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11 May Can Social Media help me sell cars?

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I can’t find time for social media, you say. Who needs it? It’s a waste of time. And by the way, isn’t a handle something people used in the ‘70s on CB radios?

What we would tell you is that utilizing social media to sell more cars is not only beneficial, but critical to your success in 2016 and beyond.

Let’s compare two fictional, but entirely possible, sales representatives for a car dealership.

Joe hates all things social media. His wife uses it and seems to enjoy it, but Joe doesn’t want any part of it. He wants to keep selling the way he has sold cars for 30 years. It works, so why change it? Joe meets his quota every year.

Michael uses Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to connect to everyone he knows. When a friend buys a new car from him, he asks to take a photo of him or her with their new car. When Michael posts it, he tags his friend, which essentially invites others outside of his immediate sphere to notice that their mutual friend has a new car. And hey, isn’t that a great car? I wonder if Michael could sell me a car just like that? Michael’s sales numbers are increasing, and he exceeds his goals.

A real-life example: in Bozeman, Montana, saleswoman Laura Madison turned the sales process upside down – she went so far as to create her own website, had her personal car wrapped in marketing messages featuring that site, and regularly uses Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to create conversations. Her results have been stellar; in 2014, she sold about 20 cars a month, up from 12 when she started in 2012, and her boss predicted she would be top 30 a month before the end of that year.

“Various estimates from Gartner, Harvard Business Review, Sirius Decisions, and others confirms that today’s buyer begins the process without the involvement of sales 60-80% of the time. Cold calling and spam emails have diminished in effectiveness, with some 92% of buyers saying they merely ‘hit delete’ when the email or call comes in from someone they don’t know,” says Jim Keenan of A Sales Guy Consulting. He says that using social media will usher salespeople from the old world to the social world. In fact, he conducted a survey of 500+ sources to determine the scope of the impact.

He discovered in 2012 that 78.6% of sales people using social media to sell outperformed those who weren’t using social media; Keenan wasn’t expecting a number that high. Then, he found that when it came to exceeding sales quota by more than 10%, social media users were 23% more successful than their non-social media peers. According to his survey, no matter how you sliced the data, social media users came out on top.

Social selling isn’t the end-all, be-all magic dust that replaces everything else. It’s an enhancement to what you’re already doing. And who couldn’t use a little help? Social media can positively affect your business via relationship building.

Today, potential buyers expect a business to have a presence online. It’s not necessary to flood the field with all of the channels; pick the ones that interest you most and establish a handle.

Take a look at your buyer demographics: who are you reaching? Then formulate a strategy based on the missing pieces.

Sources: The Impact of Social Media on Sales Quota and Corporate Revenue here 

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25 Apr How to successfully leverage Instagram with the help of employees.

While many brands and businesses are trying to figure out how to successfully leverage every single social media platform available in order to increase sales and awareness, Instagram remains untapped by many dealerships.

There is no such thing as a one-size fits-all social media strategy and often, cross platform promotion is not the best approach. Nevertheless, creating a simple Instagram presence involving a dealership’s employees, can result in a surprising ROI.

Let’s start from the beginning. As a dealership, the first step to take is to get employees actively involved.  Help them become familiar with how the social media tool works, and the creative ways they can help the business increase awareness starting with their own communities.

The following infographic illustrates how to get started with Instagram and some fun, creative ways to encourage employees to become active on the platform.

infographic

If some employees have not joined Instagram yet it is usually because they don’t have the time or they don’t know how to use it. Try to show them how easy and fun it is, rather than bore them with uninteresting reasons! Encourage any employees who are already Instagram savy to help get things started and, of course, get employees to follow the company page.

Talk about moments they can share such as a group lunch, a funny anecdote during work, a great deal they want to share because they see the value in it, an “Employee of the Month” celebration, or any other moment they feel connects the dealership to potential customers. Remember to mention the company using the “@” symbol so the social media manager can enter the conversation on behalf of the company’s IG account.

One of the first things to do is to start following other similar pages and profiles. But there is a limit, the focus should be on following whoever follows you first. You may follow other pages that relate to the industry as a way to connect, but always expect to be followed back.

Instagram is all about moments. For example, when you go on a trip with your family, instead of collapsing images of the trip and the family all in one picture, you can focus on the moment when Uncle Rob fell off the fishing boat, or post the photo of the sunny morning while having breakfast. It’s the captioning of simple moments that makes for the most engaging posts.

Instagram is meant to be a fun social tool, and keeping the conversation going is part of the fun. Make sure your employees remember that “social” means interaction is vital, so try to keep your followers active by responding to comments and tagging other people on their posts.

Teaching the importance of  social media  to  dealership employees adds value to the workforce, increases the positive atmosphere in the workplace, and allows the company to connect to the community though their employees, because in the end, they are part of that community which your business is trying to capture.

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09 Nov Automotive News: Dealership ad agencies find creative ways into NFL advertising game

There’s plenty of NFL to go around.

While Hyundai’s big-ticket league sponsorship commands the biggest stage, dealers are creatively using the National Football League as a springboard for campaigns at the Tier 2 and Tier 3 levels — even if they don’t have massive ad budgets.

For example, ad agency Tier10, which devises campaigns for the Northern Ohio Honda Dealers Association, is tapping into the passionate fan base of the Cleveland Browns to push the Honda HR-V small crossover.

Tier10 released an HR-V ad in October pitching the crossover as the “perfect chariot” for game days. The spot, running on TV and online, follows a Browns fan who touts the features of the HR-V as he heads to FirstEnergy Stadium, the team’s home field.

The ad capitalizes on Cleveland’s football culture without Tier10 or the dealers having to pay the costly fees of a Browns sponsorship. The spot also appears on YouTube as a preroll ad for those in the Cleveland area who are searching for the Browns and other NFL video content.

“It’s really not about aligning ourselves with the NFL. It’s about aligning ourselves with the people in the market,” said Scott Fletcher, co-founder of Tier10.

Once fans get to the stadium to tailgate and watch the games, Tier10 makes sure Honda advertising tags along.

The agency uses Facebook’s hyperlocal targeting to place the ad on the newsfeeds of those who check in at the stadium. Tier10 uses this hyperlocal strategy on Facebook across all of its accounts for every NFL game.

There’s a conquesting component to this approach, too. While Ford has a sponsorship deal locked in with the Browns, Fletcher said, Honda can maneuver its way into the prime seats with its mobile efforts.

“We’ve got offers in the palm of their hands that are clickable to get to our mobile website,” Fletcher said. “And we’re doing that for $50 a game.”

The Automotive Advertising Agency — with a list of clients including Ford, Toyota, Lexus and Acura dealerships — posts on social media platforms in real-time during games and targets its TV ads by “cable zones” where its clients operate.

When the Houston Texans or Dallas Cowboys score a touchdown or make a great play, for example, the agency creates posts for its dealer clients that mention the highlight, said Marco Camacho, principal of The Automotive Advertising Agency, which is based in Austin, Texas, but has offices in Los Angeles and New York.andnbsp;

The agency has a trick for getting to viewers who catch up on a game they recorded on their DVRs, even if they’re zooming past the commercials.andnbsp;

Camacho says his agency places the logos of the dealer or dealer group and manufacturer along with a Web address on the upper third of the screen, choosing that spot because the bottom of the screen often is blocked during fast forwarding.andnbsp;

Camacho said his agency often incorporates football themes in its commercials. In one, the staff of a dealership goes to battle in a football game of their own. Camacho said the ads avoid using any NFL logos, but they often include cues that viewers can latch onto.andnbsp;

“You have to be creative,” Camacho said. “Depending on the market, you can incorporate similar colors, maybe some of the local sayings or things of that nature. The creativity part is also the fun part of it. What’ll happen is, when the consumer sees it, they’ll have that association already.”

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02 Nov Selling Cars Through Social Media

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There is no doubt the digital age has forever changed consumer behavior. The decision to make a purchase is preceded by time spent online reading product and company reviews, or asking friends and family about products via social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

In the world of automotive sales, understanding this type of behavior can help dealers if they take the more proactive approach. The key is to integrate the dealer’s website with display ads and social media engagement in order to maintain the same cohesive quality of content across all channels. In doing so, dealers can create a stronger customer loyalty base that can grow into a voice for brand advocacy.

Results from a recent study conducted by Twitter and Datalogix, were paired with comprehensive automotive data provided by Polk. Some of the intriguing findings include:

  • Households with Twitter users were 2x as likely to purchase a new car as the average U.S. Household.1
  • Households with Twitter users who engaged with promoted tweets from auto advertisers were 32% more likely to purchase a new vehicle than the average Twitter user.2
  • Auto brand Twitter followers were nearly 3x as likely to purchase a new car.3

But exactly how does using Twitter contribute to an increase in auto sales? This is where the website/social media/display ad integration comes into play. A separate survey revealed that 80 percent of Twitter users will mention a brand in their tweet.4 Another 54 percent said they pursued an action when a brand was mentioned, whether that meant visiting a brand’s website, searching for their Twitter profile, or even trying the brand for the first time.5

Traditional and digital media have their place in automotive advertising however, social media engagement extends beyond ads. A recent Google survey found that, on average, car buyers research 24 factors during the buying process, including search engines, OEM sites, and third party sites. The survey also concluded that more than half of auto shoppers watch 30 minutes or more of online videos, while 47% of auto shoppers heard about a car or truck from watching online videos. Finally, 65% were able to narrow down their search after watching a video.6

Think of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as virtual showrooms and car lots. When customers search for your dealership online, they want to get a feel for the kind of dealership they’re working with, including the people, the purchasing process, and the quality of available inventory. And above all, they want the process, from start to finish, to be seamless and easy.

If done correctly, creating continuity between an auto dealership’s website, social media sites, and digital ads builds a cohesive branding message for the consumer every step of their journey to the purchase decision.

1, 2, 3, Source: Twitter Blog, New Offline Sales Impact Offering: Measure Vehicle Sales From Promoted Tweets (2014)

4, 5 Source: CBT News, Why Everyone at Your Dealership Should Be Engaged with Social Media (2015)

6 Source: Google, Digital Drives Auto Shopping (2013)

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25 Jun Is your business responsive enough on Facebook?

If you are executing a successful social media marketing strategy at your auto dealership, then you definitely understand the importance of reputation management. Engaging with customers who would rather communicate via a tweet, private Facebook message, or Yelp post is an increasingly important aspect of the customer service experience. As you’ve probably discovered, responding to these customers in a timely fashion is a very effective tactic toward clearing up miscommunication or discovering that your business clearly did something wrong. Your reaction time could mean the difference between losing a valuable customer and strengthening their loyalty to your dealership. That’s something that Facebook is counting on, with their recent change to label businesses based on their level of responsiveness.

Recently, Facebook began drawing attention to this added feature, by prominently displaying results for Page administrators.

How quickly does your brand respond?

How quickly does your brand respond?

While it is certainly in your best interest to react quickly to social messages from consumers, each auto dealership needs to determine how much effort to put toward responding in less than 5 minutes to all replies. Below is the information from Facebook, taken directly from their Help section.

How does my Page get the very responsive to messages icon?

To get Very responsive to messages below your Page’s cover photo, your Page must have done both of the following over the last 7 days:

  • Responded to 90% of messages
  • Maintained a median response time of 5 minutes for all replies sent

When your Page has the icon, anyone can see that your Page is very responsive to messages.  When your Page isn’t yet very responsive to messages, only people who help manage your Page can see responsiveness info below the Page’s cover photo.

Note: Only Pages that have allowed people to contact the Page will have responsiveness info.

Facebook is clearly intent on continuous innovation, but a move like this is centered on one specific goal. Gamifying the response time for brand Pages is all a part of their big-picture strategy intended to draw additional attention to the platform. If Facebook can continually prove to brands how important and relevant their platform is, brands will have no choice but to stick with it and eventually spend more on sponsored posts.  If we could offer one bit of advice, it would be this.  Don’t rush your responses, especially in an effort to simply beat the 5 minute timeline that Facebook has set as the standard.  You’re having a one-on-one conversation with someone, so make it count!

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20 Apr Photoblog of the Digiday DBS in Palm Springs

We truly enjoyed our visit to Palm Springs for the Digiday Brand Summit.  As VIP guests at DBS, we’re able to visit with incredibly innovative companies within the digital world.  We made new friends, caught some great NBA playoff games and added to our arsenal of digital media opportunities.  Here are some photos from the event.

Vinoo Vijay, CMO of TD Bank.

Vinoo Vijay, CMO of TD Bank.

Marco Camacho and Jayson Keener.

Marco Camacho and Jayson Keener.

Marco explains our agency philosophy.

Marco explains our agency philosophy.

Beautiful golf courses in the area.

Beautiful golf courses in the area.

Curating our biggest challenges.

Curating our biggest challenges.

 

 

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