With more and more consumers purchasing smartphones, the traffic these phones are driving to dealer sites is soaring.

Moreover, customers are using these phones to tweet, Facebook and share much of their lives. Leveraging this technology is no easy task for dealers, however, according to the panelists on the CPO Consumer Engagement and Retention panel Tuesday.

“Mobile has taken us by storm, but consumers are way beyond us,” said Andy Jacobson, of

Dave Metter, of HookLogic, pointed out, “Customers start on the full screen and then at some point transition to mobile. Conversions on mobile are as high as 50 percent.”

Basically, according to the experts, the key is to understand how the customer wants to engage with a dealership and then cater to this need.

Very few dealers are using text to engage with customers; however, customer usage of text continues to soar. This could be a new way to connect with leads, as well as current customers.

In fact, just because a customer is on a dealership lot does not mean he has stopped shopping. He could still be looking up information via his phone.

Several of the panelists said they remain amazed when they walk into a dealership that has Facebook locked down.

“If you aren’t concerned about what they are doing on the lot or in the store, let them go online and on Facebook and YouTube. Give your sales staff training,” one panelist recommended.

Whether a dealer wants to talk about charity involvement, offer special coupons or whatnot, the key is to offer rich content via social media, according to the experts. Don’t just highlight inventory.

One dealership even makes it a point to take a photo of the customer and his new car when delivery is done. The dealership representative then encourages the customer to send it out to their friends and share on Facebook. This can drive some residual sales, according to the panelists.