In many ways, marketing auto repair businesses is incredibly vital. This industry is worth $65 billion annually, and competition is steep enough that simply relying on the quality of your service and customer support is not enough to grow your business. That means that automotive marketing is one of the few ways to differentiate your business from competitors and capture (or recapture) customers. By now, you must realize that social media is an imperative part of your marketing strategy, but the question remains — do you know how to use it effectively?
In today’s post, we’ll discuss how social media can help increase business in six different ways.
1. Highlighting Promotions
Social media is a method of engagement. Unlike traditional marketing channels, how you interact with your customers is extremely important, and that makes it that much more important to give your customers a reason to engage and take action. The first part of this method is keeping customers in the loop, and in doing so, make them aware of your business even when they don’t need auto repair services.
The second part is giving them a reason to take action, namely promotions. Roughly 43% of customers followed a business’ Twitter in order to gain access to special offers, events, or discounts. You can even increase the reach of a particular promotion by making sharing the offer on a social media channel part of how customers can receive that promotion. There’s no excuse not to share these promotions either — many platforms are starting to offer in-house options (e.g.,Facebook, Twitter, Yelp deals and Check-in Offers).
2. Building Relationships
It’s important to remember that you can’t just focus on the marketing opportunities social media offers you, or you’ll end up losing your audience. You need to take the time to truly engage customers in a social way, beginning and participating in conversations, answering questions, and even requesting feedback. This helps you build your brand reputation, giving your shop a personality that customers want to interact with; in fact, engagement is among the top three activities customers expect from brands on social media.
Another important aspect of this is customer service, which is also a key quality for maintaining your online reputation. About 33% of social media users reach out to brands for customer service specifically, but more importantly, 63% of them expect brands to offer support via social media whether they need it or not.
3. Thinking Like a Customer
You know your business inside and out, but that doesn’t mean your customers do, especially new customers. You want to engage and capture these customers, which requires more than talking at them. You need to put yourself in their position and find out what their needs are, what questions they have, and what kind of information will interest them even when they don’t actively need auto repair services. This will add immense value to their experience before they even set foot inside your shop.
4. Sharing Content
Once you’re thinking like a customer, you’ll also determine what kind of information you should be sharing. Remember that visual content is very important, and that’s what customers strongly prefer. Just using a relevant image will increase retention by 55% over plain text. Furthermore, shoppers that view branded video are nearly twice as likely to make a purchase.
Remember to generate original content that’s going to meet their needs. This will include content that may seem obvious to you, like seasonal care, pre-travel safety tips, and general upkeep, like topping off windshield wiper fluid.
5. Sharing Testimonials & Reviews
What your customers have to say about you on social media can have a big impact on your business. While 72% of customers will take action after reading a positive review, 86% of people will hesitate to use a business that has negative reviews. This can make engaging customers on these platforms even more important — an increase of just one star in an aggregate Yelp rating can mean a 5% to 9% increase in your revenue. It’s also important to remember that customers are interested in authenticity — so while you want to promote the positive on your social media channels, you need to accept the negative and work hard to turn it into a positive.
6. Involving Your Community
Social media is an important way to get the word out about the charitable options and events that your auto shop is offering or community events that you’re helping to sponsor. Cause marketing is a key part of branding, positioning your auto repair business as a place people can feel good doing business with and potentially bringing awareness of your brand to an audience that wouldn’t have been exposed to you before. Just make sure that the way you share the information — or the way you involve yourself in an event — makes sense for your brand.
In fact, this is another way to build content to engage customers. You can share videos from your charitable partners to raise awareness for drunk driving and text-and-drive initiatives. If you donate garage bays to programs that fix vehicles for needy families or other charitable organizations, take pictures of the work in action and share them online. Engage and re-share content from customers that participate in community events. Show customers that you’re more than just the local garage, and motivate them to use your services in the process.
Now that you understand these six automotive marketing tips, it’s time to review the way your business is taking advantage of social media. Take a look at what you can improve, but also make sure you understand what you’re doing right to find out exactly how social media can help increase business.
Take Full Advantage of Your Social Media Marketing
If you’re not sure how to apply this knowledge for marketing to your auto service repair businesses, we’ve included some questions and tips below. Use these as a launching point to develop an effective strategy. Take the time to consider which can be utilized right now, and which will take time to put into place.
- Are you using your social media channels to share your current promotions? Make sure to share information in a way that’s best suited to each platform. Facebook, for instance, can handle the text details as well as promotional video. Pinterest and Instagram are best suited to photography and micro-videos.
- Are you taking advantage of the tools offered by social media platforms to provide offers?
- Are you using social media to maintain your reputation? Are you aware of and following best practices to engage customers for the purpose of customer support? Be sure to redirect these conversations toward positive results.
- Are you offering visual content to engage and communicate complicated information, especially for how-to topics?
- Do you take advantage of eye catching visuals to promote your offers on social media channels?
- Are you using your social media to connect with more than just your customer base? How are you using it to promote positive community events?
- Are you asking your customers for reviews, testimonials and referrals? What are you doing to showcase the responses you’ve received?
- Do you have a way to train your staff about what is and isn’t appropriate to share on social media?