April 1, 2020
Leverage Social Relationships During Social Distancing
Six Degrees of Separation, the basic principle that all living things are connected within six or fewer steps of one another. This principle came to light in 1929, during a time period where cell phones and the Internet, especially social networking, were non-existent!
Fast forward to 2020. The average degree of separation of the 1.62 million active daily users on Facebook is 3 ½, according to the popular social networking company. We are connected within fewer than 3 ½ steps from anyone on Facebook. The trusty mutual friends feature makes it even easier for us to connect.
Reports of declines in profit and sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic are everywhere and it’s important to use the most cost-effective and efficient resources at your disposal during this time. Start with social media! Apps like Facebook and Instagram saw a 40% increase in 18-34 year olds between March 14th and 24th. Your consumers are on social media; is your staff? Even more important, are YOU?!
Hootsuite ® experts agree that “social selling allows your staff to find, connect with, understand, and nurture potential customers.” The ultimate objective of social selling is to keep you and your brand top of mind, so you’re the first point of contact when it’s time to buy or service a vehicle.
Let us help you utilize this time of social distancing to build strong social relationships and hone the skills of social selling, the process of developing relationships as part of the sales process.
Do Your Homework
Every good relationship starts with understanding. Karrie Shepard of Western Slope Automotive Group in Grand Junction, Colorado takes the time to understand her prospective customers while building relationships. Social sites give us access to vital information about each other. People are quick to open up online. We are able to recognize who it makes sense to connect with and uncover valuable information about them, from their job to their alma mater to their reading habits.
Once you identify people you want to have in your social network, begin to engage with them. Find common ground and use it as an opportunity to initiate dialogue and establish a connection. Scott Allen of Allen Hyundai in Gulfport, Mississippi gets that making friends is easy when you’re authentic. He finds common ground allowing for authentic conversation starters. You’ll be in a better position to create a tailored and authentic “pitch” with a relationship already in play.
Nurture Your Relationships
Deepen your relationship and most importantly your credibility. People want to invest in, work for and partner with professionals they know and trust. Kevin Pitts of BMW of Reading in Reading, Pennsylvania gets it! He forges relationships. He doesn’t seek transactions. Nurturing relationships takes time and calls for authenticity at all times.
Asking questions, listening and staying involved are all best practices when it comes to staying relevant on social media. The utilization and connection of real time events will help boost your post rankings on Facebook. It will also let your customers know that you are connected and are aware of ever-changing social situations. Skip McCracken of Boulevard Ford Lincoln of Georgetown in Georgetown, Delaware understands this is #essential.
“Social media is definitely a key to increasing and driving business,” states Chris Sawyer of Portsmouth Ford in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Social selling should always utilize personal social media accounts. It is about leveraging the connections and relationships you already have, not always about starting new ones from scratch if your following is already strong.
Remember to do your homework, be authentic, nurture relationships, and stay relevant in order to leverage social relationships during social distancing.
March 24, 2020
Should I Pause My Ad Budget During the COVID-19 Crisis?
Short Answer: No
During times of crisis and uncertainty, it is natural to question your advertising budgets. We are plagued by questions that start with “what if” and “did you hear.” Even as KPIs take turns and priorities change, iFrog takes a stance of thoughtful proactivity rather than fearful reactivity.
Early insights suggest traditional ad spend will temporarily slow, but digital advertising should remain strong. Audiences will grow as consumers are directed to stay home by local governments. Consumers are turning to news and streaming programming at a rapid rate.
Online shopping is still a thing! You need to be there to capture the audience during crucial micro-moments. Your competitors are certainly jumping at the opportunity to attract new business. Automotive dealerships are receiving unprecedented assistance from the OEMs. The majority are offering payment relief to buyers and extending finance terms to 84 months at 0% APR.
De’Montray Slacum, iFrog Director of Marketing, believes the OEMs strategy is two-fold. “They are placing consumers in the market that were not in the market before the crisis started in the US and they are showing current and future customers that they are here for them no matter what.”
Online consumer behavior will never go away although patterns may change. Consumers are online and researching. That much is certain. Whether research is specific to COVID-19 or ‘near me’ searches for non-perishable goods; consumers are still online.
Ask yourself the following questions to help you assess your ad budget:
Answering these questions will help guide you through the crisis and steer you towards the right decision about decreasing or pausing paid media budgets.
The brands consumers pick after a period of restraint will be the ones that have done the most to stay top of mind. This concept is familiar. Brand awareness is one of the most valuable forms of advertising during this period. Facebook awareness campaigns and online video pre-roll are great examples.
Markets recover and the economic downturn presents real opportunities for rapid recovery and growth. When Americans are back on their feet and living life as they did three weeks ago, spending will increase and it’s often faster than brands are prepared for.
Will you be ready? We want to help!
March 19, 2020
Born in a Dealership, iFrog Digital Marketing knows the struggles you are facing right now. We face them too. The Preston Automotive Group, our parent company, operates 14 retail stores in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.
In the weeks leading into the COVID-19 crisis, the group had a per-day average of $58,000 in labor sales. On March 16, 2020, it posted labor sales of $73,000. While these numbers will fluctuate, up and down, during this crisis, we want to share our successes and failures with you to help you navigate this environment.
In this segment, Mike Bullis, Service Director for the Preston Automotive Group, describes his approach to managing the group’s service needs in this changing environment.
(1) Manage each day like it is the last day of the month.
Adopt a day-to-day management strategy. Drill down and really focus on the challenges of the day, and expect each day to be different from the next. Address all challenges immediately. Don’t think in terms of monthly cycles. Don’t put off a problem until the end of the week. Treat each day as if it were the last day of the month. Do whatever you can to maximize results that day. Here are some ideas:
(2) Make the service lane a safe zone.
The biggest challenge in service during this crisis is making customers feel safe coming into the store. Here are some ideas to make your customers feel safe:
(3) Don’t think outside of the box. Forget the box altogether.
Traditional sales messaging for service will likely not resonate. Buy three tires and get one free is not a message that will work at this moment in time. Here are some ideas that might:
iFrog will publish regular updates on what the Preston Automotive Group is doing to operate in this challenging environment. We will tell you both what works and what doesn’t.