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Creating Your Brand on Social Media with Melanie Borden

  • November 13, 2020
18 min read
Creating Your Brand on Social Media with Melanie Borden

Ilana Shabtay
VP of Marketing, Fullpath

Melanie Borden
Vice President of Marketing, Celebrity Motor Car Company

Melanie Borden is the Vice President of Marketing at Celebrity Motor Car Company, where she develops and implements all facets of the marketing and advertising strategy—and single-handedly built the in-house advertising agency.

She has over 14 years of marketing experience and has spent the majority of her career in the automotive tech industry. Melanie has also worked for social media startups and a public tech company, where she worked in consulting, marketing, and business development roles.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Melanie Borden talks about how she built her personal brand on social media
  • Where can you find inspiration for social media content?
  • What to consider when creating your online presence
  • Identifying the goals of your social campaign
  • How should you promote your brand on different social platforms?
  • Melanie discusses how COVID-19 impacted her brand

In this episode…

Establishing your brand online is a crucial part of your company’s success. But with so much competition today, how do you ensure that your company stands out from the rest?

Melanie Borden, the Vice President of Marketing at Celebrity Motor Car Company, believes that there are two important elements to consider when creating your brand online: authenticity and connection.

Tune in to this episode of Inside Auto Podcast as Ilana Shabtay talks with Melanie Borden, the Vice President of Marketing at Celebrity Motor Car Company. Melanie provides her insights into successfully building your brand on social media. She also shares her advice for creating engaging content, discusses the importance of having a social media plan, and talks about the best platforms for promoting your brand.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by AutoLeadStar, a company that helps car dealerships engage quality customers on the web and convert them into car buyers.

Co-founded by Aharon Horwitz, Yishai Goldstein, and Eliav Moshe, AutoLeadStar’s state-of-the-art software automates a dealership’s entire marketing funnel and provides around-the-clock service for dealers.

AutoLeadStar’s innovative technology helps dealerships automate ads, connect with customers, and discover ROI and performance metrics

Visit their website at to learn more about their around-the-clock marketing service.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:03

Welcome to Inside Auto Podcast where we feature everyone and anyone you’d want to talk to in and out of the automotive industry.

Ilana Shabtay 0:14

Ilana Shabtay here, host of Inside Auto Podcast where we interview top dealers, GMs, marketers, entrepreneurs and thought leaders in and out of the automotive industry. And before we introduce today’s guest, this episode is sponsored by AutoLeadStar is pioneering marketing automation in the automotive industry with sophisticated machine learning that future proofs dealership’s marketing operations and replaces traditional marketing methods. I’m so excited today to welcome Melanie Borden. Melanie has spent the majority of her 14 plus marketing career in the automotive tech industry. She’s worked in various atmospheres from social media startups to a public tech company in consulting, marketing and business development roles. Melanie is the driver for the marketing vision and strategy from inception to execution for the clients she’s worked with. Presently, she’s the VP of Marketing for Celebrity Motor Cars, a franchised Highline Auto Group based out of New York, New Jersey metropolitan area. Melanie develops and implements every single facet of the marketing and advertising strategy and single handedly built the in house advertising agency. Melanie. Well, it’s such an honor to have you today on our podcast.

Melanie Borden 1:34

Thank you so much. And thank you so much for the opportunity. This is awesome.

Ilana Shabtay 1:38

Yes, we are very excited to host you your bio talked all about your professional background, and all the amazing things that you do. But today’s podcast, we’re actually going to be focusing on the amazing brand you’ve built for yourself on social and and for our listeners, I joke that I once commented on Melanie’s LinkedIn post and I was blown up for days after that. That’s the level of LinkedIn. So comment at your own risk. No, but she seriously she I mean, your content is amazing. You have so many people engaging? How did it start? Tell us about building your personal brand on social.

Melanie Borden 2:16

Thank you so much. That was such an awesome question. So I love to tell this story. because it brings me now to a time that is completely outside of what we’ve experienced this year for 2020 and COVID. So I was on vacation last Christmas with my boyfriend, and we were sitting on a beach. And I was trying to think about other ways that I could bring more value, not only to the company that I work for, but the people that work in the company that I work for, as well as myself. And the one area that I really hadn’t dove deep into was social media. And I am the person behind the scenes that works with our vendors, whether it’s on our paid social strategy, or helping our team execute our organic social strategy, but I’ve never really done it for myself. So I started thinking about all the different ways that I could bring value. And I thought why not leverage our sales team, and potentially our service team, at the dealerships, which the sales team itself at the time was, like 70, plus people across the five brands, and why not use their voices to not only help them bring in more business, but also bring in more business for the company. And that’s really how it got started. So I created a social media branding guide for all of our sales teams. And I didn’t really know what I was doing, to be honest with you. I mean, I did a lot of research on it. But I was really just going by what I was reading online, and what I had seen from other people I followed, and really just tapping into what I’ve been able to harness working in my apartment and really putting that on paper to help with the sales people. So for example, you know, I meet with different tech companies every single month, and we talk about performance, we talk about strategy, and we talk about our primary market area. And it’s it’s the same concept. If you put it in very basic terms with creating your own brand, you really can do the same thing for an individual that you can do for a business. So tapping into that really helped me be able to help them. And so this was around January, by the time everything had rolled out and we did some training and I did some one on ones and we did some social media workshops. And I started noticing that I wasn’t getting as much engagement as I would have liked. And a big part of social media is putting yourself out there and becoming vulnerable especially with video. So I said, Alright, let’s do video introductions, because this will be a good way to start. And then everyone has this content that they’re creating. And we can use that video. And we can push it out there to the world. And we can also use it within our sales process. So we did the video intros. And then I did a video intro and I hated it. And it was terrible for me, because I was so awkward. On camera, and I just I just Everyone has their own personal preference about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it,

Melanie Borden 5:27

you know what I mean?

Melanie Borden 5:29

So, then, to take it to the next level, I wanted to be the one that our sales team could look to and say, okay, not only does she do the marketing here, but she knows how to do the marketing for herself. So I took the branding guide that I put together, and I essentially started executing on it for myself. So we’re talking February, by the time that I really had started pushing out my own content. And that’s really how it got started.

Ilana Shabtay 5:57

Wow. So you it’s really about not just thinking out of the box, but also stepping out of your comfort zone. Mm hmm.

Melanie Borden 6:05

Oh, absolutely.

Ilana Shabtay 6:07

It seems like your your biggest motivation and inspiration for this was really being that role model for your service and sales teams, which I think is incredible. And then it took you off on a whole other journey, which is also amazing. Where and part of part of this is, is content consistency and making sure that you’re really putting out good content for your followers. And for your brand. How do you find inspiration for that,

Melanie Borden 6:32

I will say that the the content that I produce, so a large part of the inspiration that I do is, is from my day to day, whether it’s the day to day in working with in the company that I work for, and the different people in the different departments that have inspired me along the way, as well as my own personal experience with, you know, raising my children and being a single mom, I think those are the two areas of inspiration and just overall experience throughout my career of working in the auto industry has really brought me to this place.

Ilana Shabtay 7:12

Yeah, and I, I mean, I’ve told you this before, but when I see your content, I’m just like, wow, how did she come up with this? And we’re in, feel so real. And I think that’s part of what’s made you so successful? And which brings me to my next question of what do you recommend to others, when they’re trying to leverage social to build their personal brand? Is it that like just being real and authentic, or finding that finding, maybe the the balance between personal and professional, share that with that,

Melanie Borden 7:44

I think the two things that are the pillars or benchmark of creating your own social media profile online, is number one to be authentic. And number two, to share your story in a way where it will connect with others. You can’t really start doing social media without a plan. And when I was going through the process of working with some of the people on the sales team, we would talk about, you know, how do they want other people to feel when they read their messages? What makes them different from any other person that’s also selling cars? Do you want to incorporate color into, you know, your whole brand experience, so to speak. So there are a lot of different questions that you really need to answer to get the message out before you start messaging. Now, I will have to say that you don’t want to think too much about it, you want to give it a little bit of thought. But I wouldn’t suggest just starting posting with no plan. So you definitely want to have a plan, you want to be prepared. But you want to also have a story. So people get to know the real you because people will know if it’s not the real you. If it’s an altered, filtered version of yourself. It’s not really what people connect with people connect with you as a person. And if you’re experiencing things or have experienced things in your life in business, people will connect to that and want to be a part of your network.

Ilana Shabtay 9:18

Yeah, I think that’s a great actionable tip, also for our listeners to take away, like, there’s just that amount of planning that needs to go into building the brand. And then from there, as long as you’re authentic, you can build your story with your content.

Melanie Borden 9:33

Right. And you have to have goals too, right? So with a marketing campaign, you want to have certain KPIs that you can refer back to. And it’s the same thing with social media. So how do you know it’s working? How do you know that you’re doing the right things? You’re going to see engagement. And you’re also going to see your network grow. Those are the two benchmarks for me initial ones where you would say, okay, something is doing and it’s doing the right way. Yeah, so

Ilana Shabtay 10:00

Go ahead.

Melanie Borden 10:02

No, I was just gonna say that, um,

Melanie Borden 10:05


Melanie Borden 10:07

with social media, you have so many opportunities that pop up that you don’t necessarily know until you actually start getting into it. So for example, you and I connected through LinkedIn. And this is an opportunity that came my way to be on your podcast. So there are many ways to measure the success. But before you can even measure the success and getting back to your plan, you have to identify what your goal is for executing on your social campaign. Right? So do you want to create a community? Are you looking to sell a service? Are you looking for a way to communicate? internally? If you have your own business? Those are all the different ideas or concepts that would go into when you’re planning out to do a social campaign?

Ilana Shabtay 11:00

Yeah, and right now, um, what would you say are your most successful outlets? Um, I mean, we spoke about LinkedIn a ton. But I also know on Instagram, your content is wonderful there, too. So we’re, what are your main channels right now.

Melanie Borden 11:15

So originally, when I started this, I really only wanted to focus on one social network, which was LinkedIn, because I saw the most opportunity there as it is just such a growing platform. But the mistake I made was not starting with all the other sites, as well. So now what I do is I focus on LinkedIn, I focus on Twitter, I have a focus on YouTube. And Instagram, and Facebook, I really keep is like my personal space. But all the other social channels is where I focus on, you know, there’s a site here in the US, I don’t know if it’s popular in other countries is called Poshmark, which is also a social network. It’s a way to, you know, share, and sell clothing and shoes and other items. So I’m also active on there, as well.

Ilana Shabtay 12:05

But it’s good to know, it’s good to know. And do you recommend a different voice or tone, depending on the channel? Or is that consistency, and the brand message still very important across all channels?

Melanie Borden 12:20

I think it definitely varies. And part of that is because certain platforms have different character limits. So Twitter has less of a character limit than Instagram and LinkedIn has. But what I’ve seen so far with creating my Instagram profile a few months back, people seem to respond better to shorter posts, versus on LinkedIn, you can have a pretty lengthy post. So it’s really all about just feeling it out and seeing what kind of engagement you get. Because everyone is different in terms of what they would see with that.

Ilana Shabtay 12:56

Okay, and I have to ask this question. I know all content now is COVID related, and it’s been months and months. But, um, you said that you started this kind of right before COVID hit? Yes. Did it was a great opportunity for COVID to potentially be a catalyst, a catalyst for your, your brand to really take off because everyone was at home where everyone’s spending more time on social What? How did the disruption play a role for your, for your brand?

Melanie Borden 13:27

Well, it’s interesting, because pre COVID, I would spend time in my car every morning, and every evening driving back and forth. And then the role that I have, I would travel to our different dealerships. And I went from doing that to completely working out of my house. So when I say this, people think I’m crazy. But I actually had more time to do other things. Because I didn’t have to get up, get ready, get out, do the commute, you know, drop my kids at school, whatever, I didn’t have to do that anymore. So I had this extra time in the morning. And I had this extra time in the evening. So it definitely gave me more of a an opportunity in terms of time for myself to be able to focus to create some content. But absolutely, when someone once said to me, I thought wow. COVID really did give me a little bit of an edge, because I was able to spend more time creating content and started posting more. Absolutely.

Ilana Shabtay 14:24

Yeah, and I think I think it’s okay to talk about how COVID facilitated a lot of business growth and personal growth. And yeah, it’s a crazy tragic in many cases, things that’s happened to us. But on the other hand, there there are some, some positives that that came out of it. And I think that just like learning how to be flexible, and I recently talked about this on a different podcast, being able to feel comfortable having a conversation from your home because there’s no other option and getting into people’s lives and you know, I’m having a baby screaming in the background became normal, right? Nice. Yeah. That we don’t use pre COVID

Melanie Borden 15:09

I hated doing video, like I hated it like I and I don’t like to use that word, but because it’s such a powerful negative word, but I really was uncomfortable with doing video. So what COVID did is it gave me the opportunity to be able to get better at it. So I started a video series. And I started doing more of these zoom calls. And I started doing video casts similar to what we’re doing now. And I was able to get more experience, and it was as a result of COVID. So I think there are two types of people during COVID. I think there are people who dug deep, and found ways to grow, and to bring more value. And then there were people who didn’t. And COVID, for me was an opportunity to get better at my trade, feel more comfortable on camera, learn more, no take time to obviously spend more time with my family, which you know, as we all feel right now it’s time for everyone to go back to school, but

Ilana Shabtay 16:09

totally and thinking talking about your family. And we can wrap with this, you you do it all, you really do it all your single mother, you are single handedly building and executing on every single marketing campaign across five brands, you are holding your own on your own personal brand. And you know now I just learned about all the training that you’re doing for social media, for your staff, for the staff at Celebrity Motor Car Company. How do you do it? Do you have a secret sauce, you could share with us, please, because I know that

Melanie Borden 16:47

I have an amazing support system. So I have an amazing babysitter, and my family lives nearby. So that system of support, I also have really great friends that live nearby that also have children. So having that support system in my life has really helped me with being able to accomplish the things that I’ve wanted to Not to mention, I also work for a company that has given me the flexibility during this time to work out of my house when I need to. So if there’s one thing that I can change about our industry, and really any industry is giving parents the ability to have the flexibility, because you don’t have to be in the office to accomplish and to work and to get things done. You can really be anywhere as we’ve proven over the last eight months to you know, to get anything that you need accomplished.

Ilana Shabtay 17:43

That’s great. And before we sign off, and thank you so much for your time, this has been incredibly insightful. Is there any any last thoughts that you want to share with our listeners?

Melanie Borden 17:53

having a plan is really the biggest piece of advice that I could give to anyone who’s looking to create a story for themselves through social media. Just write it all down, find ways that differentiate yourself from anyone else. And dig deep into who you are, and how professionally you can help others. And to me, that’s been a recipe for success.

Ilana Shabtay 18:27

That’s awesome. Well, thank you so much. You’re such a leader in this space outside the space. I call you my little celebrity, so I’m

Ilana Shabtay 18:35

so thank you.

Ilana Shabtay 18:39

I’m sure our listeners absolutely love to this podcast. And if you did, please subscribe to Inside Auto Podcast. We’ll catch you next time. Thank you so much again, Melanie.

Melanie Borden 18:48

Thank you so much.

Outro 18:54

Thanks for listening to Inside Auto Podcast. Check out our other episodes with top entrepreneurs and industry leaders.

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