Sure, interrupting the daily grind to sing "Happy Birthday" to a stranger on Facebook can be inconvenient.
But Preston Automotive Group's sales staffers -- whether or not they have the singing chops -- are good sports about it. Why? It's a way for salespeople to reach out to consumers via social media and possibly make a sale by establishing a personal connection.
"It's a pain in the neck to get the salespeople to sing for us every day, but [from] people who actually receive [the greetings], we've gotten some great feedback," said Brent Durham, the dealership group's Internet marketing director.
Each morning, Preston -- which has nine new- and used-vehicle stores in Maryland and Delaware and sold 6,871 new and used units in 2013 -- rounds up sales staffers to record "Happy Birthday" videos for people who have friended the company's Preston Frogz mascot on Facebook. It takes just a few minutes a day, and Durham said the time is well spent.
"It does make a difference to the person when they see it. Not even their friends will send them a birthday video, but a business will. It's really appreciated," he said.
Social media give dealerships new ways to conveniently reach out to consumers in informal settings. Instead of relying on mailers such as form-letter birthday cards, some dealerships get imaginative with digital outreach efforts.