AKRON — In the last social media blog, I spoke with Frank Leutz, owner of Chandler, Ariz.-based Desert Car Care, about his use of Periscope, the live video streaming app that was purchased by Twitter in March.
During our discussion about Periscope, we spoke a lot about social media in general. We had such a great talk, I wanted to feature some of his advice in another blog.
Here are five tips from an industry expert:
- Be who you are offline, online: I'll admit it. This was some of the best advice I've heard about social media in a long time. You should always remain appropriate when posting online and on social media; however, you don't want to lose your personality. Frank explained that with the advent of the Internet and social media, it takes away a bit from being able to walk into your local Chamber of Commerce or into a restaurant and engage with people. However, you should go into social media with the same mentality.
“Social media must be treated the same in an engagement perspective,” he said.
In person, you would engage in a conversation. Go into posting on social media with that same idea.
- Be engaging, relevant and responsive: This is really three tips in one, but together they make the key to success. Posting on social media can be like bringing a birthday cake to a party where everyone is bringing a birthday cake, Frank said.
If this was the case, you would want to come up with ideas to make your cake stand out from the rest. You couldn't just bring a cake and put it on the table. You can't just post something on social media and leave it. You want your cake to have value, look nice and have a uniqueness to it that other cakes don't have, Frank said, which is the same way you should do your posting.
Additionally, if people are reaching out to you, you want to be a part of that conversation; especially since it could be potential customers asking for information.
- You can connect locally online: As a local business owner, you probably participate in some community activities that other businesses are at. Connect with them online. When making a post about an event in your city, look up your city and Chamber social media accounts.
Frank said when Desert Car Care is participating in a community event, he knows where the other businesses involved are on social media. It's okay if they don't want to communicate with you though. He said he looks at it like if you were in a conversation offline. There are some people that actively communicate and some that keep quiet. That doesn't mean you shouldn't reach out, it's just up to them what happens next.
One tip he gave about staying up-to-date is using Google alerts, which can send you alerts on a daily basis about what you deem is important. If you want to be alerted to something going on locally or something in the automotive industry, you can have these articles sent directly to your email.
- COI over ROI: Frank prefaced he did not coin the term “COI” but it's one he believes in. People always want to know about the return on investment for certain avenues of business, including social media. However, he said to not forget about the Cost of Ignoring (COI). If you want to grow your business, if you aren't active on social media, what is your COI?
- Let the experts do their job: Earlier this summer, I posted a blog about the benefits of hiring social media professionals. I asked Frank about how he handles being active on social media with all the other elements of his career. He said as business owners, you have to balance your time. While part of that balance is to use platforms like HootSuite and Klout to manage your social media presence, another part of that balance is allowing the experts to do their job.
Think of it this way: as a shop owner, you hire experts to run and repair cars in your garage.
“It is the same principle with the branding and marketability of your company,” Frank said.
Desert Car Care has had a publicist and an SEO expert working in tandem for three years to grow the brand online. They meet and see what is working and throw out what isn't working. Their efforts have led to not only getting engagement, but “we're actually converting,” Frank said.
It is apparent that Frank has a passion for social media and the automotive aftermarket. He told me about #WrenchNation, which should be launching in August, that will be an informational tool for members of the industry to learn more about how to engage online and more. Stay tuned to #WrenchNation on Twitter and to Frank's Twitter account @UrMechanic for updated information.