Your Move: From Cheerleader to Social Media Chess Master

Social Media is not about hugging people. Some people are just jerks.

So goes one of the most famous quotes from the Social Fresh Conference, and those of us who tweet for food know exactly what it means. There’s a myth in social media that being a maven is like being sort of a glorified online flight attendant. You roam the corridors with your cheery cart of auto-responses, address grouchy customer complaints with a perky smile, and try not to bump anyone in the knee. This is wrong.

Social media has traditionally been pure brand management; but it can be more if you make it more. It can be sales. It should be sales.

Relational. Educational. Soft. But still sales.

The way to change your social media game from a sideline cheer show to a strategic conversion machine is to start where all sound sales processes start: set up a funnel. In this case, a content marketing funnel. Here’s an example of an automotive content marketing funnel in action:

Monday: Run a “Car Wash Flash Sale” on Twitter. From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., anyone who clicks through your Twitter link and subscribes to your blog on the accompanying landing page gets a $2 car wash. (Bonus points for getting some buzz going by reaching out to your local bloggers and press to let them know about your new all-new Twitter Flash Sales)

Tuesday:  Send your first piece of content marketing to your new subscribers. I’d suggest a humorous blog post to break the ice like: “Polyester is Itchy: Top Myths about Car Salesmen.” You can then list the top concerns about the car-buying experience and how your dealership specifically combats them. Wherever possible, support your content with hard facts i.e. “Every member of our dealership has X certification and Y training to ensure our sales process is as respectful and efficient as possible,” and/or humor, i.e. “Plus, we shoot hard-sellers on sight.”

Wednesday: Take a Break; Overkill is a Turn-off.

Thursday: Send your second piece of content.  This time try a podcast, i.e.: “You had us at Hello: What to Expect When You Walk into Our Dealership.” In this round, outline the steps of buying a car at your dealership from A-Z. Be sure to address top fears around uncomfortable subjects like pricing, credit etc. as well as frequently asked questions like how long the process usually takes, what you need to bring with you, etc.  Not only will provide reassuring answers to their burning questions; hearing your voice will help them get a better sense of who you and feel comfortable interacting with you.

Friday:  Lighten up! Send a fun video with a tour of your dealership. Have each of your salespeople make a cameo, giving a short intro and personally invite the prospect into the dealership.

Saturday: Send them a one-day-only coupon, like free CD player installation on a car or a free gas card just for coming in. Make it seem fun, casual, and URGENT that they get in right now.

This is just one example of a social media content funnel; there are endless varieties to try. The point is to move beyond “rah rah” tactics and focus on driving real ROI.

In conclusion, ask more from your social media strategy. In the future of social media, a Facebook like is not a conversion. A Twitter retweet is not a conversion. A conversion is a conversion. Make it your goal over the next six months to create a trackable content funnel. Once this becomes the norm,  we can definitively prove the truth that we mavens have known all along: Facebook likes are the true source of all car sales. Go team!

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Lucky 17

Cheers Cobalt!

Here's to 17 years - cheers!

Sometimes it’s called a “lucky birthday” or a “golden birthday,” and that’s never been more fitting than it is for Cobalt this year, where it seems every birthday comes with a little extra luck.  On Saturday, March 17, we’re officially 17 years old.

“Growing up, 17 was my lucky number, the jersey I wore playing soccer, the number I picked for a bet or a guess,” recalled Cobalt’s founder and VP of Digital Marketing, John Holt.  “I’d like to think it’s a harbinger of good things to come for the year ahead, and when I consider where we are and what’s in front of us, the facts seem to align with my hopes.”

Cobalt Glasses

Anniversary pint glasses are a Cobalt tradition - a new one every year!

Cobalt anniversaries have always been kind of a big deal (coinciding nicely with a certain green-themed holiday), and this year is no exception. “We get to celebrate it a day early, or twice if we really wish to.” At 3:00 on Friday everyone in Seattle was invited to get up from their desks, grab the latest of Cobalt’s traditional pint glasses, and celebrate the year gone by and the year to come.

Holt mingled with everyone else at the party, to the tune of live Irish-themed music from local band Servants of the Rich. There was also a red-carpet photo booth provided by Patrick Wright Photography, and lots of beer, cider, and root beer on tap while the view out the windows gave everyone a gorgeous view of sunny Seattle (yes, I said sunny).

Holt, ever looking forward, put it best. “I’ve often tracked Cobalt’s evolution to my oldest daughter’s maturation.  Cobalt and Gemma have grown up together.  Here Cobalt stands on the edge of what I believe will be the most exciting phase in our history yet, while at night I’m sitting with Gemma and planning the college visiting tour we’re going to take in August as she begins to focus on life outside of our house.  It’s pretty clear the metaphor continues to hold, two eagles flying higher and higher in the sky.”

Cheers, Cobaltians! Here’s to 17 years, and many more to come.

P.S. If you’d like to see more pictures from the event, head on over to our Facebook page.

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Facial Hair for a Cause

5 Bearded Men

Team C.O.B.A.L.T.

In the winter months, beards become as common a sight in the Pacific Northwest as rain jackets and fleece vests.    And one group of Cobalt associates has figured out a way to harness the power of facial hair for a good cause.

The Seattle Beard and Stache Festival began four years ago as a way for the bearded and mustachioed citizens of Seattle to raise money for Treehouse, a local non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of kids living in foster care.  Last year the Beard and Stache Fest had just over 80 participants and raised over $6000.  This year there’s more than 150 participants, including Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, so the potential is as full as the beards on their faces!

Cobalt Services Team Manager Josh Dand raised the third most money for Treehouse last year in the Beard and Stache Festival and came away from the experience certain that he could find some willing and bearded Cobaltians to aid the cause next year.  They’ve assembled a team known as Collection Of Beards At Local Technology (or C.O.B.A.L.T.) comprised of Mikael Sikora, Steve Hensyel, Ryan Moynihan and Mark Fussell. They’re raising funds throughout the month of March both online at the Beard and Stache fest website and in person at Oddfellows Café on Capitol Hill, where their donation cans are prominently displayed.  One hundred percent of donations go directly to Treehouse, so there’s no chance the funds will be diverted for moustache wax.

The Beard and Stache Fest is already off and growing with events throughout the month of March and the closing ceremonies will take place on April 1 at the Triple Door. Until then, you can keep track of team C.O.B.A.L.T.’s progress at their Cobalt Beard Facebook page!

Good luck guys – keep it growing!

Guest writer: Josh Dand  – Services Team Manager

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