Why I Started Driving Brand You

Why I Started Driving Brand You

When people ask me this question, they are usually pretty surprised at the answer. Most think the reason why I started Driving Brand You was to help automotive sales professionals break out from under their dealerships social media strategy and into one of their own. A social media and brand building strategy that is 100% under their own control and that will follow them anywhere, regardless of which dealership they work for now or in the future

But that statement is more of the “what” Driving Brand You does for automotive salespeople, but not exactly the reason “why” I started this company.

To find the “why”, you’ll have to understand my background and the work I’ve been doing for over 35 years.

From my first job as a paperboy at 11 years old to my current “job” running two businesses, my career path has always had one main focus: customer service. Whether it’s working in retail or marketing or running a business, it all comes down to making sure the customer is as satisfied as possible with whatever product or service you are offering.

And, yes, my automotive sales clients are my direct customers. They are the ones I talk with and coach on a weekly basis and I enjoy every minute of it. But they aren’t the main reason why I started this company.

The main reason why I started Driving Brand You was to help change the automotive buying experience for car buyers.

Let’s face it, ever since cars were invented, buying them has been a pain in the ass. From driving to numerous dealerships, kicking tires and taking test drives to the more modern way of shopping for cars by researching and finding exactly what you want on the internet, in the end, you still have to deal with a salesperson to ultimately purchase your car.

Like breathing, it seems the mistrust and anxiety felt when having to deal with a car salesperson is ingrained into all of us from birth. It’s tough, because I’ve worked with so many great salespeople who truly care about their customers. But if there is no way for a customer to differentiate one salesperson from another at a dealership, they will walk into that dealership with all their mistrust and anxiety at 100%. Now you have to work extra hard to gain their trust before you can even start working on a deal.

With Driving Brand You, I hope to help as many great salespeople as I can build a highly reputable brand separate from their dealerships so customers can easily discover them online. Customers who are desperate to find a trustworthy and knowledgable salesperson to help with their next car purchase.

Now, when a customer walks into the dealership, they know exactly who they will be working with and their reputation. That mistrust and anxiety block will be gone and a deal will be easier to make. Then when it comes time for that customer to recommend that salesperson to a friend (whether in real life or online), that customer knows exactly where to point their friend to learn more about that salesperson.

In the end, if I make the car buying experience a much more enjoyable and less mysterious event for just one customer, I’ll know I’ve made a difference.


Ride The Hashtag Wave for Easier Community Engagement

Ride The Hashtag Wave for Easier Community Engagement

The Hashtag. For those of us over about 30 years of age, we grew up calling them pound signs. But over the past few years, hashtags have taken over the world.

Shortly after Twitter became a household name, users started using the hashtag (#) symbol before a word or phrase (with no spaces) to help group tweets together. Whether it’s an event, or a TV show, or a new iPhone model, hashtags make finding and joining conversations easier.

In the beginning, it was easy to start a trending hashtag. But now, with over 320 million active monthly users on Twitter and 800 million on Instagram, it’s almost impossible to create a trending hashtag without being a worldwide recognized brand.

So how can you use hashtags to join conversations and build your community? You simply ride the hashtag wave, dude. What I mean by that is, instead of creating a brand new hashtag of your own, which practically has no chance of getting any traction, you should join the conversation within an existing trending hashtag.

Say, for instance, you’re located in the northeast and a particular winter storm comes along. For the past few years, snow storms are named like hurricanes been have for decades. Usually that ends up being a trending hashtag (or topic) used by people who are talking about, and getting ready for, that particular snowstorm. The Weather Channel and the Twitter accounts of local news stations will also use the hashtag to keep followers up to date on things like snow fall amounts and school closings.

Does your dealership have any all-wheel drive vehicles in your inventory? If so, why not tweet or post an Instagram photo with something like “Our Subaru Impreza laughs at #Snowpocalypse with it’s Symmetrical All Wheel Drive system” or “With Audi Quattro, #Snowstorm #Juno doesn’t stand a chance”.

Twitter and Instagram users searching for those hashtags to stay informed about the storm or see pictures of the snow will also see your tweets and images with the same hashtag. The sky’s the limit as far as the trending hashtags you can use. Just keep it on topic and by no means turn your tweet or gram into an ad.

Hashtags are not limited to Twitter or Instagram, Facebook just recently hopped onto the hashtag bandwagon with usage swiftly gaining popularity.

Hashtags are here to stay and it’s very easy to take advantage of the power they can give your Twitter, Instagram or Facebook campaigns. Just remember to have fun, bring value or entertainment and never sell.


Social Media: You’re Probably Doing it Wrong (and How To Do It Right)

Social Media: You’re Probably Doing it Wrong (and How To Do It Right)

I’ve found teaching sales professionals on how to properly use social media is like trying to steer a massively large ship against a swiftly moving current. Fighting decades of secrecy and the push push push mindset to bring salespeople into the more transparent and community building world of social media can sometimes be a very frustrating task for both teacher and student.

Back in late 2009 when I started working at one of the largest automotive dealership groups in the northeast as a marketing manager, I was shocked that not one of the salespeople I worked with even had a Facebook page, let alone any type of a social strategy.

If the sales professionals at a dealership group this large was having this much difficulty understanding how to properly use this massive paradigm shift in customer engagement called social media, I knew there must be thousands of others with the same problem. That’s when I struck out on my own.

Since the invention of the telephone, nothing has changed the way we engage with customers like social media has. Now the amount of power customers have to communicate with you, with other customers and to voice their opinions (good or bad) is at an all time high. For far too many decades, the car buying experience has been clouded in secrecy, manipulation and outright lies. No longer can that be the case if you want to be successful.

To properly get the most out of social media means changing your mindset on how marketing now works going forward. You absolutely have to bring value with every piece of content you post. That value could be in the form of information, entertainment, awareness and, every now and then, an advertisement (one that actually brings real value and savings, not some manipulative lease deal just to get a customer in the door). It’s now all about give, give, give, give and then, take.

It’s also very important to really know who your target customer is and create and share content that would appeal to that demographic. Whether it’s car related or not.

Do you work at a Chevrolet dealership located around an area with a weekly cruise night? Head out for an hour to take some pictures of older Corvette’s or Camaro’s and post them on your Facebook and Instagram feeds. Did a local sports team win a championship? Post about that on Twitter. Shoot a quick video of how to setup and use the infotainment system in one of your new models and post it to YouTube and FaceBook.

Want to sneak an ad into content that also brings value? How about shooting a quick video on how to install an accessory, like say, a front lip spoiler. Post the video to YouTube, then share the video on Facebook and add a limited time coupon for that lip spoiler from your parts department.

There are unlimited ways you can get creative with your content and bring value to your customers. Twitter specifically is also a great area to listen to your customers and join conversations already happening with your brand(s). Twitter search is a massively powerful tool that should be used daily to increase conversation and awareness.

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or whatever new is on the horizon, learning and embracing the fundamentals of this new social media landscape of transparency, community and value will set you up for success in the years to come.


Curating Content Keeps Your Social Media Streams Fresh with Less Work

Curating Content Keeps Your Social Media Streams Fresh with Less Work

Trying to create your own content to fill all your social media streams to keep them fresh is a lot of hard work. There’s the recommended 5 posts a day on Twitter, 3 posts a day on Facebook, 3 posts a day on Instagram…well, you get the idea.

The good news is all that content doesn’t necessarily need to be yours to keep your streams fresh every day.

Curated content can be anything from tweets, Facebook posts, blog posts, etc that are created by other people (or companies) that you think would be beneficial for your audience to see as well.

Let’s say, for example, you’re an automotive sales professional at an Audi dealership and you follow Audi’s Facebook account (as you should). You see on your stream that Audi posted a pretty cool video walk-thru of the new Audi TT’s digital dashboard. Wouldn’t your followers like to see that as well?

You can then use Audi’s post as part of your recommended “3 Facebook posts per day”. Just simply share the post with your Facebook followers.

It’s the same if you find something fascinating on your Twitter stream. Simply re-tweet that post or to invite more engagement, you can Quote Tweet to add your own comments.

Instead of reposting or re-tweeting content at the spur-of-the-moment when you come across the content on your streams, it’s much easier to plan your curated content throughout your day and week with services like Buffer and CoSchedule.

With their integrated mobile apps and browser extensions, you are only a couple of taps away from adding curated content to a queue for later automatic posting to your accounts.

Twitter is usually the first thing I check in the morning and it’s very easy to simply tap on the Buffer extension within my Twitter app and add a piece of content to my queue. I will toss a dozen pieces of content into my queue in about 20 minutes and that will give me about 2-3 days worth of curated content.

What’s even better is you can setup Buffer to repost the content in your queue at specific times during that day when you know your followers are most likely watching.

It’s the same with their Safari and Chrome extensions. If I come across a great blog post on the web, I simply tap the extension and add it to my queue.

Your very own content based on your own ideas and experience is the best content you can post and it’s the main reason your followers follow you. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only information that would be beneficial for your followers.

Curated content can bring more value to your followers if done correctly. It can also build lasting relationships with your fellow content creators as well which, in turn, may spur them to start reposting your content in kind.


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