If you follow Greg Buckley’s shop on Facebook, you’re likely familiar with his “Today in the Bay” segment. The concept is simple: Holding the camera in one hand, Buckley breaks down the latest in his Wilmington, Del., shop, explaining common repairs and guiding viewers through the broken parts of the vehicle. As he does so, he speaks directly to the viewer and responds to questions that come in, almost as if he’s talking to them in person. And he does it all through the new live video features recently introduced by Facebook.
In the latter half of 2016, live video features began cropping up on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, providing repair shops the opportunity to make impersonal work relatable for the customer.
From bringing customers with him as he goes live on video in a bay to surprising Facebook followers with a short two-minute holiday greeting, Buckley’s videos rack up hundreds of views and help cement his shop, Buckley’s Auto Care, reputation in the community. It’s one of the many ways that live features can be leveraged—if properly used.
The Future of Social Media?
Facebook and Twitter rolled out live video in 2016 as a way for site users to connect instantly and more personally around the globe. Upon launching the feature, Facebook saw that users commented 10 times more on live videos than regular videos.
Twitter jumped on the live bandwagon in December 2016 when the company announced the ability to post live videos on Twitter that were powered by Periscope, previously a separate application used for live videos.
In the future, the reach of live videos could even replace standard emails, Buckley says, as those features instantly engage the customer and the content remains “evergreen” in the future.
Similar to how contact information used to be kept in a phone book, in the future Buckley says the live capabilities could become a new way of communicating with customers, as if the best of radio and television were fused.
What It Means to Go Live
The new features are easy to use by anyone and stay in the owner’s digital feed forever. Facebook Live broadcasts can last up to four hours and are shown to be live with a red icon in the upper left-hand corner alongside the word “LIVE.” On Twitter, simply go to write a tweet, click on the live video button, frame your shot in a pre-broadcast screen and when ready, press “Go Live.”
Once the live broadcast ends, it is published to the Facebook page so anyone can go back and watch it at a later time. While Instagram joined the social media sites in forging forward with live videos, any live videos on Instagram disappear from your feed over time.
With the release of new social media live features, auto repair shops are able to connect on a new, specified level to customers. Victory Auto Service and Glass, a five-location MSO in the metro Minneapolis area, for example, has branched out to cover shop events with the features.
Victory’s owner Jeff Matt says the shop’s success with the features has stemmed from keeping an eye on the competition and keeping posts personal and under 30 minutes.
Buckley, a frequent proponent of social media, says a repair shop’s advantage is using Facebook as more of a marketing tool and not just as a toy.
Buckley says conducting a live event allows customers to jump into the conversation as well as gives the shop the opportunity to go back and research the viewer demographics. Facebook’s video metrics introduced in 2016 enables the content owner to view the age, gender and geographic locations of the audience.
“When you go back, you can see how long the audience stayed with you,” Buckley says. “It’s a good barometer to see if your content is relevant.”
Maximizing the Use
While live features have significant potential for shops, there are also several considerations to be taken to properly leverage the benefits.
First, Buckley narrows a target audience and then sticks to the strongest platform his audience frequents (in this case, Facebook).
Matt says that if a shop isn’t doing well on Facebook they shouldn’t venture into other social media platforms. Instead, shops should research where people in the area are most connected, whether that’s via Facebook or Snapchat. Matt also uses Facebook for his community and receives roughly 300 views on live videos.
When it comes to the actual videos, they should be about further building a trusting relationship with customers. Matt recommends shops do a live video showing an engine disassembled or pulled out of the dash. It’s all about showing customers the work that they normally never see.
Buckley also uses social media to develop his personality and brings customers to his shop’s Facebook page via his personal page.
“Greg Buckley pulls Buckley’s Auto Care into the conversation,” he says.
Making the videos personal to the shop is key, Buckley and Matt agree. Matt says issues could arise when a business asks a third party to help promote their business.
“They’re going to have marginal success,” Matt says. “There has to be some authenticity and originality.”
Bogi Lateiner, owner of 180 Degrees Automotive in Phoenix and star of Velocity’s All Girls Garage is involved in a new industry-wide project that incorporates live video on a personal level. Lateiner continues work on an all-women Chevy truck build to raise awareness that less than two percent of the auto industry is comprised of women. Her team of roughly 80 women give live video updates on the project, which will be revealed at the SEMA Show in November.
The project also uses live videos to reach out to the audience to vote on some stylistic choices in the build, like paint color. Lateiner says it’s important to reach out on a personal level to the audience.
“When you do a live video, it feels like [customers] are having a conversation with you versus watching a scripted video,” Lateiner says.