In the twenty first century, it’s no surprise that most of your customers are spending a majority of their time on social media. Contrary to popular belief, social media is not all about posting your latest selfie or showing off your tropical vacation. More than 1 in 3 internet users say they go to social networks when looking for more information about a brand or product. Consumers of ALL ages (yes, even older generations) are using social platforms to stay engaged with their community and discover new businesses, products or services.
We hate to break it to you, but creating a Business Page on Facebook isn’t enough these days. If you work for or run an automotive service business, chances are you might not see the value of spending time on a Twitter or Instagram that could be spent servicing your customers. But the truth of the matter is that time spent engaging with customers and showcasing your company on social media is never a waste of time.
Here’s why. In 2019, the US automotive repair and maintenance services industry includes about 160,000 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies). With so many players in the game, consumers need a way to cut through the noise to find a reliable mechanic and your business needs a way to stand out from your competition to win their business.
Plus, as cars increase in complexity, DIY repairs are becoming less feasible for your average vehicle owner. When consumers need somewhere to turn for car care, chances are they will choose a shop with a convenient location, solid customer reviews and effective marketing tactics that reach them at the right place, at the right time. Social media can make that happen. The trick is finding the right ways to leverage social platforms to generate awareness and drive revenue. We’re here to help with that:
Offer a Look Under the Hood
Auto shops tend to have an online transparency problem. A lack of transparency breeds distrust. If a consumer doesn’t get a glimpse into what’s happening “under the hood” of your business, they may feel uneasy about becoming one of your customers. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. give you a chance to lift the mystery and offer an inside look.
Let’s say your business is veteran-owned. That’s a vital part of your brand’s identity that’s certainly worth sharing with the world. All it takes is a little digging through old photos of you in your military uniform, a brief description of how your business supports our veterans and a quick click of the “Share” button to showcase what makes your business unique from another one a few miles down the road.
Maybe you’re proud of your comfortable and inviting waiting area fully stocked with a Keurig machine, a fireplace and free WiFi? Just snap a pic, write a quick tagline like “Grab a coffee, sit by the fire and get some work done while you wait” and boom, you gave customers another good reason to choose your shop.
Perhaps you have an office mascot (pet)? Cute pet pics are one way to draw in a crowd. People love to #ShopLocal, so if your business is involved in the community somehow (ex: support a little league), publish a post to show how you support your town.
Other ways to stand out? Post a video of a repair in progress or feature a headshot and bio of your technician of the month to assure your social audience that their car is in good hands.
Whether you work or run a large national service center or a small independent repair shop, social media posts can boost transparency, show how you run your business, give customers an idea of what to expect and in turn, draw folks into your shop.
Don’t Always Be Closing (ABC)
It’s easy to get caught up in the marketing aspect of social media, but throwing something out into the abyss of the social media world and hoping it sticks is not a useful tactic. Social platforms serve a much greater purpose than just selling something. They offer a useful, cost-effective way to engage in conversations or strike a positive emotion with prospective customers. We suggest that about 60 percent of your social media content should aim to delight and inform your followers, while only 40 percent should be focused on selling your services. Fun, relatable and relevant posts can strike an emotional chord and leave a lasting impression on your audience.
At Openbay, we love to post entertaining and educational car-related news, like the “Truckla” rebuild, or the first woman to take a horse-less long distance journey by motor car, or a fun vintage car advertisement. We aren’t pushing people to sign up for Openbay, but we are associating our brand with positive sentiments and building a stronger relationship with our followers.
Don’t Let Your Hard Work Go To Waste
You’ve done the work to make a new customer happy. They were so satisfied with their car repair experience that they posted a glowing 5-star review about your business on Yelp or Google. Of course, that hard-earned review is there for all the Googlers and Yelpers to see, but there’s a prime opportunity to repurpose that customer review and put it in front of even more eyes if you leverage the power of social media.
There are free and easy-to-use tools like Canva that allow you to create stunning graphics in just a few clicks. Simply copy and paste the text of the review into a design format of your choice, save the image and share on your social channels with a simple caption like “Another satisfied [Company Name] customer. Visit us for all your car care needs.”
Don’t Forget the #Hashtag
Instagram now allows users to follow specific hashtags, plus many users across all channels will search a specific hashtag to discover something specific. For example, if you own a car and are looking for a mechanic in Atlanta, GA, you might search #AtlantaMechanic on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. The more chances you have to get in front of your customers, the better.
Hashtags are also a prime opportunity to reinforce your brand, or the story behind your company. Like we mentioned before, if you’re a veteran-owned business, maybe you want to start using #SupportourVeterans or #VeteranOwned in each post. People don’t care about brands, people care about people. Give them something to remember.
Give Your Consumers An Education
“Shop anxiety” is a very real thing, and has likely plagued car owners since the dawn of the auto industry. Many auto repair customers, women in particular, have afear of being overcharged or deceived. It is usually rooted in a lack of knowledge of what’s involved in diagnosing and repairing a car. Social media presents an easy way to calm these anxieties. This can be done through informational videos, step-by-step photos or “did you know” posts.
Need more inspiration? Here are shops on Openbay’s network that are rockin’ the solid media game:
“It’s not about “knowing your audience.” It’s about knowing what your audience is struggling with, what they want to learn more of, and what they really need.” – Nicolas Cole, Founder of Digital Press