My generation was the one after the big Internet explosion (don’t ask my age). I’m thankful for that in many ways. However, I never got on the bandwagon and I never believed in it for my shops around the country. I always saw it as a necessary evil and I spent minimal dollars to have someone manage and let me look the other way. However, recently I really dove back into all of my shops’ marketing plans and what they should look like. Some really wanted me to review the plan for social media. I said the only way I will do that is if I can find someone who can tell me it worked and show me it was successful. Well, I got what I asked for. I found someone who was successful at it and so much so that he doesn’t do any other advertising.
Mr. Transmission in Johnson City, Tenn., is the leading automotive repair shop around the country. The Facebook page for Mr. Transmission of Johnson City currently has just over 7,400 followers and it continues to grow.
New customers flood to owner Tim Rodifer’s location every week after seeing videos, news, reviews and ads on their page. In fact, Tim says that over 80 percent of new customers who walk in say they came because of the reviews and information on its Facebook page. Tim says customers are now going onto Facebook and posting, “Where do I find a good mechanic in X, Y, Z city?” This new Facebook search has replaced the old search online and Yellow Pages.
I told Tim I couldn’t believe it and that he would have to show me, and he did!
In order to drive more traffic in to his shop, Tim knew there needed to be a balance of general posts and engaging content: basic coupon offers no longer worked. The timeline for a successful Facebook campaign spans well over a year. Tim explained the importance of soft selling the business. His tactics for Mr. Transmission are careful and strategic: He stays relevant enough to attract new customers without losing the business of current customers. So, what does that mean? Tim says you shouldn’t post everyday or even every week. The right combination is one post that gets engagement per month and one big “promotion” per quarter.
Tim realized that his self-made videos gained the most exposure. His video of him building a transmission on fast forward got over 10,000 new likes and his video explaining why your car needs maintenance is at 9,000 likes. This simple but relevant information done in a real-world setting is what customers wanted to see and hear.
Next, Tim need to drive new customers to the site through more sharing and purposeful campaigns. He found ads and offers turned people away. However, if you find an event in your area and host a “like us and share to be entered into a contest,” then everyone will want to attend. Tim’s current campaign is a chance to win a Visa gift card to buy two tickets to the upcoming Bristol race. This promotion is easy to set up and do but gains a ton of traction.
Tim says the strategy works because, “first you have to understand what people want to see and second, you have to soft promote your business.” Other business owners forget that you must brand yourself first with the things with which your customer will want to engage. The idea is, when a potential customer needs your services, hopefully they will think of you first and then look for your offer. Tim’s determination, and positive attitude fueled his drive to understand the two ingredients necessary for a Facebook campaign.
After I heard from the top Facebook shop, I decided to go to one of the experts in the industry to get her take on this social media thing.
DFS Creative Concepts is one of the most successful online advertising agencies in the southeast. Like Tim, Dorothy Self believes that social media is an imperative piece of any business’ branding strategy. Dorothy says, “social media is where people interface and get their news, like it or not, because it’s tailored to their needs.” So, why not advertise and be seen where the people are?
The cost to engage on social platforms is pennies on the dollar compared to traditional advertising. The metrics from social channels generate insight about the behavior of the audience so that, in turn, you can be strategic in your content and offerings.
Social media is now in the driver’s seat. The stronger social media presence your business has, the more likely it will be picked up by search engines. It will take time to grow a strong social engagement, but you can’t acquire more customers if the page doesn’t have something fresh for people to check out.