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Here’s How Van Griffith Kia Used Social Media to Increase Internet Sales by 20 Percent

Van Griffith Kia in Granbury, Texas has built itself into a trusted dealership that owns its local market. However, over the last several years, as the population of Granbury plateaued at about 9,000 people, sales at Van Griffith Kia have become increasingly flat. Meanwhile, more and more Kia dealerships have been opening in the larger Dallas-Fort Worth region. In late 2010, Van Griffith Kia decided that in order to increase its market share, sell more cars, and simply remain competitive, it would need to expand its marketing activities beyond traditional media.

The dealership was confident that with their competitive pricing and reputation for outstanding customer service they would be able to sell more cars if they could effectively leverage the internet to reach residents of the six-million-person Dallas-Fort Worth region.

Van Griffith decided to invest in an internet sales department, hiring their first internet sales director. The dealership upgraded their website to better support internet leads and invested in PPC campaigns to generate leads, while attempting to build a social media presence.



Challenges

Their internet marketing was showing great potential for generating leads, but the internet sales director was spending excessive time on the computer managing internet leads via email, giving him less time to sell over the phone.

Although Van Griffith Kia believed they had to build a social media presence, it was impossible for anyone else at the dealership to invest the time necessary to do so. Several months after launch, the dealership could not seem to surpass 55 Facebook fans, despite investing many hours every week in posts and asking customers to like the page.

In October 2011, still confident that digital marketing was the only way they would acquire new customers outside of their local market and realizing they didn’t have the resources to manage in-house, Van Griffith Kia decided they needed to get outsourced help.

Solution

They decided to hire an agency that specialized in automotive social media and reputation management to give them the ability to build a comprehensive platform; claiming over 50 social network and review sites, actively managing 20 review sites, and posting daily content on many social media sites. They also invested in Facebook contests and Facebook ads to help connect with more prospects and Van Griffith Kia saw an immediate increase in website referrals from social network and review sites. This trend increased month over month.

In just six months, their monthly website referrals from social media and review sites had increased 800 percent (from just 10 unique visitors to over 80 highly qualified visitors). A combination of Facebook contests, ad campaigns, daily posting to multiple social sites, and ongoing generation of positive reviews led to this rapid growth.

In January 2012, Van Griffith launched a Facebook contest: a 42-inch flat screen TV giveaway that targeted residents of the DFW Metroplex.

Results

The contest was a success; it resulted in generating 150 highly engaged new Facebook fans, complete with full contact information to continue to market to them as leads. It also drove substantial engagement with all current fans. And, when the contest winner drove to the dealership to claim the television, they ended up buying a new car!

Since deciding to use an outside agency, monthly internet sales have increased by 20 percent and they were able to decrease spending on print, broadcast and also their PPC budget.

Alexi Venneri is cofounder, CMO, and COO-social media of Digital Air Strike and has been in the automotive industry for over 15 years; she has worked on the dealer and vendor side and has partnered with multiple OEMs. Prior to co-founding DAS she was president of the Van Tuyl Automotive Group advertising agency and she was also CMO at DealerTrack and Who’s Calling. www.digitalairstrike.com.

Michael Bowen

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