GONE VIRAL

A-1 Auto Builds Strong Social Media Presence



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Jason Overturf admits that his business, A-1 Auto Recyclers, is “off the beaten path” in Kirtland, New Mexico, not easily visible from a well-traveled highway. When customers check social media, however, A-1 Auto Recyclers is always easy to find.

Overturf has spent the past several years successfully building a strong presence for A-1 Auto Recyclers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The company also reaches customers through its web site, a1autorecyclersnm.com, which includes videos and a blog that’s updated regularly.

“Over the past three years, I’ve really been hitting social media hard,” Overturf said.

Overturf recently had his sales staff ask all customers how they found the business, and the results of this informal, month-long survey showed that he’s on the right track.

“The number of people who use the phone book is down compared to the people who are just Googling us on their phones,” he said. “Everyone has a cell phone.”

A-1’s Facebook page has more than 2,000 followers, and Overturf frequently uses it to post announcements about sales or specials, such as the Presidents’ Day sale the company held in February.

“I get tons of feedback, tons of customers from Facebook,” he said. “Getting on there and making a footprint has definitely gotten us noticed.”

What’s Overturf’s secret to social media success? He’s the first to admit that he’s no expert.

“I’m not really internet savvy,” he said. “It’s definitely a learning curve. I’m good at selling used parts and buying cars. I’m not a pro at social media, and I don’t claim to be.”

Overturf’s solution was to hire outside advertising team to handle his online marketing. BCI Media Services, a company based in Durango, Colorado, designed A-1’s web site, set up the company’s accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and helped Overturf make videos promoting the company.

     The team at BCI submits content, such as blog posts, for Overturf’s approval each month. Blog topics include everything from “Six Weird Sounds Your Car Might Make,” to “What are the Benefits of Recycled Parts?”

“Hiring an outside service that specializes in this has been a life saver,” Overturf said. “It’s worked out great for me. For me to do it myself, it would be really hard for me to do.”

Overturf is definitely an expert when it comes to recycled parts. He grew up in the business, which his father, Brian Overturf, started in 1982. In fact, until he was 14 years old, Jason and his family lived in a double-wide trailer on A-1’s property.

“It’s funny,” he said. “As a kid, I played here and rummaged through the cars, but I didn’t find any interest in it.”

Overturf had planned to go to college on a golf scholarship, but then his life took a turn.

 “I got involved with the wrong crowd,” he says.

Overturf struggled with drug addiction between the ages of 16 and 18. His parents took him to a treatment center in Montana, where he spent 90 days. He then spent six months at a halfway house in Texas.

“When I got back, I didn’t want to work for my dad,” he said “I wanted to go off on my own.”

He took a job at a hardware store. About nine months later, his dad called him and said he needed help at the business. They talked it over, and Overturf decided to return. At age 19, he was back where he belonged.

Overturf worked side-by-side with his father, learning the business. He saw numerous changes over the years. When Brian started the company, for example, A-1 had a 500-square-foot building and six acres of land. Today, the company has grown to occupy a 4,000-square-foot warehouse and 41 acres of land with approximately 3,200 vehicles.

Overturf bought the company in April 2014, and his father retired. Brian is no longer involved in the day-to-day running of the business.

“He’s traveling and doing whatever he wants to do,” Overturf said. “He’s into cycling. He’s in good health and gets to enjoy retirement.”

A-1 has 16 employees, and many of them have been there for years. In fact, one has been there for 36 years, Overturf said. He believes the family-like environment and opportunities for advancement keep the employees around long-term.

“I try to treat everyone how I like to be treated,” he said. “I treat them as family, and we have a good atmosphere here.”

A-1 ships parts all over the US, but the majority of walk-in customers are Native Americans who live on a nearby reservation.

“They are big contributors to my business,” Overturf said. “I try to help them out and keep them satisfied with customer service. They’re definitely repeat customers.”

What’s next for A-1? The used car department has grown in recent years, and Overturf would like to expand A-1’s full-service mechanic shop.

“We now have one mechanic,” he said. “I’d like to see that aspect grow to three mechanics. I have the facility and the bays to do it, it’s just getting the work.”

Overturf has three children, sons London and Ashton and stepdaughter Mykia, but he doesn’t see them taking over the business. He’d like to see them go to college, an opportunity he missed out on.

“I flew by the seat of my pants and learned by my mistakes,” he said. “But if they want to go to college first and then buy it from me, so be it.”

For now, Overturf is happy with A-1’s success.

“Things are great,” he said. “I’m in a comfortable position where I think I’ll run this baby for the next 20 years and retire and sell it.”

 

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