Top Shops Collision Repair

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Creating connections

ABRN's 2015 Top Shops are using social media to connect to multiple communities
Tuesday, December 1, 2015 - 08:00
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ABRN's 2015 Top Shops are using social media to connect to multiple communities

Maintaining a presence on social media is essential for gaining and retaining customers, and you can’t attend the social media party as a wallflower. Actively forming connections with coworkers, your community, and the industry at large and then showcasing those connections through social media posts functions as indirect marketing for your business and benefits everyone involved.

First we’ll take a look at how to approach your social media management in order to have an effective presence—what to post and why—and then we’ll see how some of our ABRN Top Shops are using their social media sites to engage customers and connect to various communities.  

Show off your shop with Instagram

Don’t think of Instagram as just another social media outlet. Instagram is remarkably different in that it capitalizes on creativity and is predominantly visually-driven, not information-driven. In other words, if you want to effectively use Instagram for marketing purposes, you have to do so through showing, not telling. You can promote the image of your shop and business by sharing pictures and videos that are friendly, clean, and modern.

Both content and style are important in your pictures and videos. Keep the content, or subject, of the image simple, dynamic, and uncluttered. Use Instagram’s filters and editing options to make your pictures pleasing to your viewers’ (and potential customers’) eyes. Once again, Instagram is about tapping into your creative side.

That being said, collision repair is highly visual, so more often then not, you won’t have to do too much work to make a statement with your pictures. Post dramatic before and after photos or highlight custom paint work. Be sure to ask for your customer’s permission before you post a picture of his or her vehicle on social media. Of course, you can also make posts sans cars that feature your employees, shop environment, community involvement, etc.

D&S Automotive Collision and Restyling shows off one of their finished products.

If you’re still not convinced that Instagram is right for your shop, consider these last two advantages. You can share your polished Instagram photos on Facebook and Twitter. Thus, at the very least you can use Instagram for its editing options to supplement your Facebook and Twitter pages.

Secondly, according to the Pew Research Center Demographics of Key Social Networking Platforms study, 53% of Instagram users are 18-29 years old, which is a significantly larger population of users in this age group than there is on Facebook or Twitter. Accident frequency is greater among younger drivers, so don’t miss the opportunity to engage millennials. If they become a follower, they could potentially become a customer for life!

County Line Auto Body used a filter to add dimension to this vehicle facelift.

What to post

So-so social media won’t cut it. Social media users only see about 10 percent of your content, so you have to make sure all of your posts are attention-worthy. Many marketing companies (Vizoop, 5 Stones Media, for example) advocate the 50/30/20 rule for social media posting.

50 percent: Entertaining content

People do not follow businesses, brands, and shops on social media because they want to be sold products or services. They want to be acknowledged, entertained, an educated as a human being, not as a pocketbook. Thus, you have to provide interesting and engaging posts that differentiate your shop from all the others and keep your fans coming back. While all of your social media content should engage your audience, 50 percent of your posts should be dedicated to fun, entertaining content. Share memes, videos, pictures, and blogs—industry related or otherwise—that will cultivate interactions. 

The purpose of this kind of posting is to create activity: likes, shares, favorites, and comments. If your social media sites are void of interactions, new potential followers (customers) visiting your pages will likely dismiss what your shop has to offer because others are not responding to your posts and information.

These posts need to be representative of the kind of shop you run—friendly, modern, knowledgeable, courteous, etc. Think critically about how the content you post will affect your image and your followers—a couple of spelling mistakes or a series of slanted political posts can turn people away.

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30 percent: Tips and news

More and more people are relying on Facebook and Twitter to get their daily news. According to a study by the Media Insight Project, 47 percent of millennials say that getting news is a main motivation for logging on to their Facebook account, and 88 percent of them regularly get news from the site.

This statistic does not mean that you should feel responsible for providing your fans and followers with every bit of news under the sun. Just as the goal of your shop is to provide quality and value, you need to provide quality and value for your social media audience. Important car-related posts, whether it’s industry news or automotive tips, are helpful to your followers. You can also post news and information concerning community events.

Sharing information about industry influencers and your surrounding community builds your reputation and your customers’ trust. While providing useful content, you are also showing that you are connected with the world outside of your shop, that you care about being current and in the know.

If you are wondering how you’re going to be able to accrue a slew of news articles, remember that you can follow other shops, industry associations, and news sources on your social media sites. As you’re logging in to your page every day to make posts, you can see what other groups are talking about and share those links.

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