Social media management has changed the world…
It’s an essential tool to reach your prospects…
But how can you leverage it in the most powerful way?
In this episode, Robin Wilson, co-founder of SCP Agency and EPIC BDC, shares her expertise on social media management.
Robin, who focuses on the automotive industry, pushes the creative and innovative limits to bring her partners cutting edge social media presence and world class business development.
- The relationship between social media & digital marketing
- Social media narrative-building in the auto industry
- How to build traction on social media
- The right budget to kickstart a social media page
- A strategy for organic posts
- The benefits of working with a social media agency
- And more
Mentioned in this episode:
Voiceover: This is Performance Delivered, Insider Secrets for Digital Marketing Success with Steffen Horst and Dave Antil.
Steffen Horst: Welcome to the Performance Delivered Insider Secrets for Digital Marketing Success podcast, where we talk with marketing and agency executives and learn how they build successful businesses and their personal brand. I’m your host, Steffen Horst. The topic for today’s episode is social media management and how it has changed the world. Here to speak with me as Robin Wilson, who is the co-founder of SCP Agency and EPIC BDC. Robin has a passion for the automotive industry and affiliated businesses such as RV, cycle and passports. She pushes the creative and innovative limits to bring her dealer partners cutting edge social media presence, and world class business development centers. Robin, welcome to the show.
Robin Wilson: Thank you. I appreciate it so much, Steffen.
Steffen: Now, Robin, before we started to talk about today’s topic, I’d love to find out more about you. Tell our listeners a little bit about how you got started in your career, and what led you to founding your own agency.
Robin: Sure. So this is audio so you can’t really tell. But I am a 58-year-old woman. And I was a mortgage lender for a long period of time and my career got caught up in the mortgage meltdown. I wasn’t expecting to have to redefine my career in my late 40s. And but I found myself there. And in Christmas of 2012, my husband and I had decided as we had watched small business owners bring back the US economy, we had decided that we were only going to shop small local that year for Christmas. No big box, no Amazon, none of that. We were just going to shop small local. And that turned out to be one of the most challenging Christmas shopping experiences of my life.
And there was no online presence for these small businesses. They had no websites. You really just had to turn the doorknob open the door and see what was inside in your community. After we got to the end of that Christmas shopping season, I got together with a couple of friends of mine. And we just discussed I said, you know we’ve got to do something, they’re helping to turn the US economy around, how can we help them have some sort of online presence. And at the time, I didn’t build websites, so I didn’t have that solution for them.
But we had been running social media for our local church at the time for our youth groups and all the other entities within a church that go on on a daily basis. And I’m like, what if we could apply this to small business and we could start them their Facebook page. A lot of them were still using their Facebook profile as a business, and were getting shut down by Facebook because they weren’t using it properly. So we kind of plotted out our world domination, we were going to take over all the small business owners social media and, and just really rule the world.
And we literally got our first client within like the first six weeks of us hatching this plan and it was a small little boutique. And then we just kind of grew from there to a shoe store and a dentist office and a carpet cleaner and an insurance agency. There was just all these other small businesses that really needed an online presence too. And word really spread because at the time, although there were companies who were handling social media for big companies like Nabisco, Oreo, Coca Cola, any of those, there was really nobody that was really targeted in on small businesses.
Then in 2014, I got a call from a local dealership that wanted us to handle their social media also. Part of the stipulations in the negotiations that we had back and forth at that time was well you don’t know anything about automotive, you may know everything about social and I need you to work at the dealership. And we haggled back and forth for a bit before we finally came to the conclusion that I was going to set up my office at the dealership, I would still be allowed to run my company at the same time, but I had to learn automotive from the inside out.
And it was, I always say it’s like one of the best MBA programs I could have had. Because until you’ve actually worked inside of a dealership with the, they call it fixed ops. Fixed ops is the service and parts departments. With the fixed ops department and the sales department and the detail and the recon, so until you know all of those workings inside you don’t know how to help them. And once I got to be inside, work in the dealership, I understood what he meant.
And then I got to put my skills together. How could I help with social media marketing? How could I work with email marketing? How could we do videos to help the consumers know what was going on? And so that’s kind of got me into the automotive fray and social media. And I was an unlikely person. Women in the automotive industry or not many, and older women and social media or not many. So I’m kind of this unicorn out here in the world right now.
Steffen: Now, today I want to talk about social media management and how it has changed the world. When we spoke earlier you voiced your opinion that social media is the stepbrother of digital.
Steffen: Why is that?
Robin: Well, and this is my opinion. So a lot of agencies out there that work think everything that happens online, should be considered digital. But if you’re me, and you know that social media marketing, meaning Facebook ads, Instagram ads, anything that happens on social, they change. About every 90 days, the rules change, the game’s changed the offerings change how you can present an ad are different. And then to me digital is search, right?
So it’s Google AdWords, it’s display ads, it’s a whole other beast. And whenever I decided to open my agency, I knew my bandwidth, right? Like, I know that I can understand social inside and out. Google is a whole different machine. And I knew that with as much changes that happened in social, I did not have the bandwidth to be able to learn the digital side of it. What in my mind is digital is search display. Anything Google AdWords, any of that stuff to me is digital.
And I know that they work hand in hand. And there’s a lot of times when the whole goal is to drive traffic to a place. Generally, in my opinion, on digital, your goal is always to drive them either to a landing page or to a website somewhere. And in social, we’re trying to keep them on social and get that lead generating on the same platform that they started out on.
Steffen: Interesting. Now, you as a company, obviously, you’re focusing, as you mentioned, on social media. Do you see that that plays a bigger role for the automotive industry as it relates to generating leads or customers or staying in touch with existing clients, over digital?
Robin: I do. And I’ll tell you why. So if you think about it, especially automotive, right, oh, my gosh, like the stereotypical parody of a car salesperson, right is this polyester suit wearing and cigarette smoking guy out back just waiting to steal your money out of your pocket. And sell you a lemon that’s going to be smoking all the way down the road, right. And that has like gone from generation to generation, everybody has that same parity in their mind of this cartoon character of a car salesperson.
And the truth is that everybody, just about everybody needs transportation. And most car guys that I know car, people that I know, car gals too, just really want to be a trusted adviser in helping you solve your transportation needs. Now that takes storytelling because it needs, you need to change the narrative that I think we were born with. It’s like, it’s almost an ism, right? It’s one of those things that we were just born knowing. We don’t know where we knew it, but we need to be afraid of those guys.
So with automotive, social media is the best, to me, is the best outlet to tell the story of who we are and why we do what we do. And so that’s what we offer our clients is we’re the storytellers behind who they are and what they do. I go back to the very first time I bought a car all by myself. Without my husband, without my dad, without anybody. I walked into a dealership and purchased, it was actually a truck. But when I pulled in there, I’ll tell you how vulnerable I felt. I didn’t know if the person who was going to be helping me had been working there for one day, or 20 years.
I didn’t know if he knew anything about this GMC pickup that I wanted to buy. I didn’t know if when he left where he was negotiating with me and went up to that little tower where they were standing where they were just, you know, plotting against me. What was the thing? Like I didn’t know any of that thing. I was not confident in the person that I was dealing with, and that I, and even if I walked away with the payment I wanted, the vehicle I wanted, the downpayment I wanted, my trade-in value, I still wasn’t sure if I got a good deal because there was no trust built. Now this was prior to social media.
So now the voice that we give to the dealerships now is to tell who you are what you’re about. If you’re involved in a local charity, I want to see it. I want to see it on social media that you and I align. I want to know even if it’s through seeing your people on your Facebook page, who works there, how they help people what they do, like they’re coaching their kids Little League on the weekends, I want to see all of that stuff if they have a dog, I want to know that.
I want to find some alliances between the salespeople and their tribe of people that they want to sell vehicles to. If this is a tattooed-up salesperson and he like just has tattoos everywhere. I want to see his tattoos because his tribe of people all of these other people who buy cars that have tattoos will now also align with him in some way, shape or form. And so we’re forming these bonds online now. I mean, think about online dating. It’s the same thing. But now we’re dating car salespeople in dealerships. So if we can get the story and take some of those roadblocks out of the way, before the customer ever gets to the dealership, they feel like they have an alliance already when they get there.
Steffen: It’s interesting, you’re basically humanizing the salesperson, right. You take that, that scary image that people have in their mind away, and bring it down to it’s just a person like you, you and I.
Steffen: And you’re telling the story behind it. Now telling stories, building a picture, that quite often has a lot to do with organic social. Is that what you focus on or do you also help dealerships navigate the paid social side?
Robin: Yeah, so we do both. We started with organic social, and then we gravitated towards lead gen as that became more and more prevalent. And then as they’ve changed the different types of lead gen, and we have grown and adapted with that, a lot of, let’s see a lot of dealerships that we deal with. And I don’t want to put this in a negative connotation. But if we’re looking at a Facebook buyer, someone who’s actually going to take what we would call a hook or the bait, on social media for an ad, you’re going to, you’re the person who’s going to stop scrolling for an ad, right.
So everything about it really has less to do with demographics. And it has to do with the message and the imagery. What will stop your thumb scroll, and then will the message make you click the button. And so depending on what type of buyer we want to attract, like we want to attract a subprime buyer. Because we’re really good, we have great lenders that will that work really well with people with credit scores in a, you know, a low 500. Then the bait is going to be different, or the hook is going to be different than if we’re looking at a buyer who is really interest rate driven, they’re looking for that 0%, or that 1.9% interest.
Those hooks are different. And we don’t even have to fine-tune the audience. Because the message actually sorts itself. So a person with a 520 credit score is not going to click on a lease payment ad. The message is not designed for them. And so we found that although you can do some targeting on Facebook whenever it falls within the special category of credit, because we’re limited there. Mostly we had, we had to learn to not have to worry so much about targeting. As far as picking our audience as much as we had to design the message more.
Steffen: Can organic, so we’re talking about organic and paid obviously, can organic have the same effect, or help paid social perform better? So is there kind of a halo effect, when you do things in parallel?
Robin: Absolutely. And I’ll tell you that I don’t know that, you know, a number of years ago, I would have, I would have believed that, you know, an ad is an ad and it’s going to get whatever. But if you have a social media presence, that’s what I call a live, it’s not a dead page. Your community is engaging with you on a regular basis, then your ads perform better. And I learned this the hard way, because we took over a social media page for a dealership down in Austin, Texas, who had 12,000 likes on his page.
But whoever had been doing his social before us had bought most of those likes, and they were dead likes. They were clickbait from India. Someone had just literally just clicked and built up their likes, they were of no value whatsoever. Their engagement on their page was so small, that Facebook was literally penalizing them for having this many followers and so little engagement.
So whenever you have a page that is active and vibrant and alive, then your ads work better, because Facebook pushes that out further. This is a page that people are interested in, they’re interested in their organic content. And so they push out their ads even further. So it does work best if you can do that in tandem. Trying to drop ads on a dead page sometimes is twice the work and the leads cost twice as much.
Steffen: So with that being said, you first have to sort out your organic side in order to make the paid social side hum. Is that, is that about right?
Robin: It’s true. And so a lot of the things that we do are very strategic. For example, on every Monday, we may drop a Facebook contest on one of our dealerships for a free oil change, right? So do this, this and this comment, like, share, do whatever the things are that we want them to do to feed the Facebook machine on Monday. Every Monday with consistency. And every, the next following Monday, every Monday we pick a winner of a free will change. And we do that because we’re priming the pump, right.
We want to get these people coming back once a week to this page to enter the contest to win a free oil change or whatever it is that we’re giving away for that business. And but then also on the organic side during the week will also drop what we call engaging posts. Now they will, they may have nothing to do with automotive. Like, I may drop a Facebook post that wants to know whether you think pineapple belongs on pizza. Everybody has super strong feelings about it. Everybody either hates it or they love it.
And everyone wants to weigh in and tell you why. And so that’s another engaging post that will trip the button of people going, so I’ll like say, give me a give me a heck yes, if you’d like pineapple on here, or hell no if you don’t, or whatever. And I get them to like, comment, share, once again, like maybe on a Thursday. So I’ve got a Monday and a Thursday post where I’m 100% asking for them to engage. And then the rest of the week, it may be dedicated to other things, but there will be on Tuesday, you can guarantee there’s going to be a new Kia Telluride post that goes there.
And all the people who played with me on Monday on the contest are going to get the new Kia Telluride in their newsfeed. And the same thing on Thursday, the people played with me on Thursday, if I drop a pre-owned Jeep Cherokee in there from that same dealership that people have played with me on Thursday, we’re going to get those feeds too. So I’m starting to build an audience of people who are engaging with me because they, I have valuable content to them. Something that they’re interested in.
Steffen: Interesting. That’s a great idea. Because, you know, over the years, obviously, Facebook has limited the organic visibility of posts, basically. And by having engaging posts like raffles, sweepstakes, etc., you get people to the page, and then they kind of discover not only that post, but they will most likely scroll on to other information that were posted in the past. So that’s, that’s pretty good. Now, targeting on Facebook, some people say, oh, it’s getting harder and harder, especially as Facebook has taken away some targeting opportunities. Do you find this to be an issue?
Robin: Yes and no. So depending on who your market is. Like I said, we we’ve learned to target the message to who we want to respond. But like within the dealership world, this is a totally different because we’ve already got customers who’ve opted in to receiving information from us. So we can still create custom audiences in Facebook, because they gave us permission to do so. So even though I’m targeting somebody for credit, if I’m using my own list of customers from the past, I could do what we would call an equity mining campaign, meaning all of these customers have purchased from us in the last, let’s say, 24 to 48 months.
And I can upload them and send a message out specifically targeting them. And then, but I can’t target a look alike audience because the look alike audience did not opt in for me. And because anything that you do with a dealership is considered a special category as credit. So credit, housing, politics, all of the protected areas that Facebook has within there, I’ve got to select that category, and then they choke me down. But if I’m doing specific targeting for a dealership, I can use their database 100%.
Steffen: Now with the limited visibility of organic posts, how do you reach people? So I mean, when you start out, for example, right, and you take over a new client, let’s take the one you mentioned in Austin, where they had likes that were bought, and there was literally probably no one visiting the Facebook page. Hence, you needed to build that traction first. Do you, do you promote posts in order to get eyeballs on those sweepstakes, raffles, etc,
Robin: You do. And like I said, it’s another strategy for us that we plan out in advance when we’re talking to a dealership. The first thing we look at is their engagement. So you have of your 12,000 people, you have 138 people a week engaging with your page that is dead. That is 100% considered a dead page. And so we know that we’re going to have to create some engaging posts, first of all, but then we’re going to have to promote them also. Because we’ve got to get them used to being out there. Once the people start engaging with it, Facebook will push it out naturally.
But we generally commit to about six weeks to eight weeks of promoted posts to get that account to the point where it can run on its own, and then we just start weaning down the money. So will it still perform without it? So if we were using for example, $500 per month, I’m just using a small amount to promote these posts, next month, could I still get the same engagement with $300? am I gaining traction? Then can I do it with $200? And then can I get the same organic traffic 100% organically with no money? And then we just take it until we know that it’ll run on its own organically because we’ve gotten the audience built.
Steffen: Interesting. Is there an amount that you usually spend on those posts or does that depend on the size of the dealership, and then, yeah.
Robin: So it generally depends. We’ll commit to when we’re talking to a dealership. They generally have budgets they want to work in and then we let them know what we think that we can do within that budget. I would probably never ever start with less than a $500 budget just to get their page breathing again. I would probably ideally love to have $1,000 a month to do that. But I can make some strides with $500. As long as they know that it’s going to be a slower roll than if we just jumped right off the bat and did it.
Steffen: Yeah, yeah. Now, how important is consistency as it relates to the organic social side, but also to the paid side?
Robin: Right. So here’s a, here’s, I always use an analogy about this too, right? It’s like you have a dog. And every day your dog gets up and looks at you, and he wants a bowl of food. And as long as you keep feeding that dog, he’s happy. You know, if you decide that you’re going to go out of town for a few days, and you just give him a big ol bowl of food and you hope it’s going to last for three to four days, you’re gonna be gone, your dog is going to eat all the food day one, and then you’re going to make a mess all over your house, and you’ll come back and the dog is starving.
So the thing is that yes, consistency is 100% key. Every day that machine needs to be fed. And it doesn’t matter if one day you decide to drop 30 posts, and then you don’t post for two weeks, it’s just like you only dropped one. Because what you did is you flooded somebody’s newsfeed one day, you probably got a bunch of unfollows, because you did that. And we, and I say that because dealerships will do that, right? They’ll wait till the end of the month, and then drop pictures of all of their sold customers all over like a two-day period.
And then they get all of these unfollows. And they’re like, what happened? I’m like, I don’t know, you’re an idiot. You just literally dumped, everybody, nobody got to see cat videos, they didn’t get to see baby slobbers they didn’t get to see any of that stuff because you dropped all your sold customers. And so consistency is super important. I don’t, we don’t ever skip a day of posting.
There are some accounts when we post twice a day, but it will never be like two cars. Like it’s going to be an engaging post and automotive, or it’ll be something else. It will be community-minded, or, you know, behind the scenes at the dealership or anything like that. But every day for our clients, a post goes out. We don’t do a half schedule, we will only do a full schedule. If they want to half-schedule, they just really should hire somebody and do it themselves.
Steffen: Interesting, now doing it themselves. That’s kind of leads up to my next question. So you manage the social media for some big groups.
Steffen: Why don’t they do it themselves? Wouldn’t that be cheaper for them?
Robin: Probably not, honestly. If you think about the cost of an employee and their benefits package, and most of the time, there are very few people out there who know more than one social media platform. So they’re not just like, you can’t just grab some teenager and go, hey, I need you to do this thing. They have to understand graphic artists, they have to be able to create graphics, they have to also be able to write copy. And they have to understand what the strategy is behind why they’re doing what they’re doing.
Facebook doesn’t really like outside links. But I can tell you that I don’t care if they like outside links, whenever I post a picture of a car, I’m going to give you the link to get to it, because that makes the customer happy. So whether it makes facebook happy or not, I don’t really care about it at that point, because my job is to make the transition for the customer, easier for them to click on this link right here and go out and find that vehicle. So finding the expertise of people who know what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.
The second problem that happens and I discovered this when I was working at the dealership is that the mentality at the dealership is oh, she’s the Facebook girl. Well, have her go order pizza for us too. Oh my gosh, can somebody send Linda over to Target because we need some two-sided tape. It ends up being the junk drawer. The social media person ends up being the junk drawer of all of the crap that nobody at the dealership wants to do. And so they end up you know, standing in line at Target trying to answer customers on Facebook while they’re running 100 different errands because the value is not there as this is a full-time job.
Steffen: Interesting. I mean, I gotta add to this, I think the big challenge, and I see that, you know, on the digital side across other channels, as well. And I have to answer this question quite often when clients ask me like, why am I not doing it myself? It’s like, it’s not one person that you probably need. You need several people, right? I mean, you need a person that understands the social channel, but then you need from a social perspective.
You need someone that is able to create the graphics or the visuals for that. You might need this specific copywriter. So there’s not one person that works for you on those campaigns. There are several people that do parts and all of this, the sum of all of that creates that great result at the end of the day.
Robin: Correct. Correct. So for us, we have graphic designers on staff, we have calendar creators that are creating the entire calendar flow, how it goes out. We have people who are just in charge of proofreading everything to make sure does this hyperlink work where it’s supposed to? And then we have people that their job is just to go and schedule all of this social media so that it hits at the right times and the right days.
Steffen: And that makes total sense. You know, you focus people on where their strengths are at the end of the day. Robin, unfortunately, we’ve come to the end of today’s podcast episode already. Thank you so much for joining me and talking about how you help dealerships with their social presence and drive growth through organic and paid social. If people want to find out more about you and your company, how can they get in touch?
Robin: Yeah, super easy. So our website is scpagency. Social Climber Pro is how we started. So scpagency.com. You can always find me on LinkedIn, Robin Wilson, on Instagram @meettherobs. And I am not just a consumer of social media, but I’m also a participant of it. So you can, I’m generally pretty active. You can find me on about any social media channel.
Steffen: Perfect. Well, thanks everyone for listening. If you’d like the Performance Delivered podcast, please subscribe to us and leave us a review on iTunes or your favorite podcast application. If you want to find out more about Symphonic Digital, you can visit us at symphonicdigital.com or follow us on Twitter at Symphonic HQ. Thanks again and see you next time.
Voiceover: Performance Delivered is sponsored by Symphonic Digital. Discover audience focused and data driven digital marketing solutions for small and medium businesses at symphonicdigital.com