It would be very difficult to walk through a dealership today and find a hard copy of the dealership’s “brag book” lying around on a table. Don’t get me wrong, it would be a tremendous feat to see a dealership that still believed in something as tried and true as a “brag book.” But truth be told, very few still do it.
For those who don’t know, “brag books” were the information gathered by dealerships both on their products and dealerships to highlight awards, accolades and good things being done in the community. They usually were homegrown and homemade booklets that housed information that a sales associate used to help close a customer and build confidence in why to do business with them instead of the other guys. Out of all the dealerships I work with today, I can count the number that actively use a hard copy “brag book” on one hand.
Social media has been the demise of the old form of a “brag book” and provides a much better platform to “brag” from if you are a dealership. Better because, in a matter of seconds, your message can be exposed to thousands of people, whereas in the old days, they had to physically be in front of you to see your “brag book” message. Also better because you can post articles and pictures as well as live content and video. You are able to build both bragging rights and the imagery behind the message you are trying to convey.
If you want to be perceived as the biggest volume dealership in your town, then your posting strategy should have pictures of all sales and as many service customers as possible. If you want to be perceived as a great place to work, then you will show pictures of your people being happy and praise their efforts. If you want to be known as a great member of the community, then you will show the charities and civic organizations you are involved in and the good deeds done by these groups. If you want to be “all of the above,” then you will have an effort that allows a mixture of these elements and always be “bragging” about something new.
Too many dealerships get in the mindset of setting up a process that automates so they don’t have to pay the time and attention to manage social media on a daily basis. Building your “brag book” cannot be done that way. There is no way to auto-post images of vehicles and manufacturer awards that will lead you to the promised land of dominating social media. It has to be done one brag post at a time.
Your social media voice is your new “brag book.” You need to use it with the same mindset that you used to make that hard copy “brag book” so many years ago. You want a tool that differentiates you between your competitor and talks about the reasons why someone should do business with you.
John Paul Strong: As owner of Strong Automotive Merchandising, a company that increases traffic up to 1,000% for dealerships, Strong lives by the simple concept that your attitude affects your success. Without a positive mind set he would not have been able to grow the company over the last decade from just 10 to over 80 full-time employees. The rapid growth is thanks to his ability to keep the company on the forefront of technology, market changes and an infectious talent to motivate and keep employees striving to fulfill their potential. His beginnings in direct mail gave him the tools and skills to develop incredibly successful marketing plans. From there he moved on to traditional forms of media and has now mastered the dynamic world of digital and social media advertising. With over 150 dealers to please, Strong takes a hands-on approach and personal attention to detail in all aspects of marketing strategies. His expertise in plan development gives him a keen sense on how to maximize a dealer’s budget and ultimately increase their bottom line. Strong is a passionate speaker in the automotive industry. He has authored two books on creating next day traffic. He graduated from the Executive Education Program at the Harvard Business School. Strong received a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Montevallo. He lives with his wife and three children in Homewood, Alabama.