Social media can be a powerful tool for almost any business, and auto repair shops are no exception. Your social media presence provides you with the ability to reach your target audience and engage with them in a way that builds trust and relationships, which is critical in the auto industry. It’s also a good way to encourage new customers to take action—like visiting your dealership to take a test drive.
However, as with any marketing tool, winning customers with social media requires a solid strategy. In this post, we’ll discuss social media tips for auto repair shops to reach new customers and increase sales.
1. Start With a Plan
Your social media strategy is part of your overall marketing strategy, so it’s important to ensure that it’s aligned with other digital marketing efforts, such as email campaigns, video advertising, SEO, and your website content. It should also support non-digital marketing initiatives to increase new business, including any radio advertising, event promotions, and new product or service launches.
Developing a monthly or yearly social media calendar that reinforces your messaging across other channels will not only help to integrate social media with your other marketing tactics, but it will keep you on track, ensuring that you are posting on a consistent schedule with relevant topics.
For example, when the winter months approach, you could share ways customers can winterize their cars utilizing engaging content such as a video with tips and tricks. During the warm weather season when people might be traveling, offer ideas on preparing their cars for long road trips, or maybe an infographic created for your social media followers that visually shows what someone needs to do before hitting the road.
2. Focus on Your Target Audience
Your target audience is not active on every social media platform, so you shouldn’t be either. A majority of people are on Facebook, but the same is not true for Twitter and many other social channels. Twitter users tend to be younger (under 30), but also represent higher income levels ($50K and over).
One trend for Chicago auto dealers and repair shops to consider is the increase in YouTube use among people between the ages of 18 and 49. Looking to build brand awareness among this demographic? Develop a quick video series that shares simple, do-it-yourself auto tips—or better yet, split up your audience into defined segments so you can share these tips in different ways that will resonate with their specific needs and preferences.
Knowing your target audience and where they spend time will guide your plan and help you make strategic decisions on factors like marketing creative, messaging, platforms, and more.
3. Create Shareable Content
As just mentioned, creating good content begins with having a solid understanding of your target audience. Just as you should choose your social media channels based on which platforms your audience uses, your content should be tailored to speak to your specific audience, not everyone. In other words, content targeted to a young adult and their auto needs should look different from the tips and content shared with a middle-aged parent to fit their needs.
Make sure you’re also optimizing your social media content for the channel it’s being shared on. For instance, are your Facebook videos optimized for mobile? That’s critical, since 90% of Facebook users access the site via mobile.
4. Form Connections
Social media provides brands a tool to connect and engage with their target audience in an authentic, personal way. Sometimes that might mean opening your world up to customers new and old, which can make any business feel vulnerable but help customers trust you even more. You can help your followers get to know your company by posting behind-the-scenes looks or introducing them to team members, for example.
Great content is important, but that’s not the only way that social media connects your business with new audiences. When someone comments on a post, it’s important to respond with an honest, prompt answer to show transparency and share that there’s a human behind these social pages. Sharing testimonials and reviews can also help connect your audience with others who have previously experienced your business. If someone has recently moved to the area and is in need of auto work, they’re likely to check out online reviews, including those on social media.
5. Commit Time and Resources
While setting up a social media page is free, an effective social media strategy—especially one focused on earning and keeping new customers—does require an investment. It takes time and energy to build the plan, craft the schedule, and create the quality content we referenced above. A surefire way to waste money on social media is to jump in without a strategy, dedicated resources, or commitment to treat social media as any other part of your marketing mix.
If you’re ready to explore social media advertising, platforms like Facebook offer amazing targeting opportunities at a low cost and the flexibility to test, pause, edit, and restart your ad campaign. Chicago auto dealers can use social advertising to zero in on consumers in their market who have expressed interest in certain car models, repair shops can serve up ads to those who have owned a specific car for a certain period of time, and so on.
Use social media to better understand and communicate with your target audience and you’ll soon find it’s an irreplaceable marketing tool. Keep the tips above in mind to stay focused, committed, and on track for social media success at your Chicago auto dealership or repair shop.