General Motors is launching new features that will allow its customers to have better access to its vehicles on social media networks and mobile devices.

For years, car makers have allowed users to make personalized versions of the cars they sell through online configurators, but now GMC and Buick shoppers will be able to post those cars in their Facebook news feed and share their choices friends and family.

Social media is changing the way many people approach their car buying decisions. Rather than relying on traditional media for input on what to buy, more and more people are looking to their Facebook and Twitter circles for input.

"We recognize that car buyers are not only looking for product information when shopping for their next car or truck but also use feedback from friends and family to help narrow down their selection," said GMC Marketing VP John Schwegman.

The automaker referenced a marketing study by Beresford Research that found about half of the people who responded consider input from their social networks when making a purchase. The number was even higher- up to 65 percent- for people aged between 18 and 24.

Buick and GMC aren't just approaching their new media strategies through social media. They've also recently released a new website specifically for iPad that will make it easier for customers to interact with their vehicles and services. The iPad site allows users to build a car, locate a specific car for sale, find their nearest dealer and request a quote on a new Buick or GMC.

GMC also just launched a 'Showroom Mobile' app for iPhone that gives users access to a virtual showroom where they can find photos and videos of GMC products like the Canyon pickup or Acadia SUV. The showroom app is currently available in the Apple App Store and will launch on the Android Market later this month.

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J. Mark Sternberg is an automotive journalist, car enthusiast and writer with a degree from the University of Arizona. Mark is a devoted Formula 1 fan and also enjoys boating, flying and attending the occasional track day.

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