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Tag Archive: Social Media

Chelsea Magee

How to increase your social presence

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Did you know that Social advertising outperforms all traditional media? It also exceeds nearly every digital ad format on both a Cost-Per-Click (CPC) and Cost-Per-Thousand Impressions (CPM) of the ad … when targeted, optimized and tracked! You’re probably thinking, “Great! So how do I get started?”

To get your actual consumers or prospective consumers to follow you, you need to give them a good reason. Below are some quick tips that you can utilize on any social platform.

  1. Accept the importance of social media. You need to realize that social media is here, and it’s not going anywhere. If you resist the change, you are sure to fall behind. So what’s the good news? A little bit of effort goes a long way!
  2.  Be visual! Pictures drive engagement, regardless of the platform! Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without related images. Utilize images that will immediately intrigue, delight and connect with your audience. (And no, I don’t mean just pictures of your inventory!)You might want to think about it this way: Images are bold, beautiful and simple to scan. Visuals are especially important in our quick-paced society. People love to see themselves online, and pictures draw them in, so consider posting photos of happy customers (with their permission). Do you have an animal mascot at the dealership? Involve them! Pets and animals seem to get a lot of “likes.” 
  3. Engagement is essential. Keep your customers engaged with games and giveaways.

        Think about your target audience. What do they want? What are their hobbies and                     lifestyles?  In Lexington, I might offer tickets to a University of Kentucky basketball game.           What would appeal to your clientele? 

        You also need to think about how much effort from your consumer are you asking; match         the giveaway with your ask. If you give too little, you won’t get a lot of motivation, and               you won’t gain followers or increase engagement. You might get a ton of followers when           you offer a grand giveaway, but you also run the risk of consumers not trusting you. Our           industry already has an issue with distrust, so don’t prove consumers’ worst fears right!

       A quick note about giveaways in social media: Most channels have pretty strict rules                  about contests and giveaways, so be sure to check terms and conditions. These rules                  change frequently, so review them before any contest, just to be safe.

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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/03/how-to-increase-your-social-presence/

Laura Madison

Salespeople Social Selling Under the Dealership’s Umbrella

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Social selling is sweeping the automotive industry. A quick search for the terms ‘social selling’ will bring a bounty of articles, training offerings, and tips for salespeople leveraging social media to win business. All this social media mania is leaving dealerships wondering how to empower and control their employees who want to participate in this social realm.

The best strategy for this social movement is NOT to ignore the power of individual presences on social media or to prohibit salespeople to use social to promote themselves altogether; the best solution, for both dealerships and salespeople, is to create a social media presence where salespeople can participate under the umbrella of the dealership. This allows dealerships to benefit from any brand equity created by salespeople but also contributes to a larger, more cohesive marketing effort. It’s both empowering and controlled.

Uploading Under the Umbrella

Executing on this strategy is relatively simple. For example, a dealership can encourage salespeople to upload personalized videos to the dealership’s YouTube page. Simple videos filmed by salespeople with a smartphone highlighting the best features of a top-selling vehicle or the changes to a recent redesign, can provide great visibility for both the salesperson and the dealership. This upload can be facilitated very simply by a marketing director or whoever is presently running the dealership’s social media sites.

Salespeople can also participate on the dealership’s Facebook page in a number of ways. An effective social media presence highlights the humans behind a brand, so featuring photos of salespeople and tagging them in these photos can be a powerful way to add a human component to a dealership presence and also become more visible to these salespeople’s connections. Another way salespeople could contribute on Facebook is by providing content to post to the dealership Facebook page, like interesting product or customer photos.  Mining salespeople for Facebook updates could add incredible variety to posts and allow a dealership to show the faces behind the business.

There are a few big benefits of executing on this umbrella strategy:

  •  Increased visibility. Leveraging salespeople to create content, including automotive related photos or short videos, can boost activity on social channels and exponentially increase a dealership’s online reach. The more active a dealership can remain on social media the more prospective customers they’ll reach over time.
  •  A human component.  The key to an effective social media presence is creating human connection. Consumers want to know the people, and the story, behind a brand. Incorporating content from salespeople and featuring them in posts adds a dynamic and human component to a dealership’s social channels.
  •  Improved search engine optimization. Increasing videos, posts, and activity on certain platforms can catapult the organic search engine optimization of a dealership’s channels. For example, salespeople uploading content to YouTube will boost the likelihood of those videos appearing on the first page results of a Google search.

This umbrella approach on social media will result in a less fractured, more cohesive online presence for dealerships and dealership employees. Creating an environment where salespeople can contribute to the dealership’s social presence provides a fierce and powerful online visibility advantage in today’s competitive automotive space.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/11/8049/

Laura Madison

Using Social Media to Eliminate the Car Salesman Stereotype

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Let’s face it; the public’s perception of a car salesperson is not pretty. Salespeople are regarded as sleazy, quick-talking, plaid-loving “professionals.” The negative stereotype was formed in a time when salespeople held all the cards—a time when information regarding pricing, the car-buying process, and the product was largely unavailable to consumers. Today, the consumer has the ability to research all aspects of car shopping and the industry is becoming increasingly transparent. The behavior that earned automotive salespeople this reputation has almost vanished, but this negative perception still plagues the automotive industry.

So let’s transform it.

Many dealerships today are staffed by millennials, veterans, automotive enthusiasts and people who are genuinely as interested in helping their buyer make a good decision as they are in making a paycheck. Car salespeople today are genuine, likable people. Our best way to communicate this to the public is by using social media to introduce the real people of our business. We can do this by allowing salespeople to contribute to dealership social media channels. Allowing salespeople to participate in the online movement is both empowering and innovative. You can encourage salespeople to do simple things that show they are helpful, caring resources rather than hungry, front-door vultures. For example, a salesperson could film a quick video off a smartphone of new features on a redesigned model or write up a quick social post that includes tips for the best test drive.

If salespeople can begin to brand themselves, provide guidance and context, and show that they are caring people, they have the opportunity to build themselves apart from the shadow of this terrible stereotype.

Beyond the Salesperson

Social media is a portal that allows us to revise negative perceptions even beyond those of salespeople’s. Customers are all online gathering information and doing research before they ever walk into a showroom; why can’t dealerships begin to be the ones to provide this valuable information to their local car buyers?

Dealerships could use Facebook pages to provide answers to frequently asked questions or highlight product comparisons, instead of using them (often unsuccessfully) as an advertising platform. Providing value and sharing information about the product allows people to make real connections to the dealership and the cool things they sell.

These are only a few examples of how dealers can use social media to make people more comfortable walking into the showroom. Social platforms provide an incredible avenue of communication that could transform the way the public perceives the automotive industry. The tools and the audience are online; it’s just a matter if the automotive world is finally going to make a move and take action.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/09/using-social-media-to-eliminate-the-car-salesman-stereotype/

Laura Madison

Humanize Your Online Presence

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The use of social media is becoming mandatory for dealerships. Prospective clients are looking for local dealers’ Facebook pages; they’re searching YouTube for product comparisons and even asking friends across social platforms for recommendations. The problem in the automotive world is: the vast majority of dealerships and individual salespeople are using social incorrectly. Simply being active on a platform does not mean that platform is being effectively used. The key to an effective social media presence is creating human connection.

To illustrate the importance of human connection, have a look at how people in Japan buy and sell cars. Japanese salespeople go door-to-door trying to sell vehicles, rather than waiting at the dealership for the next ‘up’.  Once they find a prospective buyer, face-to-face meetings continue in their home with few Japanese car buyers ever even setting foot in a showroom. Paperwork is drawn up and signed in clients’ living rooms. When the sale is complete, a relationship has been formed that will last far beyond the delivery of the new vehicle; salespeople maintain constant contact with sold clients by calling, writing handwritten cards, even taking their clients to dinner.

What this demonstrates, I believe, and what the Japanese have remembered and we have forgotten is that commerce has always been personal. It has always been about people doing business with other people. This is where we have run into trouble in the digital world. We spend so much money on well-organized websites and so much time attempting to sell using social media but what we’re missing is connection. We’re missing the most critical element of relationships.

Consider for a moment what keeps a customer loyal, it’s not an oil change punch card or a fancy website; it’s relationship. It’s human-to-human connection.

Real connection is key to winning business.

There is some science behind the power of human connection in persuasion. Humans are born with a special part of the brain whose sole purpose is to recognize faces.  It is called the fusiform area and is located near the brain’s emotional center. The fusiform area makes us hard wired to use the human face as a centralized point for information and believability. So, in the case of faces: seeing is believing. In other words, an image of a salesperson’s face posted on social media is infinitely more powerful than a stock image of a new truck.

Fewer people are setting foot in dealership showrooms in 2015 than ever before, which provides a bit of a disadvantage in trying to create relationships. Social media, however, can fill this void by giving us a way to still create human-to-human connection with potential clients who already do all their research and shopping online.

Use this information to begin to dominate with a social media presence. Before your next social media post, consider human connection. Instead of touting an upcoming sale or a low, incentivized lease payment, introduce your followers to one of your salespeople. Keep personal relationships and human connection in mind with your dealership’s social presence—and always remember the power of the face.


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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/06/humanize-your-online-presence/

Laura Madison

4 Reasons Why Video is Your Fiercest Weapon

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Today, we can find social media participation in nearly every corner of the automotive industry; dealerships are active on Facebook, automakers are sharing images on Instagram, even salespeople have joined the movement tweeting and posting trying to win more business. It seems to be clear: social is not optional. However, even with all this progression in the social realm, the automotive industry is still missing one key component in social presence: video. Video has the most incredible opportunity for visibility, creating connection and building trust, but it remains the least utilized medium by our industry.

Think about yourself for a moment. How many videos have you watched this week alone? Chances are, at least a couple. Have you seen the video of the Nascar driver dressing in disguise and scaring the used car salesman on a test drive? Video is a powerful medium that people simply enjoy engaging with and sharing. For these reasons, video has the potential to become your fiercest marketing weapon, creating visibility and leads for your dealership. To be successful on social you must work video into your master (marketing) plan.

So why is video your fiercest weapon?

1) Our customers prefer it. IT’S EXCITING!! It’s visually stimulating and interesting. Video is engaging and easy to tune into. Our brain also processes video far better than audio alone or simple text. People remember 50% of what they watch compared to only 10% of what they read.

2) Video gives you the opportunity to communicate your message clearly. The visual element of video allows you to communicate non-verbally with things like facial expressions and tone. It was Tom Hopkins who said, “selling is the transfer of enthusiasm supported by conviction.” Video is the perfect medium to transfer enthusiasm with so many verbal and non-verbal elements at work: tone, body language, facial expression, and volume. Combine this clear and effective communication with how much people like to consume video, and you have pure marketing gold.

3) The Internet’s heavy players recognize the importance of video and favor it as a type of content. YouTube has Google behind it, making it an extremely strong tool for organic search engine optimization. This will aid in appearing towards the top of any relevant automotive keyword search in your area. Another heavy player in the social world, Facebook, favors video over other types of posts meaning a video uploaded straight into Facebook will be more visible to your audience than a simple text or picture post. More visibility allows you to make more impressions and connections on this social giant.

4) Video is your fiercest weapon also because video is do-able. It’s more do-able than you think. We don’t need fancy or expensive production with commercial quality. We need to create genuine connection and that can absolutely be accomplished quite simply using the camera on your smartphone. There’s a simple app called the YouTube Capture app that will allow you to film video, move clips around, edit out the beginning where you set the camera on the dash and the end where you hit the button to stop recording, and upload it straight to YouTube with a title, keywords, and a description. If you can use e-mail, you’ll be able to use this free app to create simple videos. Apps like this and simple tools like a smartphone make video absolutely do-able.

So, in review: consumers love watching videos, video allows you to communicate a message clearly, there are huge visibility advantages to video, and creating a video even off a cellphone is simple and do-able. You can use simple video to connect, differentiate your dealership, build relationships with clients, and win more business. Video is your fiercest weapon. Now get started.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/06/4-reasons-why-video-is-your-fiercest-weapon/

Jeremy Anwyl

What Drives Great Success?

surefire-pathway-to-increased-profitsI have been doing lots of flying recently. The travelling is rarely fun, but the meetings I have been having with dealers usually are. You’d think that dealers would be pretty happy these days, and that generally is the case. Sales are looking good and the dealer count is down — seems a surefire pathway to increased profits.

Despite this, there are some conversations that take a different turn. Sometimes, a dealer is focused on increased regulation, competitive discounting, bullying from manufacturers, (think stair-steps and facility mandates), employee turnover — the list can be lengthy. Meeting with these dealers can leave me drained. But then I run across a dealer who is completely different. These meetings can run all day, but feel like they lasted an hour. The dealers tend to be optimistic and thoughtful. Most interestingly, these dealers have what I call an “itch.”

They acknowledge the competitive pressures all dealers face. Despite all these, they are successful, but still not satisfied. Their “itch” drives them to try new things, push different boundaries; not in the simple pursuit of profit, but to find a way of doing business that is dramatically better.

I have been thinking along these lines for the better part of my career as well—so we have lots to talk about. What anchors these talks is the opportunity articulated in my last post where I noted there are a few dealers around the country whose performance is head and shoulders above what we would normally consider successful. These stores draw from very larger geographic areas. They are stable. And perhaps the biggest twist is that their gross profits are higher than average. (Proving that really high volume doesn’t have to mean low—or no—profit.)

Very simply, the opportunity is for more “typical” stores to achieve this heightened level of success. And with the opportunity being so huge, the wonder is that every dealer is not working to achieve it — especially when we realize that what these stores are doing is actually not that hard to figure out.

It is really only three things:

First, the dealers have identified the things that a large number of consumers really, really value when buying a vehicle. We covered some of these in my first post; things like efficiency and respect for their time. A feeling of confidence that the dealership’s pricing is fair. A dealership point of contact who has the customer’s “back.” (Someone the customer feels they can trust.)

Second, the dealers have developed processes that consistently deliver on these features. Consistency is the key; meaning that these experiences are delivered every day, to every customer.

Thirdly, the dealership efficiently communicates to the marketplace to build demand and expectations around the aforementioned experience.

A big part of what I am describing is really the building of a brand — at least in the way I think about brands. Valuable brands are built from a set of expectations, or promises about a product. They are also trusted or credible, meaning there is little doubt the expectation will be met. While brands can be influenced through advertising, by far the best way to build a brand is through word of mouth.

These three steps to success are easy enough for me to write about, but I have to also acknowledge they are devilishly tricky to implement. They start out easily enough — understanding what consumers value is no mystery. (Dealers can simply ask their customers, or look at the decades of research in this area.) And it is not that hard to design an experience that responds to these needs. It is the consistency part where things start to get tricky. Sticking to a process is not something most dealerships are good at. Salespeople like to do business in their own way. Turnover also undermines consistency. Perhaps the biggest obstacle is the pressure to hit a number that encourages managers to stretch for a deal that really should have been passed on.

Think about that one for a minute — passing on a deal is really, really hard. But sometimes it is the right thing to do; first, because of the need to deliver the same experience to every customer, with no exceptions. Second, if the dealership did its homework when designing their consumer experience, it will be highly valued by many consumers, but probably not work for some others. You’ve heard the expression “You can’t be all things to all people.” As it relates to branding, you shouldn’t even try. For example, let’s say you have designed a sales experience around fair prices and an expedited sales process. This might be valued by 80% of the market, but the 15%-20% of the market who obsess only about the “deal” will not be impressed. Instead of undermining your credibility with the 80%, why not leave the deal-obsessed to your competition?

Today’s super-successful stores developed their versions of this road map long ago and have followed them for years. When the market was tough, it was not viewed as cause to change. The big payoff for this commitment would have been an ever increasing rate of referral business. Prospects became customers, who shared the experience with their friends, who in turn became prospects then customers and the cycle continued. Referrals are the underpinning of a profitable store and the only real way to build a business, but they build out over decades.

Who has that kind of patience?

This is probably the single biggest barrier that blocks dealers who want to see dramatic performance gains: The cycle time. The stores I have been referring to that are already at this level have been at it for decades and they have achieved referral levels that can exceed 80%. (Think about that for a moment. It is a huge number.)

But before you dismiss super levels of success as practically unobtainable, let me offer up a ray of hope…

I just covered an example of how referrals used to play out; one customer sharing with one or two friends where perhaps one of those friends would remember and visit the store at some point in the future. Until just recently, this was the norm. We all had fairly well defined peer groups. Today the Internet — especially social media — has blown those traditional boundaries apart. Communications are no longer one-to-one, but one-to-many. This raises the possibility that the cycle time that dealers had to endure in the past can today be radically shorter.

This could be a big deal — and we will look into it more in my next post.

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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2013/07/what-drives-great-success/