially serious quality issue.

Research Shows Auto Makers Can Use Social Media to Their Advantage

A recent study done by Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business suggests that auto manufacturers can use data posted by social media users to discover problems with their vehicles. But, how can auto manufacturers possibly sift through all of this online information in order to actually be able to analyze and use this data to their advantage? The researchers at Virginia Tech developed a method for compiling, organizing and sorting relevant data for car manufacturers. They hired some auto experts to analyze and organize the information found on forums for Chevrolet, Honda and Toyota. The researchers used the information gained from this process as a basis for developing a computer system that is designed to seek out and sort this information for automakers, so they don’t have to do it themselves. It does this by pulling out relevant defect information from social media posts by sifting through and weeding out all of the other irrelevant posts. Automakers can use a selection of words to help sort the results, and the process proved to be quite effective. The full study is published in the December 2012 issue of the “Decisions Support Systems” journal. Virginia Tech researchers based their research on car forums, but hope to expand this system to include social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter; they believe this can be done. This study is just the beginning of a new defect detection method for auto manufacturers.

Sally loves many different things, she enjoys writing about everything from horseback riding to cars, she works by day reviewing new cars on the Herz car sales site http://www.hertzcarsales.com/ which sells off inventory of rental cars. She also maintains a personal blog about her passion for horses and breeding.

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