Westchester's Wunderkinds: James Macagna, Social Media Director at Pepe Auto Group



James Macagna grew up working in a family restaurant business, and was a business major at Ithaca College. He never realized what an asset that early first-hand experience would be until he joined Mercedes-Benz of White Plains in 2011, in a newly created position as social media Internet marketing associate, which has proved to be a perfect fit. “I really learned about focusing on the consumer at an early age,” he says. “Knowing the consumer helps in any business.” Macagna’s impact on the Mercedes-Benz dealership was immediate. “The dealership hardly had any social media presence before me,” he explains.

Macagna’s laser-sharp focus has paid off. Within 11 months, he was promoted to social media director in an expanded role to spread his social media magic across the Pepe Auto Group and its five dealerships: Mercedes-Benz of White Plains, Pepe Infiniti (White Plains), Pepe Luxury Cars (New Rochelle), Pepe Porche (White Plains), and Pepe Cadillac (Yonkers). “I’m the man behind the mask, tweeting, posting, and blogging,” Macagna says.

In a constantly evolving social media environment, staying ahead of the game requires round-the-clock vigilance—being virtually available 24/7.

“Social media changes every day,” he says. “To stay ahead, I need to know every new platform and how to use it to our advantage.” Macagna used Facebok to partner with three local charities in a recent Facebook video contest.

“James is a great asset to us,” says Gary Turco, general manager of Mercedes-Benz of White Plains. “When he started working with us, we had one hundred twenty-five friends on Facebook. Now, just a year later, we have more than twenty-seven hundred. That presence helps us keep in touch with our current customers and prospective customers.”

The results are telling. Dealership website traffic has increased significantly (traffic for Mercedes-Benz of White Plains alone nearly doubled to almost 10,500 visitors from about 5,250 just a year ago). Infiniti recognized Pepe Infiniti as the country’s top volume dealership in 2011.

 “He’s diligent, self-driven, has bright, new ideas, and he knows how to get things done,” Turco says. “And he also happens to be a pretty nice young man. He sets a good example for his generation.”

—KO