CHICAGO (June 23, 2015) — An auto repair shop's Facebook page could be a potential customer's first impression of its business, according to Danny Sanchez, CEO of Autoshop Solutions.
A Facebook page is an extension of the business, offering an easy way for a company to share updates with customers and potential customers, Mr. Sanchez told attendees at the recent Automechanika Chicago show.
Facebook allows a business to have one-on-one conversations with its “fans”/customers; reach large groups frequently with messages tailored to their needs and interests; and gather analytics on the page that provides a better understanding of the dealership's customers and effectiveness of its marketing activities.
Mr. Sanchez encouraged businesses to include their Facebook addresses on business cards, websites and marketing materials.
He also encouraged dealers to get involved in community activities and post event photos on their Facebook pages.
If dealers are sponsoring a youth sports team, for example, they should attend a least a few games — and take photos of the players. Mr. Sanchez said such photo postings will draw in a lot of proud moms to the dealership's Facebook page and thus drive up traffic through “sharing” and links.
However, Facebook posts are hit or miss. Some posts will resonate with some people more than others, Mr. Sanchez said, but dealers should consistently post, at least a couple times a week, on their Facebook pages.
He half-jokingly suggested dealers periodically post photos of puppies and kittens—which historically generate a lot of “likes,” making such furry subjects “social media gold.”
But for other more mundane posts, “you can't get your feelings hurt because nobody responds….Don't get your feelings hurt and don't get into despair…. That's just the way it works,” he said.
“You're not going to hit a homerun on every post…. It doesn't mean people aren't listening to you.”
Unlike a national brand's page, a local dealer can be pleased with getting three people to interact with the business on a posted topic.
He suggested dealers should freely offer Facebook tips on how people can take care of their cars.
“It's not about giving them DIY information. It's that you're helping them understand better how to take care of their vehicles. And our job is absolutely all about prevention and education. That's the service advisor's main job and everything else is secondary. So you need to do the same thing in your social media environment.”
Mr. Sanchez advocated “boosting” a post to other people's pages and timelines to build up the opportunities for interaction.
“Boosting is unbelievably inexpensive. It does not cost much to boost,” he said, noting that a dealership can opt to only boost a post locally to a target audience.
A typical person on Facebook has 125 friends, of those 75-85 percent of them are local, he said.
“So for every person you (reach) locally, almost 100 or 125 are all local people. The numbers are really, really good that you are going to hit a lot of those.”
Other tips Mr. Sanchez offered for posting on a Facebook page included:
- Be authentic and share what you are genuinely excited about;
- Be responsive — if people comment on a post, show that your business is listening and that you care. If you need more time to answer a question, let them know you're looking into it;
- Be consistent — the more you regularly post, the more opportunities you have for connecting with people and building trust. Setting a schedule for your posts can help maximize your time;
- Replicate you successful posts that get more engagement. Experiment with different kinds of posts to see if your audience prefers photos or useful links;
- When you notice a post is getting a lot of engagement, “promote” it to reach even more people. When people like, comment or share your posts, their friends will likely see those posts in their own news feeds;
- Post useful car tips, community information, and especially anything related to driving or vehicles; and
- Don't post your opinions on politics or rant about difficult customers.