Smart Social Keeps the Car Count Climbing
Some customers can do their own oil changes in a pinch, as well as some very minor repairs. But is it advisable? And is it a good use of their time?
Usually, the answer is a dead-stop “no.”
This do-it-yourself automobile maintenance scenario is a lot like an auto shop owner deciding to handle their own social media marketing and website needs. Most small business owners that try a DIY approach are starting from scratch, and they simply don’t have much time to learn or to stay on top of the tools. So, to achieve the best results, it’s wise for them to go to experts with serious experience and solid mastery. Sound familiar?
For shop owners, it’s also vital that each piece of their business’s chain of digital marketing—website, social media, Google ads, etc.—works in concert with the others. “If all those messages aren’t working together, and if they’re all different, the customer is confused,” explains Jason Strand, director of digital marketing for Optimize Social Media/Optimize Digital Marketing based in Oakdale, Minnesota.“ The more consistent a shop owner’s digital experience is, the more their customers will trust them as a business.”
Cultivating this trust early and maintaining it consistently is critically important, because there will always be customers roaming around online looking for solutions to their car problems. This is because the automotive industry is needs-based, meaning that people don’t have to be pushed into fixing their cars. When they need it, they know they need it—think brakes, as a good example. So what the majority of people do, according to Strand’s experience, is head to Google to figure out where to get their car repaired. “They will search. And digital advertising can increase the chances they find your shop,” he says.
Once they find a shop’s ad that grabs their attention, they’ll head to the next stop in their quest to get the car running right: a shop’s website. Once there, they’ll be looking for essential information like the current phone number, business address, and hours. This type of basic information needs to be accurate and up to date. Again, the clearer and more concise a business’s information, the more trust the customer will have in the shop’s services.
Even once that trust is built and a shop has won a customer, the online community will need regular maintenance to keep all the pieces of the puzzle in line, from website, to digital marketing, and social media.
As Optimize Social Media/Optimize Digital Marketing's director of partnership relations, Jordan Greene, puts it, “We don’t just offer social marketing solutions, we’re community maintenance—responding to comments and keeping our clients visible on social without having to do it themselves. We bring their personality online so it’s like walking through the door of the store.”
Even when local auto shop owners are relatively knowledgeable about social media, they oftentimes underestimate the power of certain channels, like Facebook.
“A lot of people think Facebook is so old and the demographic is old,” Strand says. “But there are still people that need help on these platforms when it comes to getting their cars fixed.”
To not be on Facebook, Strand advises, is to ignore car owners who are looking for answers.
“It’s really important to remember that this industry is always changing, and there are so many strategies,” Greene says. “There’s too much information out there. So we give business owners pieces they’re able to digest on local levels, other than the crazy strategies that might work well for the big corporate brands.”
The Optimize Social Media/Optimize Digital Marketing team is also made up of experts on helping companies manage their strategies over time, as things change and refinement is needed to help keep the car line long.
Maybe a shop owner wants greater exposure for their business as time goes on. Or maybe their goal is to become known as an influencer in their local market, and to rack up views on their YouTube educational videos, for example.
Whatever the goal, Optimize Social Media/Optimize Digital Marketing is ready to help auto shop owners draw— and keep—an adoring crowd. And the surest way for an auto shop to keep local customers and gain new ones is to present a strong, well thought out, and well maintained digital presence.