All posts by Mike Cerra

Audi S5 Sportback

The Audi S5 Sportback Is The Only Luxury Car Worth Buying In 2023

There’s always been that one car that everyone has to own; a car that checks off all the boxes whether it’s the build the quality, luxurious interior, impeccable driving dynamics or all of the above. For most enthusiasts, that car could be the Volkswagen GTI, Honda Civic Si, BMW M3, or Porsche 911, but if you’re looking for something a little less conspicuous that flies below the radar but is so well rounded that you’ll regret passing up on the opportunity, it’s the B9.5 Audi S5 Sportback and there really isn’t even a close 2nd.

If you’re familiar with the VW/Audi group, the logical steps throughout your car ownership history usually starts with a used GTI then a switch to a Golf R, which then is followed up by an Audi S4; likely a B8.5 for younger buyers. Since 2018, what you upgrade to isn’t so clear anymore, and this goes for all consumers regardless of whether they owned a German car prior to going upmarket. The Audi S4 has been a formidable option for over a decade, and some would say its a better buy than the BMW M340i and Mercedes Benz C43, as purists will waste no opportunity to let you know that the M340i and C43 aren’t real M or AMG products. For Audi, that’s not a problem, as the RS4 hasn’t been offered in the US since the B7 generation and this has opened the door for those with a budget of around $50k to own a solid German sports sedan that’s respected and has a high reputation. So why is the Audi S4 being brushed aside?

To appeal to the growing demand of sportbacks that have ultimately replaced the need for traditional sedans, Audi unveiled the S5 Sportback to compete directly against the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe. Due to BMW’s reluctance to offer an M4 variant for the Gran Coupe while also still producing the lackluster F30 3 Series generation that shared platforms with the 4 Series, Audi wasted little time to take advantage of BMW’s shortcomings to grab a foothold in this growing market. Despite reception of the B9 S5 Sportback being lukewarm at best, the facelift that came with the B9.5 struck a cord among many buyers, as the RS inspired honeycomb grille and more aggressive body lines fit the design of this car far better than even it’s sibling, the S4.

Audi S5 Sportback

Audi S5 Sportback

Audi has always banked on their refined and smooth handling characteristics but also their strong powertrains, and as time has passed, it appears as though it was only the road presence that was holding back this almost flawless car. The interior was also subject to an upgrade, as a new 10 inch touchscreen complimented Audi’s virtual cockpit, as pre-facelift models had a rotary dial that controlled the head unit which wasn’t the most intuitive in this segment. Audi has also stuck to not over styling their cabins, where the simplicity of the dashboard and center console is anything but a detriment to the overall driving environment.

Audi S5 Sportback

Audi S5 Sportback

Where the S5 Sportback deviates from the S4 as they’re basically the same on paper, is with the practicality, and this alone has led to the cannibalization of the S4 sales figures last few years, as the Sportback is a more family friendly option but possibly the only legitimate alternative to a crossover. While you will sacrifice 2nd row head room, leg room is identical to the S4 so passengers won’t be feeling claustrophobic, but behind the 2nd row seats, it’s the 22 cubic ft of cargo space that makes this car a game changer. In the past, the SQ5 was the sensible and responsible choice for an aging car enthusiast, but the S5 prolongs the ownership of a car by a few years as it’s slightly more practical than a VW GTI if you don’t fold those rear seats. Better yet, you also receive a power lift gate, which is a minor convenience feature that I feel goes a long way.

Most importantly is the performance, as this is the only real metric for why this car is the best vehicle you can buy this year. Under the hood is a 3 liter turbocharged V6 engine that produces 349 hp and 369 lb ft of torque and this powertrain is paired with an 8 speed automatic transmission from ZF. With 0-60 times coming in at just above 4 seconds, you’ll have the thrills and enjoyment that you’d experience with an S4, but also this car is no slouch as you won’t be begging for more power. Better yet, Audi has engineered a formula that makes their sports cars enticing for a wider range of consumers, as the BMW M440i Gran Coupe does have heavier and dynamic steering, which might not be for everyone.

Audi S5 Sportback

Audi S5 Sportback

The Audi S5 Sportback’s smooth and fluid cornering makes it a blast to drive on backroads, and since Audi is still committed to a luxury persona, this sportback can be daily driven even with the family also in the car with you. Rather than just being one dimensional or speaking to enthusiasts only, it’s well-balanced and pleasant on-road demeanor makes it suitable for all applications and occasions without lacking the feedback and engagement you desire in a sport sedan.

In an era where cars are being phased out, not only by crossovers but the emerging EV market, the S5 Sportback in my mind is unrivaled, as no one comes remotely close to what Audi is offering here with the B9.5. The other competitors include the BMW M440i, Kia Stinger GT, Genesis G70, and maybe you can throw in the Alfa Romeo Giulia despite the latter 2 cars not being sportbacks. BMW easily slots into 2nd place in this segment, but Audi is providing a better package at it’s price point that no-one in 2023 seems to be replicating.

Before wrapping up, you may be wondering why I referred to the S5 Sportback as being “almost flawless”, and as an enthusiast it’s mostly impart to the existence of the RS5 Sportback that shores up some of the weak spots the S5 might have, but for any driver, whether they’re an enthusiast or someone just looking for a solid luxury car, the S5 Sportback is without a doubt the best car you can by in 2023.

Gaining Respect Through Work, Not Talking – Life Tip For My Fellow Millennials

Around the age of 20 and 21 I was just about ready to graduate from college and start moving onto a career and starting my life. At the same time, I started indulging in the idea of “young entrepreneurs” who at the ages of 18-25 created large followings on social media to “inspire” or “teach” other millennials or even older adults how to conduct business in the 21st century. Still to this day, new faces emerge preaching the exact same business and marketing tips, with legions of young adults in high school and college believing that they can build a persona that leads them to becoming millionaires whether they want to build a business or become a consultant with no real world experience.

I was unfortunately one of the millennials who bought into speaking about my knowledge on social media marketing in college. While I adamantly believe in what I wrote on my personal blog four to five years ago, the fact remains that despite my philosophy on social media that’s worked for me when building my business, Boston Auto Blog, no one was going to take me seriously if I came in off the street.

Over the last two years, I’ve been building a business that I can be proud of. A business that I didn’t preach, teach, or pontificate, and instead pour hours of work behind the camera filming cars, editing videos, and doing what’s fulfilling to me. Cars have always been my life, and I continue to take pride in not being influenced by other Automotive YouTubers or listening to others who continue to tell me what “I should do” when they aren’t putting in the work themselves,

It amazes and saddens me to still see millennials carry themselves in a way that’s neither beneficial to their careers or even fully truthful, as social media doesn’t show everything going on behind the scenes. The truth is, we don’t know everything, we don’t deserve a six figure job right out of college, the photos we take on Instagram can be and are misleading, and despite some of us having a boatload of knowledge, there’s no portfolio or a documentation of the work we’ve put in.

If you’re a millennial who has a chip on their shoulder and wants to be respected or be successful, just put in the work. Even now I feel weird or guilty writing this article as I’m still figuring out my own life and getting Boston Auto Blog to a point that I can be truly proud of. However, I’m not afraid to admit my past mistakes, and while I stand by my articles I wrote five years ago, I wish I spent more time working rather than sounding like an expert.

At the age of 26 I can truly say I’m happy with the work I do, and it feels great knowing that the content I’m putting out is leading me to bigger and better opportunities. Your success is predicated on your work ethic. While keeping our mouths shut and working isn’t something our generation is accustomed to, documenting and pouring every ounce of energy into something you love is how you’ll get noticed,

Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are great tools that can be used to further your career and life. Pay no attention to the YouTubers who embellish or don’t fully disclose where they come from and whether their ventures are being funded. In the grand scheme of things, buying 100k followers or subscribers and getting attention from gullible young adults looking for shortcuts isn’t difficult, but building a business and pouring blood, sweat, and tears to make your dreams a reality is.

Don’t get caught up in personalities on social media, and instead use these platforms to your advantage by sharing your passion. The right people will find you, and by being real, you’ll not only build a life based on truth, but you’ll stand out to the people in the work force who genuinely believe in you, your product, or service.

Provide value and you’ll never be looked down upon. Find your passion and you’ll always be authentic.

Social Media Marketing – You’re Posting Content But Not Taking It Seriously

Marketing, the lifeblood of business is one of the pillars that keeps small and large companies alive. Without it the target markets that would benefit from the products and services you provide would never be reached, leaving hundreds, thousands, and millions of consumers without a tangible good that would better their daily lives. For years, marketing and advertising came in the form of newspapers, radio, television, billboards, and more recently SEO, websites, and email. Ask a number of businesses how important marketing is, and they’ll say without a doubt that it’s vital to their success. So why isn’t social media marketing taken as seriously as traditional forms of advertising, and why aren’t businesses experimenting with the different forms of content they’re posting on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube?

Having spent the last few years helping businesses in the automotive industry be more effective on social media platforms and getting sales through those channels, there’s nothing I haven’t seen nor heard that would surprise me pertaining to poor marketing on social media. The automotive industry is old school to the core, especially car dealerships. From the business model to how they advertise, car dealerships are operating as if it’s 1999 rather than 2017. With that being said, they’re not sure where to begin on social media and ultimately resort to what worked prior to the existence on Facebook and other platforms.

The lack of thoughtful content, in conjunction with promoting the wrong posts has led the entire car dealership segment down the wrong path, to a point where not one dealership differentiates itself from the rest. Content that is regurgitated from the corporate brand, non-native content, and irrelevant posts that don’t draw in sales litters these companies’ Facebook pages. It should be noted that this isn’t the dealerships’ faults, but actually the lack of progress being made in providing effective and modern marketing methods to the automotive industry.

Social media marketers stay clear of offering services to car dealerships because they have to be much more involved when it comes to the daily creation of content, and the vast differences in advertising methods that require knowing the product and the consumer. If there’s no help coming from marketing firms, car dealerships will have to look internally to increase exposure, engagement, and more importantly sales.

From a pure consulting role, my first piece of advice is to take social media marketing seriously. Yes, social media is more than just posting pictures of the food you had for lunch or sharing statuses about your favorite sports teams; it’s a very important advertising channel that must be utilized. Right now many dealerships aren’t on Instagram, they’re not creating high quality content on Facebook or any other platforms, and they’re not advertising with a purpose to sell cars. Now is the time to use a blueprint that works, draws in attention, grows a following, and leads to sales.

Once you’ve reached a point where you’re going to be dedicated to social media, now the fun begins. Facebook and Instagram are more than just platforms to run advertisements; they can be used to share high quality content that informs, persuades, and draws customers into buying a particular car at your dealership, and not somewhere else. Short 1-2 minute videos that fully detail the car being showcased such as price, specifications, fuel consumption, and performance will not only give the potential car buyer a virtual walk around tour, but your videos will help them immensely during the buying process. With these videos you then target the ideal car buyer through the use of Polk Data that Facebook provides, and now you not only have effective advertising, but have content that will grab the attentions of the people you targeted.

On Instagram photos and videos, along with advertising will help spread awareness of your dealership and the cars you provide. Having a few sports cars on your inventory can be used to your advantage, as car enthusiasts have a large community on Instagram, and are always looking for an upgrade. Being a part of the local car scene in Massachusetts, I know exactly where to find the right buyer on the picture and video oriented platform and also have the listings reach potential car buyers through my network.

YouTube and Twitter are really optional platforms depending on what your primary goal is for social media marketing. In my eyes the more platforms you’re on, the better. YouTube is ideal for longer, more in-depth videos that explain and outline everything the car offers, whereas Twitter isn’t known for being car dealership friendly which means more time and dedication is needed to see any results from that platform.

At the end of the day, the point of social media marketing is to increase sales. It doesn’t matter what your primary social media marketing platform is, as long as you’re the best at advertising and creating content in your area. Dealerships are still operating as if it’s the 20th century, which leaves you with the perfect opportunity to take advantage of their lack of vision, and snatch customers away from them. Social media marketing is very powerful and vital to car dealerships, and would be a big mistake not to use Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to your advantage.

jaguar f-type svr

Digital Media Marketing – Enhancing Your Social Media Presence

When we think of car dealerships on social media, non-native content, links to articles related to the car brand the dealership is selling, and copy and pasted reviews from DealerRater dominate their Facebook pages. On Instagram, most car dealerships stay away from the platform, post sporadically, and if they are posting throughout the week the photos are usually from the brand itself. The blame cannot be pinned on the dealerships, but in fact the marketers. There’s a marketing disconnect and hopefully this article helps bridge the gap by providing a different way of thinking to help enhance the social media presence that car dealerships have.

In the 21st century the automotive industry relies heavily upon visual content, whether that be television commercials, photos, or videos by car magazines on YouTube. Car dealerships get a small piece of the digital media marketing pie, as companies rely upon the brand to supply them with commercials in their local areas. Rarely do dealerships create their own videos, photos and online commercials, and the ones who do are experiencing more engagement, reach, leads and sales.

For the automotive industry, digital media marketing is a separate entity from social media marketing. While car dealerships occasionally create Facebook ad campaigns, they’re not implementing 1-4 minute videos that can inform, educate, and alter consumers’ car buying decisions. Facebook ads alone are ineffective, as they don’t provide any value or reasons for consumers to purchase the cars the dealership is selling. Through digital media however, the results companies desire can certainly be achieved if they’re committed and dedicated to the long term success of social media marketing.

It is important to note that social media marketing isn’t an overnight solution or a free one. Money has to be spent to reach large groups of car buyers in the local area, as Facebook and Instagram algorithms have made it difficult to grow a following or customer base organically. On the flip side, Facebook does provide us with Polk Data that targets and pinpoints ideal car buyers who are in the market to purchase a new or used vehicle. Not only that, but we can also target people who are in the market to purchase a specific brand (i.e. Toyota) and type of vehicle (sedan, SUV, pickup etc).

Where digital media marketing comes into play is when you want to sell 2017 Toyota Camry’s to make room for the 2018s. You create one minute videos that briefly go over features, specifications, and price. The reason you want one minute videos is because they can also be posted to Instagram and Twitter, which maximizes the content’s effectiveness and reach. I’d do this for every trim of the Camry to be informative and educate car buyers on the differences between them and their prices. Add social media marketing ad campaigns and now you have a dealership that’s on every social media platform, posts high quality content daily, and informs and persuades car buyers to purchase not only the brand their selling, but buy a car from their dealership. Besides the creation of high quality digital media content, social media marketing becomes effortless, and at the end of the day you just go the competitive advantage on all the dealerships in your area.

Car dealerships need help on their social media pages, and marketers just want to run ad campaigns. The gap needs to be bridged, and I don’t see that happening any time soon unless marketers start providing digital media content. The automotive industry is very competitive, and right now a relatively strong economy is making it harder for dealerships to differentiate themselves from their competition. Digital media marketing can provide that, and with effective social media ad campaigns, you’ll begin to see the ROI, the growth in leads and sales, and the impact your dealership is having on car buyers through the content you’re posting.

Volvo S60 at Volvo Village Danvers

“Why Should I Buy Or Lease A Volvo Instead Of A Jaguar?”

It’s an interesting question, one in which many Volvo dealerships would never ask themselves. The same question can be asked if the roles were reversed. Why should I or anyone buy or lease a Volvo, Audi, Mercedes Benz, or BMW instead of a Jaguar? Car dealerships across the country are great at trying to sell you a car, but they’re not so great at convincing you to buy the cars they have on their lots. Instead of being the primary source of information and answering consumers’ questions through great content on their social media accounts, car dealerships let car magazines and independent automotive journalists shape and influence consumers’ buying decisions. That’s a mistake.

Depending on what your personal buying preference is, leasing is becoming an option for car buyers who want to drive luxury cars rather than getting stuck with a Toyota or Honda that they may not like. Thanks to leasing prices, Volvo and Jaguar can actually be cross shopped which was unthinkable a year ago. The Volvo S60 T5 and the Jaguar XE 25t and XE 35t are within the same monthly payment range, giving consumers yet another choice to make in the compact sedan luxury car market.

What are car dealerships doing to attract consumers to the brand they sell? Nothing. If I’m the social media marketer for either a Volvo or Jaguar dealership, I’m creating videos and high quality photos that can be shared on all social media platforms. Through this content, I’d provide information on features, specifications, fuel consumption, lease prices, and MSRP for the consumers who’d prefer to buy. Instead of mentioning the rival brand and what they offer, the goal of the content being created is to sell car buyers on the S60 or XE before they walk through the dealership’s doors.

By using effective advertising campaigns, with a little help of polk data provided by Facebook, I can target potential Jaguar and or Volvo car buyers who are in the market to purchase a vehicle. With the one minute high quality videos that I produced, I’d get peoples’ attentions which will ultimately lead them to the dealership’s inventory page. More importantly, those one minute videos can be shared to Instagram and Twitter as well to maximize the reach and effectiveness of the content.

Not only is having an advertising budget important, but finding ways to reach as many people as possible organically is a must. Which is why posting content that fits on all platforms, guarantees its success rate.

Car dealerships don’t spend time creating content or try attempting to play a role in consumers’ buying decisions. One piece of content that answers car buyers questions could be the difference between them buying a Volvo or Jaguar. Another aspect of using high quality content and effectively advertising it on social media is that you gain the upper hand on the dealership who sells the exact same brand 30 miles away. That advantage is crucial, not only because you’re going to be the Volvo or Jaguar dealership car buyers flock to, but that video you shared could determine what brand the car buyer chooses.

As a car enthusiast, on paper the Jaguar XE appears to be the better lease offer. I get into a much more prestigious brand, if I choose the XE 35t I also get more horsepower, and the exterior and interior styling would certainly garner attention and get looks. With that said, there’s the chance many consumers who would lease their next car feel the same way. That’s why it would be in the Volvo dealership’s best interest to create content the sways and alters a purchase decision. No matter which side of the brand spectrum you are on in this particular case, the answer is clear. Produce great content that informs and persuades car buyers to purchase to lease from your dealership, and not the rival brand down the street.

Social media marketing is crucial to increasing sales. By not having a presence on Facebook, Instagram, etc, you’re letting car magazines and YouTubers determine what consumers buy. Be the primary source of information and take advantage of the tools social media has to offer. When it comes to car sales, you can’t afford to be the second or third option.

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Listening is the Key to Being Successful On Social Media

For many, Valentine’s Day is when people appreciate their significant other for being in their lives. Successful relationships are predicated on listening and communication, as without both, the companionship between the two parties couldn’t be possible. The same can be applied to business, specifically the social media marketing aspect of customer retention and acquisition. If you or your social media manager aren’t listening to the customers that walk through your doors, purchase online, or the consumer market you’re trying to reach, you’ll fail at growing your clientele.

Many people ask me, “So how do you know your social media marketing strategy works, and why is it good for my business?” My answer is always, “Because I know the customer, I know what they want, and I know what gets their attention and drives them to a purchase. “More importantly, I know their behaviors on social media and why they use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to share moments of time in their lives.”

Whether it’s purchasing a car, graduating college, going to Disney World, or having a positive experience with a company, people share the highlights of their daily lives. On the flip side, they also share their lowest points, and it’s important for businesses of any market to not be part of the negative posts and photos that are being shared.

I primarily provide social media marketing services to companies in the automotive industry, but the strategies I provide haven’t been created because I’m smart, but it’s my ability to listen to not only customers, but other business owners. Business owners who are successfully managing their social media accounts without a marketer and seeing great results, often share with me why they’re growing a clientele. They focus on what the customer wants, and share content that resonates best with them. With the entrepreneur’s ability to listen, happy customers and clients are now posting statuses and photos voluntarily on their personal Facebook accounts, raving about the services and products these particular businesses are offering.

In life you’ll learn that many people hear, but very few listen. Listening is the basis of strong business relationships, friendships, and personal relationships. By having the ability to listen, you can begin to apply tactics that draw in customers, grow a following on your social media pages, and become the most popular business in your sector by developing deep and meaningful customer relationships where your clientele become lifelong customers.

With all this being said, this is why many businesses in the automotive sector fail, and you’ve probably seen the same issues arise in the market that you know best. Social media marketing should never be used to hard sell; instead, focus on what the customer wants rather than you making a sale or stuffing money in your pockets. In the long run, you’ll attract more customers, and the community you begin to create will become your greatest marketing and advertising asset. Many old school marketers are focused on selling on Facebook and Instagram, when in reality, their customers will begin doing most of the work due to social media’s ability to enhance word of mouth.

Listening to your customers will dictate the type of content you post, which in turn will elevate your advertising game in the process. If you truly know your customers and what attracts them to purchasing the products you sell or the services you provide, social media marketing will no longer be looked at as hard, and instead will be rather fun, as you begin to create customer relationships that last.


Car Dealerships – The Formula To Selling Vehicles On Social Media

In the automotive industry social media marketing, for the most part, is an after-thought for many car dealerships, whether individually or franchised owned. Not only is overlooking social media as a viable advertising and sales outlet detrimental, it’s costing your dealership a lot of money. Pass by a dealership over the course of a week, two weeks, a month, and take notice at what cars aren’t leaving the dealership’s lot. Then search for their business on social media platforms, and if they do have existing accounts, nine out of 10 times the Facebook page hasn’t been updated in months, and in some instances years. It explains why good, dependable cars aren’t selling, despite being affordable and with a clear CarFax.

Lack of a social media presence is just one of the main ingredients to weak sales. Without someone at the helm, there’s no Facebook ad campaigns which means there’s no reach. Without good digital media content that informs customers on what features come with the vehicle in the pictures or videos that are being posted, how are sales going to be generated from social media?

A struggling car dealership nearby has $700,000 worth of vehicles sitting on the lot and some of the cars have been their since the summer. I don’t proclaim to know everything, but inventory that isn’t being moved in a relatively short time is neither good for the dealership, nor is it good for the business’ perception and brand as potential customers may question the reliability of the cars being sold. They need a solid social media marketing strategy that gets results, because traditional forms of advertising has failed this business. What should be the first course of action for this particular dealership?

If I walk in Monday, the first objective is to start creating content. Without content, there’s nothing to advertise on Facebook, which means no one will click or engage, making the ad campaign a complete waste of time and money. The first car that would get posted is the one that’s most likely to get sold. Because this dealership sells Toyotas among other brands in their pre-owned only inventory, I’d start taking high quality photos and make quick walk around videos so potential customers get a virtual look.

Once the content is created, I’d spend time working on ad campaigns that effectively reach and target customers in the market for a pre-owned car. Within this target audience, I’d then include car brands that customers would cross shop with the vehicle in the photo or video being promoted. By doing this, you’re reaching the entire market, possibly swaying customers to purchasing the vehicle at this dealership. With this ad campaign, the final destination would be to the dealership’s website, but more specifically, the web page this particular vehicle is being sold on. Now all traffic sees the vehicle, it’s price, and it’s CarFax, simplifying the customer’s buying process.

There are different avenues that can be taken in reaching customers through Facebook ads. It ultimately comes down to what your primary goal is. Do you want web traffic or Facebook likes? Interested car buyers or serious customers who will be purchasing a car very soon? Advertising on social media for car dealerships is rather simple, it’s the work that’s required in researching your target audience and creating content where commitment and consistency is needed that dealerships aren’t willing to put in. It’s that lack of effort and work ethic that can be attributed to poor car sales and inventory not being moved.

Facebook is your greatest asset for social media marketing, but that doesn’t mean you focus on just one platform. Instagram should also be taken seriously, as ad campaigns that are created can also be posted on the picture and video content dominated social media app. Digital media marketing is the present and future, and if you’re not using social media, you’re playing a significant role in the slowing of car sales for your dealership. Get serious and committed; hire someone if necessary. In 2017, it’s a must to use social media marketing if you want to see sales growth this year.