It Started With An iPhone with Nathanael Greklek

September 6, 2022
There are a lot of excuses for why a company doesn’t invest in social media. Nathanael Greklek has a counter for every single one of them. As the Chief Digital Branding Leader for Mohawk Auto Group, Nathanael has built an organic social media presence that gets millions of impressions a month. They’re able to track sales back to those impressions, and are a machine of content creation, averaging 500 pieces of content per month.
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What we talk about in this episode:
Intro with Michael Cirillo, Paul J Daly and Kyle Mountsier.

4:36 Nathanael started off as a delivery specialist, and at that point, the social media strategy was posting delivery photos. He had an idea, pitched it to the team, and a new position was created for him.

8:20 Anything that Mohawk sponsors, they send a team to capture video and photos. Nathanael shares how this has helped them connect to causes in their community.

13:27 Over time, Nathanael and his team have been able to build such a solid brand that it has gotten over 2 million organic impressions in a month, allowing them to cut down on paid social media.

16:39 Nathanael walks through how he would start a branding campaign like Mohawk has, including where to find someone, what equipment they need and the first strategy they should use.

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Paul Daly: 0:00Okay, for this podcast we're gonna do something very specialUnknown: 0:09

This is auto collab because

Paul Daly: 0:11

Michael Cirillo's zoom, let's let's play a game podcast. His zoom keeps cutting it out. So if he disappears, Kyle and I are going to attempt to finish his sentence.

Kyle Mountsier: 0:23

Actually, what we should start with is rapid fire questions Cirillo. What color is your hair? You see

Paul Daly: 0:36

it's funny, we're having a lot of fun which is so appropriate for today's guests Nathanael Greklek, a mohawk Honda Chevrolet. This is a young man who has transformed the marketing department of this dealership from a paid ad strategy to a full organic strategy. And it may or may not involve him with a large team now I may or may not have seen TikTok videos of him dancing to Michael Jackson music in a pink bunny suit. And you know, for all that recording stopped.

Kyle Mountsier: 1:05

We could have done the whole Cirilo thing a second ago but it's okay. Well the thing is, is that we what we do know is that Nathanael Greklek probably has zoom and podcast down maybe better than us today. Sure. So we really hope that you enjoy this conversation with Nathanael Greklek and let's roll the tape now that Cirillo is back

Michael Cirillo: 1:31

we hope you enjoy this did you make it through Did you we did

Paul Daly: 1:47

well, this is an episode we've wait for a while Nate, thank you so much for joining us today.

Nathanael Greklek: 1:54

Oh yeah, absolutely. Anytime we can hang out with you guys is a good time.

Paul Daly: 1:58

Likewise likewise I love I love the background Why don't you tell us I mean we know but why don't you tell the the podcast people where you are sitting right now describe the room you're sitting in.

Nathanael Greklek: 2:07

currently sitting in the Mohawk Auto Group. green screen studio.

Paul Daly: 2:14

Well explain explain the studio is that. That could be a pull up banner and an iPhone

Kyle Mountsier: 2:26

feeling the whole feeling of you got

Nathanael Greklek: 2:28

1234567 7 lights. I have black magic ATEM Mini Pro, a MacBook. I have some Shure MV 7s. That's your SB SMB. Whatever you guys got. I got a Rode caster Pro I got a TV in front of me and I got my teammates over here. Making content like animals. So how

Paul Daly: 2:54

big is the room? How big is the room roughly?

Nathanael Greklek: 2:57

The room is probably say 20 feet by now it's gotta be more than that. 20 bite? I'm not good. Don't Don't ask me out on measurement.

Kyle Mountsier: 3:07

It's big.

Nathanael Greklek: 3:10

Enough people in here.

Michael Cirillo: 3:11

Hold on. I thought you said you were at a dealership.

Nathanael Greklek: 3:15

I am. Alright,

Michael Cirillo: 3:17

this is loaded. This is

Paul Daly: 3:21

this is the the point. The point is that the Mohawk group has spent a lot of time energy money and put a lot of trust in you to build and lead a social media team to do things differently than the majority of other dealers out here. And like we want to drill into that story for a minute.

Nathanael Greklek: 3:39

Yeah, well, we definitely do things a lot differently in terms of social media and culture creation. So that's that's always good, right? It's

Paul Daly: 3:45

just normal to you now. It's like he's got that whole normal life thing. Yeah, I just went into my dealership I got a passive studio with a green screen and pro this and Pro that and a whole team of people making content over there. And it's only Wednesday.

Michael Cirillo: 3:58

Yeah, tell me you crack the code without saying you cracked the code. Like what was it? Was it this way when you came to the dealership?

Nathanael Greklek: 4:06

No. So when I started there, they were just posting like delivery photos pretty much every single minute because we're our Honda store is very high volume. And I had I started as a delivery specialist so for anyone who doesn't know love you Michael Cirillo rip zoom for Michael Cirillo.

Paul Daly: 4:29

We'll be back if audio people have no idea that he just dropped out of the call.

Nathanael Greklek: 4:35

So So I started off as a delivery specialist and then saw that they were doing things on social media had an idea and I pitched a new job position said hey, I really want to help create social media, build the build the brand, make sure people understand what they should expect by the time they come in the door. And I'll be at events I'll be at you know wherever you need me to go and basically just put on social and there Like, yeah, let's do it. And since then we've built a team up where we have five people on the team. And yeah, we produce over 500 pieces of content a month.

Paul Daly: 5:12

That's 100 pieces a person. Somebody's there ain't nobody. Ain't nobody quiet quitting over there. Let me just tell you that.

Nathanael Greklek: 5:21

This this, this month, we're actually tracking to post over 700. So,

Paul Daly: 5:26

wow, how long

Nathanael Greklek: 5:29

cluding Instagram stories, and our Tik Tok isn't actually attached yet. So we're getting there. Wow,

Paul Daly: 5:33

how long ago like so when that story started? And you said when I first came in here, how long ago was that?

Nathanael Greklek: 5:40

That's five years. So I've been here for actually technically four. I started off at the Mohawk Honda at Mohawk Honda five years ago. And then six months in, I pitched that job. They said yes, and then four and a half. Since then, I've been able to do a whole bunch of things. If anyone was in a Honda store, everyone remembers the, this is actually a fun story. So if anyone remembers the Honda walkaround challenge, it was a national competition. I remember shooting that on my iPhone seven that they had bought me and editing them and sending them in getting the green light that one of our guys was going and and I go there. Before I go there, I see this box in the owners office. I'm like, Hey, what's that box right there? It's a it's a box with a green screen and a camera on the Canon XA-7. And he goes, Yeah, you know, we really want to do commercials and stuff. So we bought this. I don't Can I can I have it? Because you know, I've already I was already starting like shooting video and stuff. It was Yeah, sure. You can have it. I was like, sweet. So I grabbed that we had this, we had this thing called a Meevo. So if anyone doesn't know that's a live camera. So basically, I get to this competition. I'm shooting on my camera and like, Hey, can you shoot our competition? Walk arounds? Oh, yeah, sure they go, we'll pay you 600 bucks. So not only did I get to go to Napa Valley for free on Honda's dime, American Honda. They also paid me $600 to film all of the walk arounds that they would later judge, which is pretty awesome. So there's a whole bunch of stories. And if you're at ASOTU CON, you can, you can check in ask me some questions about all that. But since then, we're

Kyle Mountsier: 7:25

you know, that's like a that's like the early version of what you've begun doing. Because I think it's it's interesting, where, where there is a camera. And where there is a person manning said camera, there is rich opportunity. And you're executing that on, you know, the ground level of like posting and creating content, photo video across multiple platforms. But what I find really interesting about what you're doing with your team is not just doing that, you know, like insular inside the store, but you've actually said, Hey, camera, person, man in camera, community. Ah, and you've, you've opened up some inroads there, can you tell us a little bit about how some of those things have have those connections to your community have begun and what you're doing now to kind of give the community the resource of your team.

Nathanael Greklek: 8:18

I mean, they're, there's so much there. I mean, wherever we, wherever we provide money and funds for, you know, we don't just give them a check and say, Hey, congratulations, here's your money. A lot of times, unless it's like a small baseball game, like, you know, the little leagues, we can't go to all of those obviously. But, you know, these big community events that we sponsor, we're there, we got our boots on the ground, we got people there volunteering, doing the thing, and we bring a camera, you know, we provide that opportunity to showcase what this day was all about.. We leverage the community, we collaborate with them, we bring, we bring in the the founders and different people like that. And we also offer interviews. So right now we're currently in the process of interviewing a local nonprofit that helps veterans get dogs service dogs specifically that are adopted dogs for PTSD and things like that. So we're currently working on that creating a video and for the month of September, we're going to sell Paws for a cause. So we're going to sell those in the dealership but on top of just selling those in the dealership, we're gonna have the backstory, we're going to be able to bring her in do Facebook Lives and things like that. So people understand more about these charities that you're being a part of as a dealership. So that's, that's a little bit of what we do in terms of community involvement.

Kyle Mountsier: 9:46

That's, that's so key to its expressing what a dealer does in the community in a non like, I don't know it's snarky way or I don't even know the word to use it. Like, it's

Nathanael Greklek: 10:03

not saying, hey, look, here's our money. Here's a look.

Kyle Mountsier: 10:07

It's like no look at what they're doing. And I love that you're still creating content alongside of the dealership on your accounts. But instead of going look at what we did look at all the things that we did or the money we raised or the money we sent to them, and just videoing like your people doing that you're taking them and giving them access to share what they've done. Right? I think that that's, that's a, it's like a, it's an unlock to the charitable resources that that dealers are giving, and providing all these communities that you've been able to execute, because you've built this social media team, first around the store and now into the community.

Nathanael Greklek: 10:45

I mean, it's always been that that way, I've always treated it that way, you know, the community. And dealerships treat it that way. Most dealerships give a lot to the community. That's just the fact of the matter that we are so highly involved in our communities. We're always sponsoring things. But we don't take that one extra step to say, hey, take a look at this. I mean, for a prime example, Special Olympics, Special Olympics of New York, like we've one of my favorite videos I've made so far as our our torch run that we were able to collaborate with the police. So they did my jog from Schenectady all the way to the Capitol, which is Albany for anyone who doesn't know, the kids this the capital of New York is not New York City. It's all

Kyle Mountsier: 11:31

empty. People said they couldn't get education from

Nathanael Greklek: 11:34

this podcast. They ran from Schenectady they traded off, but I had the opportunity to not only ride in a mohawk Chevrolet truck, but I also ran with the police officers. The video is up on there. I'm vlogging while I'm running like, hey, well, how do i How long have you been doing this? We might be nice.

Paul Daly: 11:55

I love it. Anyway,

Michael Cirillo: 11:57

that's enough of this crap. Let's talk about attribution. I'm just kidding.

Paul Daly: 12:04

No, maybe car sales. Can you distinctly track back to your vlogging with the police officers, per se?

Nathanael Greklek: 12:11

I can actually track referral links that I put in there for people

Paul Daly: 12:16

see, over 20 24,000

Nathanael Greklek: 12:20

I don't know if that's good. That's just straight from organic.

Kyle Mountsier: 12:26

That's all really well but but no. Okay, so maybe you can't go attribution but let's actually go to that because I think a lot of people do have that question. Okay. So it's you've got two rooftops now, right that you're managing content for three rooftops or three?

Nathanael Greklek: 12:41

You said yes, we have Mowhak Honda Mowhawk Chevrolet and a collision center. Oh,

Kyle Mountsier: 12:45

okay. So you got three, three store slash rooftops that you're managing content for? You got a team of five people doing that, including yourself? And most most dealerships are dealers go immediately to well, what's the expense of that? That sounds expensive. That's a lot of people resources, right? And what you've done, and I know, because I've talked to you in Scott Risley , and I'd like you to explain a little bit, but talk about this transformation from how much paid advertising that you've had to do across multiple channels, and how you've been able to scale that back because of the organic influence of all of the content that you've done. And the results of that for the stores, because there is a result to all of this work that you've done.

Nathanael Greklek: 13:26

Yeah. I mean, I think the biggest thing for people is they always, especially us in the automotive, the first thing when you think about branding, you think about organic social media, it's not right off the bat, right? It's not going to, like we weren't able to cut our traditional ad spend majority of our traditional ads fan because I started this four days ago, and I produce all this content, we were able to build it over four years. And that's what most people have a problem with is they can't they don't see the longevity of being able to be in front of almost 2 million impressions a month, you know, and then even 22 point 5 million over on high months and then and then you also have your lows you know you're you always also get the algorithm trains I moved last month was like one of our worst impression months. And it was just because everything changed. And now you have to switch your content. And that's we have to get away from this traditional ad spend and go and more digital and digital is more cost effective. And that's the that's the matter. That's the point of fact as should that's it like can you

Paul Daly: 14:37

relate what has happened to your organic site traffic?

Nathanael Greklek: 14:44

Yeah, I mean, it's definitely increased we can I can literally see how many people so for instance, we we put links in our posts, pretty much every day like just there, you know, just in case. someone's like, Hey, I'm going to Mohawk Honda. They You'd better have a link that I can get to the webpage, you know, especially for me, that's how I think if I'm going to someone's social media, I got to be able to get there fast. And if I want to get something, I better be able to find out how to get it. wicked fast. So we put our we put links to our websites, and pretty much all of our posts, regardless if it's in the community or not, but that's just because that's what we're trying to do. We're trying different things. And we can correlate how many times someone clicks that and goes to the website, we can, if we hit the paid ad, you can also you can do that exact attribute from Oh, they saw this, they went to the website, and they bought a car, and we can attribute gross sales and things like that.

Paul Daly: 15:42

What would you say to? Okay, so like kind of Andy, your your, your dealer definitely had the vision for it definitely. Had the willingness to take the risk. He also had you write somebody that was willing to kind of like, put the bet on? Yeah, I think where you are now and where a lot of dealers are, they might believe in some of what you're saying, or all of what you're saying, but likely some of what you're saying and saying, Oh, it must be nice. Or it would be really nice. If I could get to that point. What would you say to that dealer that just wants to like dip their toe in the water that maybe is, you know, using an agency, you know, to just do SEO and like do paid media? That is spending a lot on advertising, what would you say would be the first steps for them to like just dip their toe in the water of this content production strategy to gain that organic traffic and impressions to drive sales?

Nathanael Greklek: 16:39

The first step I would say is find somebody don't

Paul Daly: 16:43

really want to find that person. Right? You say I'm just gonna play devil's advocate for a minute. Yeah, fine. Where am I going to find that person?

Nathanael Greklek: 16:50

I mean, pretty much anywhere. Facebook.

Paul Daly: 16:54

Okay. Okay, how am I going to find someone on Facebook? What am I going to do? I'm literally right now I'm a marketing manager. I'm a dealer. Right? And you got it. This is almost a game of

Nathanael Greklek: 17:06

forget that. Don't go to Facebook, don't go to LinkedIn go to all of the people that you've given money to go to your local school, I'm pretty sure there is a college around somewhere by your dealership, and I would contact the marketing, I would contact some local grads that are there that want to do some work. Be like, Hey, how would you do this? You know, a lot of people want to, especially we've had, we've had a few interns here at Mohawk and they've literally been like this is I've never had a better internship where there's a lot of work to do. You know?

Paul Daly: 17:42

Okay, that's a good step.

Nathanael Greklek: 17:44

What what are the colleges here?

Paul Daly: 17:46

What should they be expecting to resource them with? You have a bunch of equipment, you have a room, right? They don't need all that just an

Nathanael Greklek: 17:53

iPhone, an iPhone and a rig that costs $200. So about $1,500, including the iPhone. Include, including the iPhone, that's, that's, that's a microarray.

Kyle Mountsier: 18:08

Is it a gimbal? Is that what you're thinking is like first shot.

Nathanael Greklek: 18:12

I don't actually have it on me. I was, I should have brought it. It's literally a selfie stick. It's a glorified selfie stick.

Kyle Mountsier: 18:19

They go with it. Out in front, right. That's it.

Nathanael Greklek: 18:23

I mean, if anyone checks out our Facebook Lives, our lives are on Mohawk, Honda, Mohawk Chevrolet, they're done with that rig. And it's just the more or less it's the audio. In a video, people don't really care. They care about the quality and they'll notice the quality but if they can't hear what you're talking about, they're not going to pay attention.

Paul Daly: 18:42

That's right. And okay, so you got you got this is where you'd find the person. This is what equipment they need to get started. If you step foot in the dealership, you had that exact equipment, it was only you you didn't have a full team. What content are you making?

Nathanael Greklek: 18:58

So alright, so the first step I'm going to do is I'm going to get every single salesperson in the dealership to send me a delivery photos. First step, absolutely. Without a doubt, that is the number one engaging in the years that I've done it, step one, all of your actually that's pretty fun, because you could totally you don't even need an iPhone for that you use your salespeople,

Paul Daly: 19:20

the marketing person for the younger the content person, they're like, Okay, great. He's like, You can do this with who you have right now with no additional investment. Where are you right?

Nathanael Greklek: 19:30

You still need a person to to heckle the people to get that in the sales manager. You still need someone to post it so still get somebody gotta make sure you don't buy them an iPhone, you can get them a computer that you probably have laying around. And you create a messenger group on Facebook, and boom, so delivery photos. Step one. Add to your story are finding that a lot of people want to window shop so add your story every single day. And let's do one more

Paul Daly: 20:00

What do you mean by that? What

Nathanael Greklek: 20:01

do you mean by it? Yeah, like vehicles on your story vehicles on your story and your people, the behind the scenes, what it looks like, on a day to day basis, you know, people like to be a part of what's going down. So I would do that. So delivery pictures, story. And then on top of that, if you have time, after that, then consider showcasing the employees and different types of anything, you know, yeah. That shows the closer Yeah, feature that people that everyone's gonna see when they walk through that door. And that's, that's where I would start. That's why

Michael Cirillo: 20:43

this is marketing, but it's about planting a stake in the ground and controlling what you can control. It's not about like, running your business off of leased property. It's like, No, we're going to control what we can control and participate that way.

Nathanael Greklek: 20:57

And building a strong brand. I know. Everybody here would agree with me that a brand is stronger than it then your lease special.

Paul Daly: 21:06

Yeah, right. Especially these days. You're what?

Kyle Mountsier: 21:11

What's a special right, your

Paul Daly: 21:12

brand disappeared with the micro chips.

Michael Cirillo: 21:16

I can't wait till things normalize them people.

Paul Daly: 21:19

Michael just dropped out.

Kyle Mountsier: 21:21

He jumped off the Zoom call. He was like I can't wait to gone. Well, I you know, I think one question that I would have is maybe for the more like more mature groups that are doing some of this work already.

Paul Daly: 21:39

He's going some one of his team is actually if you're just listening came up to him with like an emergency question. And so he is right now dipping out. And Michael is back with us, though. How was your trip?

Michael Cirillo: 21:49

They're asking him if they can fix my Zoom. Yeah.

Paul Daly: 21:55

He's like, does anybody know how to fix a real zoom?

Nathanael Greklek: 22:00

Postcard easily?

Paul Daly: 22:02

Oh, my gosh. All right. So

Kyle Mountsier: 22:04

my question is like, what is your team looking toward or shifting? You said, the algorithm has changed and you're shifting content? Like what's the next step for you for maybe some of those mature groups that do have some content creators that are really trying to go, Hey, here's the horizon. Here's what we're looking out. Here's what we're trying to shift to What are you doing right now?

Nathanael Greklek: 22:24

So first off, if there's a team out there like that, I want to know about you and I want to talk to you and I want to collaborate with you. Step one, too, is we are looking towards honestly posting more 30 second shorts and long form we are posting a lot more to YouTube shorts, and building up our content where we're making more content. That's really what it is. We're doubling down on building more and making more content and sharing to the story. Instagram, Tik Tok. We're pushing more on Tik Tok now and in Reels.

Kyle Mountsier: 23:03

Yep. So I think that's huge. Like for people to know, like, YouTube shorts, YouTube, long form content, Tik Tok, and Instagram reels are like, the things that are right now in the algorithm hitting that you're finding success with and trying to grow content from that perspective. So I think one more

Nathanael Greklek: 23:22

thing on top of that is to brand your salespeople.

Kyle Mountsier: 23:26

Ah, okay. Yeah. So support branding the salespeople, not just the overall dealership. More kind of that behind the scenes type thing?

Nathanael Greklek: 23:33

Yeah, I've talked about this with Paul. It's, it's a new tier. I'm calling it tier four. I don't know if it's actually made up yet. But I'm making it up. I'm claiming it's the tier four. And that that is the salesperson inside of the dealership. Because when you can get every single salesperson to brand themselves and go after the customer that they want to walk through that door. Just think about that. So if you have 20 sales, that's 20 different demographics, you can hit. Yep. Just Just saying. Yeah, that's perfect.

Kyle Mountsier: 24:07

Well, hey, look, Michael was supposed to pay attention to the clock, but I don't think his zoom knows what time it is. So Nathan, it has been or Nathanael or Nate I'm sorry. There's like 18 different ways to say your name to sideways. But your bow tie speaks wonders for the class that you are, as well as your as well as your ability to execute. We really thank you for coming on Auto Collabs. Today on behalf of myself, Paul, and Michael Cirillo has just been a blast.

Nathanael Greklek: 24:39


Michael Cirillo: 24:43

That was a really interesting conversation with Nathanael Greklek. Like, what do you guys think?

Kyle Mountsier: 24:51

Just so, you know, Michael, is still attempting to work on his Zoom. But that really was a great conversation. And I appreciate the fact that like, he's still working it out in time, the thing that I caught that was, hey, last month was a really down month for us from from an engagement perspective. And we realized we needed Yeah, from an impression perspective. And he's like, we needed to shift our whole content strategy at this point. Because now we've got to look toward different types of content, more content, reaching out in different ways. And, and be having a work in progress like that, I think is important, especially to any team that is looking to make content on a regular basis.

Paul Daly: 25:30

The The thing about that, that I love is the fact that it's always changing so that even people that get into the game now, right, you are going to have some level of level playing field, even though you're just getting into the game. So I love the practical, the practical wisdom, the practical advice. And I think I mean, my opinion, he set a pretty low bar, right? Like it's not this gigantic spend you need to make or a gigantic investment in personnel or equipment. He said, Hey, you got to do this, this and this and really took out 99% of the excuses from the conversation. Michael, we're gonna let you close this out.

Michael Cirillo: 26:10

I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Nate. Just kidding. I don't know what I'm gonna cut out. But man, what I heard. It was an amazing conversation. And you're right, very practical. We hope y'all enjoyed this conversation with Nathanael Greklek. On behalf of myself, Paul J. Daly, and Kyle Mountsier. This is Auto Collabs. And we'll see you next time.

Unknown: 26:29

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