ST Billingsley has worked on videos for the last four years, and the Facebook pages for his two shops, Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire and HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire, are populated with all sorts of handmade content, including how-to videos, time lapses and videos of staff members working out in the community.
As a side hobby, Billingsley runs the page “What’s Up Prince William,” which details news and info for the surrounding Prince William County in Virginia, and has over 20,000 likes.
He says the Facebook video efforts for both shops have allowed users to find his shop through keyword searches on Facebook, and videos that may be shared through other outlets. Recently he posted a video showing off his Meyer’s snowplow, which was then shared on its website, garnering hundreds of views and further driving traffic to his own page.
Billingsley says that Facebook videos are a great way to get your shop exposed on social media, but many shops resort to regular text posts or still pictures. With the new Facebook algorithm that promotes interactive content, having creative videos on your page that your customers can interact with is a great way to get your content seen.
He details the investment required and how to create the content that will get the best reaction with your customer base.
The most important part of Facebook videos is to show what you’re doing in your shop, because people don’t want to be sold a brake special. If you put those out there, especially with the new Facebook algorithm, you’re going to struggle. You don’t need to panic if you have the right kind of content Facebook wants you to put out, which are posts that draw engagement. You don’t necessarily have to say, “Hey, come down and find us,” but it’s about letting people know your personality and know that you’re there. Keep it simple, and keep it authentic.
The videos can be a roundabout way of getting people to see what you’re doing and see your shop. For instance, we had the Cub Scouts in for Pinewood Derby building day so they could work on their cars, and we made a short video. That’s just showing what we’re doing in the community, but we’re also filming inside our shop. We did another one where we picked up trash on the side of the road, just filming what we were doing. A lot of conversation and people liked that video, and it shows who we are as people.
You can also show certain things that are going on in the shop, or tips for your customers. You could show a good example of battery terminals being corroded, then tell customers to make sure they service their battery. These don’t have to be very long, maybe around one minute. These can work as do-it yourself commercials.
In terms of equipment, I would recommend doing the following:
A lot of shops have a GoPro, and I do, as well. Sometimes I will just take them and do a time lapse. Those are really cool because you can do a sunrise, cars going by, or just throw it in the shop when guys are moving around. You can put it all together for a 15-30 second video, and people really like that. It’s an easy one—you just set it and forget about it.
Use your phone instead of a camera. You don’t need to invest in $4,000 cameras. Most people are watching videos on their phone, computer or whatever, so they probably won’t have a $4,000 monitor. You do need to make sure you’re doing it in at least 1080p, high-definition video. There’s no reason to do anything in lower qualities like 480p or 720p anymore. Phone cameras are actually pretty good now, especially Android and the new Samsung Galaxy S8.
Buy a microphone. You can have lower quality on your video, but your audio needs to be good. Invest in a microphone that you can plug into your phone. Rode is a good company, they make a smaller microphone that costs around $79–$160. Invest in a cattail, which will protect against the wind. It’s also important to get a tripod to keep your video still, which can cost anywhere between $39–$120. I use Adobe Premiere Pro to create the videos themselves. Mac computers have MovieMaker, which is basically the same thing.